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Health & Safety

Written By: - Date published: 10:38 am, July 17th, 2012 - 12 comments
Categories: workers' rights - Tags:

Right now 28 miners are stuck down a Waihi mine with a fire causing noxious gases.  15 people are being decontaminated at Tiwai Point after an ‘incident’.  At 3.30am the driver of a truck-trailer loaded pressurised cylinders died after crashing into Bulls RSA – probably asleep from the fatigue 24% of truck drivers suffer from with their long shifts.  Yesterday a man fell 6 stories on a Fletcher Construction site in central Auckland and is now fighting for his life.

I hope and wish all those involved in these workplace accidents are brought home safe / suffer(ed) as little as possible.

The Department of Labour will investigate all these incidents, which will be a stretch given how National governments run down the department in charge of workers’ rights.

Hopefully the investigations will lead to safer work practices and fewer lives lost or damaged or risked.  Hopefully the DoL will be able to enforce the practices it recommends.

Except – it won’t be the Department of Labour, it will be Steven Joyce’s new White Whale MoBIE, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.  A ministry designed to be ‘Business-facing’, helping make businesses’ lives easier in their interaction with government.

Or for workers and their rights – a gamekeeper turned poacher if you will.

Here’s hoping the civil servants in the former Department of Labour section manage to shrug off pressure to make life easier for business and make it safer for workers.

12 comments on “Health & Safety”

  1. xtasy 1

    “The Department of Labour will investigate all these incidents” –

    same as crime stories with the comment line “the police are investigating” …

    I thought that after all that drama, the many tears, complaints raised and promises made by the government ministers after the Pike River Mine disaster was supposed to lead to an improvement in mine and work-place safety.

    Seems not much has changed. Nothing new in a society, where cost cutting, profits, asset sales, privatisation, outsourcing, lowering of standards are more important than the well-being of workers and citizens in general.

    • Populuxe1 1.1

      I thought that after all that drama, the many tears, complaints raised and promises made by the government ministers after the Pike River Mine disaster was supposed to lead to an improvement in mine and work-place safety.
      Seems not much has changed. Nothing new in a society, where cost cutting, profits, asset sales, privatisation, outsourcing, lowering of standards are more important than the well-being of workers and citizens in general.

      That’s rich. In case you hadn’t noticed, all 28 miners got out of the Waihi mine alive and relatively unscathed because appropriate safety measures were in place and followed. The safety concerns are after the fact – a result of the fire possibly making truck tires explode, not the cause.The unfortunate reality is that mining is inherently dangerous and therefore risk can only be minimalised, not entirely eliminated. I would also point out that Bunji’s assertion that the fire was producing toxic fumes is unfounded – the article says quite clearly “Mine safety expert Dave Feickert said the first hurdle for the rescuers would have been extinguishing the fire and removing the risk of any toxic fumes from that.”
      Before anyone starts huffing and puffing about National, I want statistics that things were any better under Labour. National do enough real shitty things as it is without people making it up out of thin air. Slander born of sour grapes just looks like crying wolf.

      • xtasy 1.1.1

        Pop: Yes, thank goodness, all went well.

        But I wrote that bit before they were rescued, and it was having a more general target.

        Just wait and see, how much will have been learned out of previous disasters. Only the observation of a longer period will show this.

        • Populuxe1 1.1.1.1

          It pays to read the posted links, xtasy. The first sentence of the first linked to article says
          “The 28 miners who were trapped for hours in a Waihi gold mine are all well and in good spirits.” With considerable detail on how satisfactory the safety precautions were.

          • Bunji 1.1.1.1.1

            History unfortunately gets rewritten on websites Populuxe1.
            When xtasy wrote the first comment the miners weren’t rescued, so the article certainly didn’t say they had been. When I linked to it, they were all still down there. Shortly after 13 were out, and then some hours later the last 15 were rescued. I would say it’s actually quite poor practice of stuff not to start a new story on each major development, rather than overwriting.

