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Nine years since Pike Mine disaster

“Today we remember the disaster at Pike River Mine nine years ago on the 19 November 2010. Nine years ago today 29 men went to work at Pike River Mine on the West Coast of the South Island. Nine years ago today 29 men expected to return home to their families and friends. Nine years ago today 29 men were killed at work in that mine. Nine years on, still no one has been held accountable for their deaths,” said CTU President Richard Wagstaff.

“We must make New Zealand workplaces safer. Every single person who leaves for work should be safe to return home at the end of their work day. No matter what the industry or occupation all working people should be safe at work. No job is worth dying for.”

“While there have certainly been improvements to health and safety since the Pike disaster – more must be done. In the past 9 years more than 671 working Kiwis have been killed at work. 671 families forever effected from employers not doing everything possible to ensure their workplaces were safe. And this number doesn’t include people killed as a result of “work related deaths”, for example people who develop cancers as a result of toxins they have come into contact with as a result of their work. Worksafe estimates that between 750 – 900 people killed every year as a result of work related deaths”.

“There is more work which Government needs to urgently lead in order to make workplaces safe. 222,477 working people, almost a quarter of million Kiwis have had a week off work as result of workplace accident in the last nine years.”

“So let’s make work safer for everyone. Working people must be fully involved and at the centre of identifying safety risks in a workplace. Employers must do more to listen to employees about how to make work places safer. Every single workplace should have a workplace health and safety committee with trained representatives, regardless of the number of employees. Some of the smallest workplaces can be the most dangerous. Employers must show leadership in creating workplace culture change where zero harm is the expectation,” Wagstaff said.