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Government Launches New Health and Safety Strategy

Published December 18, 2018 (last updated June 5, 2023) - Head of Health and Safety

Government launches new health and safety strategy

The New Zealand Government has released a new ten-year strategy aimed at improving health and safety in New Zealand workplaces.

The Health And Safety At Work Strategy 2018 – 2028, which was launched last week, focuses on health and wellbeing issues at work and was jointly developed by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and WorkSafe New Zealand.

“We have made significant progress in reducing work-related harm since the Pike River tragedy but it is clear there is much more we can and must do,” Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway said. “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.

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

“To make a real difference, we need to take a broader view of work-related health risks, including mental health. Equally important to me, 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.”

The new strategy was welcomed by 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 said.

What does this mean for you?

A range of factsheets and information about how the Health And Safety At Work Strategy 2018 – 2028 will affect small businesses is available from the MBIE Website

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