NZ’s health and safety record is unsustainable!

Guest Blogger: Greg Dearsly

One of the most significant things to occur in the development of occupational health and safety in New Zealand since the introduction of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 is the current legislative review that is being undertaken. The review was ordered by the Minister of Labour to support a 25% reduction in workplace deaths and serious injuries by 2020.

The independent task force conducting the review is expected to report back to Government by April 30th 2013. The task force released their consultation document for public submission this week with the consultation period ending 16th November 2012.

In releasing the consultation document the taskforce’s chair Rob Jager (chair of Shell NZ) describes New Zealand’s workplace safety record as being “sobering, unacceptable and unsustainable”. It’s hard to argue when figures quoted show injury rates twice that of Australia and nearly six times that of the UK.

The consultation document gives an idea of what areas the taskforce think are important, from changes to the regulatory framework, the role of the regulator, worker participation and engagement, leadership and governance, major hazards, SME’s and our national culture and societal expectations, these are just some of the areas highlighted in the document.

The task force has identified an area of significant opportunity for improvement in health and safety outcomes by suggesting increased focus, involvement, competency and accountability of directors and senior leaders in health and safety related issues is required.

Employers, Industry Groups and individuals can and should all contribute to this consultation process, various methods of communicating with the task force exist including an online questionnaire, completing the submission template, simply writing to the taskforce outlining your views or attending one of the public meetings being held during October and November.

For more information and to have your say visit

Greg Dearsly
First Principles for Safety Ltd