The government’s proposed new health and safety law will mean people continue to die at work needlessly, says TEU deputy secretary Nanette Cormack.
“Even in tertiary education, which seems like a relatively safe sector to work, we have had two significant health and safety prosecutions in the past year because of dangerous practices,” says Cormack.
The government’s decision to exclude small employers from health and safety requirements will mean workers at many private training establishments and rural education providers will not have the right to protect themselves.
“The new law must allow workers to participate in their own health and safety. Not only is it fair, it is proven to save lives. The best way to safeguard workers is to give them the collective, democratic right to protect themselves,” says Cormack.
“Minister Woodhouse says the bill is about ‘striking a balance’ between safe workplaces and ‘unnecessary’ red tape for employers. But red tape is never unnecessary if it prevents workplace deaths and allows workers to return home safely to their families.”
“Politicians should not vote for the health and safety bill in its current form,” says Cormack. “The Independent Taskforce Report and Royal Commission following Pike River, both called for much stronger legislation than what the government has announced today.”