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Media Release

Wellington, 30 April 2013

Workplace Health and Safety Taskforce calls for urgent, broad-based change

New Zealand’s workplace health and safety system has a number of critical weaknesses and needs major systemic changes to save lives, says Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety Chairman, Rob Jager.

Mr Jager says the current system “is not fit for purpose”.

“We believe there is no single critical factor that can account for New Zealand’s high rate of serious injuries and fatalities suffered at work. Rather, we believe that our workplace health and safety system has a number of significant weaknesses across the full range of system components that need to be addressed if we are to achieve a major step-change in performance.”

The Taskforce delivered its report to the Minister of Labour, Hon Simon Bridges, on Tuesday, 30 April. The report is now online at www.hstaskforce.govt.nz.

Mr Jager says there were several principles underpinning its recommendations.

Mr Jager said the Government’s target of a 25 percent reduction in workplace fatalities and injuries by 2020 was realistic but far from what the nation should aspire to. The Taskforce’s vision was that “within 10 years, New Zealand will be among the best places in the world for people to go to work and come home safe and sound”.

“Our vision is absolutely achievable but it will require an urgent, broad-based step-change in approach and a seismic shift in attitude,” says Mr Jager. “It will also require strong leadership, with  businesses, workers, unions, industry organisations and the Government all having vital and shared roles to play in achieving this vision.”

Media contact:
Communications Adviser
Carole van Grondelle
0272 555 400