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Input of working people key to safer workplaces

Council of Trade Unions President Richard Wagstaff says he is optimistic seeing working people at the centre of the Government’s Health and Safety at Work Strategy consultation document released today.

“The Government has put an emphasis on the people actually carrying out work, and that is a better model than the top-down approach of the last Government. It fits with our aims to guarantee effective worker participation in all workplaces and to remove the inconsistent exemptions for small businesses.”

“A move away from simply counting injuries and deaths to monitor overall wellbeing reflects the way we all expect modern New Zealand workplaces to operate. This Strategy gives us the chance to do better around causes of workplace disease such as asbestos, silica and methyl bromide. It also provides a better opportunity to address risks like fatigue and workplace violence that have been overlooked in the past.”

“A focus on the working people facing the greatest health and safety risks is most welcome. The CTU already advocates special protections for people under 18 doing hazardous work. This strategy can also better address the particular impact of gradual process injuries and psychosocial harm disproportionately faced by women.”

“Our recommendation for the Government to fund health and safety representative training would compliment the Government’s goal to make the health and safety system more capable.”

“We expect that affiliate unions will have a strong interest in submitting to the consultation document and reinforcing that health and safety representatives are the most effective and proven way to keep people safe at work. No business is too big or too small to send working people home safe from harm every single day.”