Investment in health and safety regulation a step in the right directionPublish By NZweek News Staff Updated 03/05/2012 6:41 am in NZ News / no comments
PSA MEDIA RELEASE
2 May 2012 – For Immediate Use
The PSA says plans to boost the number of frontline health and safety inspectors is a step in the right direction but New Zealand will still be failing to meet its international commitment on health and safety.
The government has announced a full review of New Zealand’s health and safety system along with a 20% increase to the number of health and safety inspectors over the next three years.
“At a time of massive public sector cuts and a squeeze on health and safety operations at the Department of Labour, it is good to see some commitment to health and safety and investment in frontline public services,” says National Secretary Richard Wagstaff.
“Our members have been telling us for some time that the health and safety inspectorate has been slowly run down and they have little time for proactive work – most of the time they are acting in response to complaints or events. This might go some way towards changing that.”
However the PSA says even with 180 extra inspectors New Zealand will still fall well short of an International Labour Organisation convention which the government is a signatory to. It states there should be one inspector per 10,000 workers. It is estimated New Zealand’s ratio is less than 0.7 per 10,000 workers.
‘It’s also about time the government started releasing the millions of dollars gathered from the Health Safety Employment levy which was supposed to be going on health and safety regulation but which the government was holding onto,” Mr Wagstaff says.
There are still serious concerns about how health and safety regulation will maintain its independence in the new business-focussed super Ministry of Business Innovation and Enterprise.
“Hopefully the review will address some of those issues. It’s in everyone’s interests to have a well-resourced, trained and staffed health and safety inspectorate and we look forward to getting some details about exactly what the review will look at and how it will be carried out”.