December 13, 2018

Wellbeing focus National Health and Safety at Work Strategy

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New Zealand’s Health and Safety at Work Strategy 2018-2028 released yesterday has been welcomed by the workplace regulator, WorkSafe New Zealand.

Chief Executive Nicole Rosie says it provides clear direction to the health and safety system, and will mean fewer whānau, communities and businesses have to cope with the trauma of unnecessary workplace deaths and life-changing injuries and illness.

“I am particularly encouraged by the strategy’s focus on health and wellbeing issues. Deaths from work-related disease are up to 10 times higher than those from acute harm, and the strategy rightly makes better management of these risks a priority over the next 10 years.

“We’ve been steadily building our capability and our knowledge in the work-related health area and our leadership and action in this area will be an important signal to other regulators.

“The strategy puts responsibility for improving our overall performance on everyone. For our part we will focus our efforts on those areas where we can make the most impact – health, sectors with high risk, small businesses and workers in need of support ,” Ms Rosie says.

“Strategic partnerships are critical to achieving change. System participants working together and owning their sector issues and plans for improvement is a proven recipe for success. Sector leadership forums, regulators’ leadership groups, tripartite approaches between the regulator, business and unions have all delivered meaningful change to date.

“Workers are at the heart of the strategy and WorkSafe already has a high-engagement programme in place for Māori and Pacific peoples. The next challenge is to ensure migrant workers can participate in health and safety conversations with their employers.

“Today we’re releasing a significant report from the Superdiversity Institute for Law, Policy and Business on the challenges in improving health and safety outcomes in a culturally and linguistically diverse environment. The report, authored by Mai Chen, explores issues faced by other regulators internationally and makes recommendations for how WorkSafe could address or avoid these. We will be developing a focused action plan with stakeholders on these issues later next year.

“The health and safety system cannot be complacent about meeting the challenges laid out in the Government’s strategy. Leadership is needed across all sectors of the economy with planned, prioritised and achievable action across the health and safety system now the imperative,” Ms Rosie says.