CTU Media Release
7 August 2013
CTU welcomes H&S changes
The CTU welcomes moves today to strengthen our health and safety system.
Helen Kelly, CTU President said “the announcements today acknowledge that our health and safety system is in need of an overhaul, and we welcome the direction taken by the Government with these proposed changes.”
“Moves to strengthen worker participation at the workplace are particularly positive and will help keep Kiwi workers safer at work. The inclusion of a general duty to involve and consult with workers on health and safety matters, and strengthen the role of H&S representatives will give workers a voice in how health and safety is handled in their workplace”.
“However the contrast of these changes with the decision by Government to guarantee business representation only on the Board of the new health and safety agency is now stark."
“We strongly support the additional commitment to training of H&S representatives. We need to lift both the quality and volume of training, and build on the knowledge of those who have already trained. They are often lost to the system when they change jobs. Recognising that time and resources are required for the role of trained H&S representatives is timely and this will increase their effectiveness in the workplace.”
Helen Kelly said “basing these changes on the Australian law is sensible, especially given that the Australian injury statistics at work are so much better than ours and that the Australians have recently undertaken a thorough review of their system and it will be useful to build on that and to align our system with theirs wherever possible.”
“Currently there is a huge gap around lack of supporting Regulation, Approved Codes of Practice (ACoPs) and guidance. This is one of the major weaknesses of our current model and the Government announcements today should make a significant contribution to filling this gap. The commitment for additional resources for this and the other initiatives is very welcome."
“The Government’s response today is, in general loyal to the recommendations of both the Pike River Inquiry and its Taskforce recommendations and that is exactly as it should be. However to choke on the strong consensus recommendation from the Taskforce (that included business and government representation) that tripartism is an essential element that should be evident throughout the system, and to not have worker representation on the Board is both short-sighted and a badly missed opportunity which is unfair to the working people of this country”