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Action plan to reduce manufacturing injuries

Hon Kate Wilkinson
Minister of Labour
13 March 2012 Media Statement
Action plan to reduce manufacturing injuries

Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson today launched a new plan to bring down the number of injuries and deaths in the manufacturing industry.

The Manufacturing Sector Action Plan targets the most significant causes of harm to manufacturing workers and outlines a range of initiatives, including improving safe use of machinery and vehicles at work.

Manufacturing has one of the highest rates of serious injury to workers. ACC records show 107 deaths occurred in the sector between 2002 and 2009. ACC claims from the sector during 2009-10 were more than $124 million – almost 20% of the total claims cost for New Zealand.

“There is no room for complacency when it comes to health and safety. For anyone to be unable to return home to their friends and family after a day at work is unacceptable,” Ms Wilkinson says.

“There is no excuse for people to be put in danger or at risk of ill health while they’re on the job.

“If we’re to make a difference to the work toll, then everyone – employers, employees, unions, business groups and sector organisations – must take responsibility for creating safe and healthy workplaces.”

The plan, launched today at CHEP Pallets in South Auckland, sets out how the government and sector will work together over the next two years to reduce the work toll and outlines specific actions.

Key priorities are:
• Safer use and design of machinery
• Safer use of vehicles
• Reduced injury, fatality and disease for at-risk groups
• Gather information to help identify future trends and emerging issues.

Clear safety standards for machine guarding are to be established, with more health and safety training, the promotion of safe work practices to youth and the development of guidelines for safe work in the metal industry.

Vehicles, such as forklifts and gantry cranes, also involve hazards that can lead to serious injuries. Their safe use will be promoted in various initiatives.

There will also be an emphasis in the future on gathering data to help identify emerging trends and issues.

Youth, older people, Maori and Pacific people, and those with low literacy or numeracy skills are over represented in the manufacturing injury and fatality statistics, so another focus of the plan will be on better meeting standards for these groups.

Notes to Editors
A review of the Department of Labour’s Workplace Health and Safety Strategy to 2015 revealed a gap between the high level strategy framework and concrete action at the workplace, sector and hazard level. To address this gap a three-year National Action Agenda has been developed, supported by five Sector Action Plans and a National Occupational Health Plan. The Sector Action Plans focus on the five sectors with consistently high levels of workplace injury, disease and fatalities - construction, agriculture, manufacturing, forestry, and fishing. Action Plans for construction, forestry and occupational health have already been released.


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