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Ensuring government agencies lead the way on health & safety

7 August 2013

More detail needed on ensuring government agencies lead the way on health and safety

The Public Service Association is welcoming new health and safety reforms but says they are scant on detail in terms of how government and state sector agencies will lead the way on workplace health and safety.

The Working Safer package has been released in response to recommendations from the Health and Safety Taskforce and the Commission of Inquiry into Pike River.

“While it’s good to see an expectation being placed on government and state sector organisations to lead by example in terms of health and safety, there needs to be a stated obligation on them to do so,” says PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff.

“It’s important they don’t simply pay lip service to workplace health and safety and for that reason there needs to be a lot more detail about how they will be accountable and what sort of action they need to be taking.”

“We intend meeting with MBIE and the State Services Commission to talk some of these issues through and find out more about MBIE’s current process of identifying particular government agencies where improvement is needed. We also want to see agencies looking to involve the PSA in any decisions around their health and safety policies and practices,” he says.

As part of the reforms the government is giving an undertaking to look carefully at the health and safety status of companies that it buys services and products from.

Richard Wagstaff says “this is a significant step but we believe it could be even more effective if it was extended to the health and community public service sector to shine a health and safety spotlight on service providers.”

The PSA is disappointed to see that there is no place set aside for workers alongside business representatives on the Worksafe New Zealand Board despite a strong recommendation by the Health and Safety Taskforce around worker participation and a tripartite approach in which government, employers and unions have joint oversight of the system.

ENDS

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