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Leaders’ Forum welcomes health and safety changes in NZ

Leaders’ Forum welcomes proposed changes to health and safety in New Zealand 

Media Release

7 August 

The Business Leaders’ Health and Safety Forum has welcomed major changes to New Zealand’s health and safety system announced today, as the step-change needed to address the country’s poor workplace safety performance.

“We are delighted with today’s announcement that the government has broadly accepted the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety’s recommendations.  The proposals outlined in Working Safer have the potential to fix our broken health and safety system,” says Executive Director of the Forum, Julian Hughes.

“Improving workplace health and safety in New Zealand requires new ways of thinking from everyone involved and these changes will take us in the right direction.”

Mr Hughes says proposed changes to the legislation, which will align with Australian law, will provide the system with greater certainty and clarity, which is currently lacking.  

“We need a more balanced approach, with a greater focus on prevention, improved incentives and better guidance and support for businesses and workers.

“Importantly, these changes provide a framework that should reward organisations who are doing the right thing.   Conversely, for businesses who do not perform there will be stronger enforcement tools and higher penalties providing greater incentives to focus on workplace safety,” Mr Hughes says. 

Mr Hughes said the Forum also welcomed other changes outlined by the government including, better coordination between agencies with health and safety responsibilities, greater worker participation and requiring directors to have a duty of care.  Mr Hughes says our current performance is simply not acceptable and it’s now time to focus on the next steps.

“There’s a lot of work to be completed in the coming months and the success of the new health and safety system relies of effective implementation and strong leadership.

“Business leaders have a critical role in this process and the Forum will play its part to ensure New Zealand workplaces remain competitive and workers go home safely at the end of the day,” says Mr Hughes.

ENDS

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