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The new Health and Safety at Work Strategy sets out a direction for New Zealand’s workplace health and safety over the next 10 years

New H&S strategy launched to keep Kiwis healthier and safer at work

A new Health and Safety at Work Strategy that commits New Zealand to better practices in the workplace for the next decade has been announced by Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway.

The new strategy sets out a direction for New Zealand’s workplace health and safety over the next 10 years, and was jointly developed by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and WorkSafe New Zealand, together with a range of stakeholders. Its development flows on from the recommendations of the Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety that reviewed New Zealand’s system in response to the Pike River tragedy in 2012.

“The government is determined to ensure that all New Zealanders can return home to their friends and whanau in the same health as when they began their day at work,” says Mr Lees-Galloway. “Our commitment to improving the wellbeing of all New Zealanders must have a focus on making our workplaces healthier and safer. Putting New Zealand workers at the centre of our strategy is key.”

The minister says significant progress in reducing work-related harm has been made since the Pike River tragedy, but there is much more to be done. “There are still 50–60 deaths from work injuries each year and 600–900 deaths from exposures to health risks associated with their work. This is unacceptably high and the pace of progress has stalled,” Mr Lees-Galloway says.

“New Zealand can be among the world leaders for workplace health and safety if we can get our attitudes and practices right. This strategy will help us achieve this, by focusing on what makes the biggest impact in key areas that we must improve.”

Mr Lees-Galloway says that to make a real difference, a broader view of work-related health risks is needed, including mental health. “Equally important is to lift the outcomes for workers at greatest risk, including Maori, who are over-represented in injury statistics. These are reflected in the strategy’s priority areas,” he adds. “Success depends on everyone playing their part.”

To view the new Health and Safety at Work Strategy, visit www.mbie.govt.nz/health-and-safety-strategy

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