Health And Safety Of Workers At Risk With WorkSafe Restructuring Proposal
Workplaces will be less safe following WorkSafe’s decision to significantly restructure the organisation, says the Public Service Association.
WorkSafe today unveiled restructuring plans which, if implemented, would significantly impact the organisation’s workforce, and threaten the services that safeguard the health and safety of workers.
"This proposal is a disappointing step in the wrong direction," said Kerry Davies, National Secretary for the Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi.
"We already have a poor health and safety record, and we need a well-resourced regulator that is able to tackle these challenges.
"Our fatality rate is double that of Australia - on average one or two workers a week dies at work. Another 15-18 die from illnesses caused by their work. A recent study showed that workplace deaths and injuries are costing the economy $4.4 billion a year, quite apart from the human cost of these tragedies. 
"Under this restructuring proposal many parts of WorkSafe will be impacted, representing a significant loss of technical expertise.
"Every worker has the right to a job that does not hurt or kill them. We need to ensure that WorkSafe has the tools and resources to keep workers safe and the PSA will be advocating strongly for WorkSafe to get the resources it needs to be effective.
"This is the time to keep investing in workplace safety. Good health and safety costs money and failing to invest is a false economy. The cost of failure is borne by workers, their families, businesses and communities. The Government also pays again through ACC and welfare liabilities.
"We urge the Government to fund WorkSafe to the right level so it can continue its work of ensuring workplaces remain safe for all.
"Our priority right now is to support and assist our members at WorkSafe through a stressful time for them and their families," said Davies.
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The Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi is Aotearoa New Zealand's largest trade union, representing and supporting more than 90,000 workers across central government, state-owned enterprises, local councils, health boards and community groups.