Unions welcome new health and safety body

Posted By TEU on Feb 28, 2013 |

The government will establish a new, stand-alone workplace health and safety agency and it intends that the new agency will have the aim of reducing death and injury rates by 25 percent by 2020.

Labour Minister Simon Bridges says legislation will be introduced in June and the agency will be in place by December.

“It will enforce workplace health and safety regulations and work with employers and employees to promote and embed good health and safety practices,” he said on Thursday.

There used to be an Occupational Health and Safety unit within the Department of Labour which was later absorbed into the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment.

The creation of a stand-alone agency was a key recommendation of the royal commission on the Pike River coal mine tragedy.

The Council of Trade Unions welcomed the announcement.

Helen Kelly, CTU President, said that during the time it takes to set up this new agency, we need to see more work done to improve the safety of workers.

“New Zealand has an accident rate at work that is twice that of Australia and seven times worse than the United Kingdom. This must change and we look forward to the recommendations of the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety which are due at the end of April.”

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