            Similarly when I linked to it the experts quoted were suggesting that with such a ferocious fire that caused smoke out the vents it would be causing noxious gases.

            • xtasy 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Thanks for that. I was sure that that is what happens, so now the critic should also understand this quite clearly, I “hope”.

      • Hayden 1.1.2

        …I would also point out that Bunji’s assertion that the fire was producing toxic fumes is unfounded…

        At the risk of being pedantic, I’ll think you’ll find that almost all fires produce fumes of varying (non-zero) toxicity.

        Okay, that was pedantic.

  2. Rodel 2

    often hear people deriding OSH as interfering b****s. My response ‘We kill 2 people a week in NZ industry, usually husbands and fathers..did you know that?” Usually makes them go silent if not think.

  3. Rosie 3

    For a small industrial country we have a bad track record of injury and death in the workplace in NZ. All too often H&S isn’t taken seriously, and at a cultural level too, as Rodel refers to above. It’s difficult then when you have the D.o.L’s function minimised and morphed into a Nat Govt ideological pet – the multi ministry. In the past, I’m thinking specifically the 2000’s, the D.o. L had produced some helpful worker orientated research and data which reflected its role within its workplace rights advocacy capacity, as well as being available to workers with grievances. Will the new employment wing of MoBIE even bother with undertaking research unless it is boss orientated?

    How can a minimised former Labour Department, in its new guise as part of MoBIE, act in a way that is beneficial to workers, ie, promotion, regulation and investigation of H&S practices when it’s prime responsibility is to promoting business success as a bottom line?

    Under this new regime it’s not likely that we will see numbers of workplace injury and death reducing any time soon.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      But we will see it increase at which point we need to charge this entire present government with murder.

  4. xtasy 4

    “MoBIE” – Yes, I love that, fittingly short for “MoBIE-DICK”.

    The latter part of that is presumably and superbly fitting for the “inventor” of that mega ministry of sorts.

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    When my parents first visited me in Auckland ten years ago, they remarked on how there were no homeless people on the streets. Coming from Los Angeles, they were used to seeing the impacts of horrendous inequality and a lack… ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter
    20 hours ago
  • Steffan Browning: Pesticide reduction and Organic Growth Strategy in Budget 2016
    Pesticide reduction The Budget is an opportunity for the Government to launch a pesticide reduction strategy that multiplies the Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) and the Ministry for Primary Industries’ capacity to reassess pesticides and other toxins.  The Agricultural Compounds and… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning
    21 hours ago
  • Steffan Browning: Pesticide reduction and Organic Growth Strategy in Budget 2016
    Pesticide reduction The Budget is an opportunity for the Government to launch a pesticide reduction strategy that multiplies the Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) and the Ministry for Primary Industries’ capacity to reassess pesticides and other toxins.  The Agricultural Compounds and… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning
    21 hours ago
  • Minister won’t fess up on wrong figures
    The Minister of Health was caught out telling porkies in Parliament today when he was asked about the number of people getting access to mental health and addiction services, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. ...
    2 days ago
  • Budget 2016 and our LGBTQI communities
    LGBTI people make up about a tenth of our population, and our communities face a unique set of needs and challenges. These challenges are caused or exacerbated by discrimination, invisibility and barriers to appropriate support. We have a long way… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 days ago
  • Budget 2016 and our LGBTQI communities
    LGBTI people make up about a tenth of our population, and our communities face a unique set of needs and challenges. These challenges are caused or exacerbated by discrimination, invisibility and barriers to appropriate support. We have a long way… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 days ago
  • Scrambled announcement policy on the hoof
    Paula Bennett’s scrambled desperate announcement that she will pay homeless people to move to the regions is just the latest evidence of the disarray this Government’s housing policy is in, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “This is policy… ...
    2 days ago
  • Police Minister admits resolution rates fall short of expectation
    Police Minister Judith Collins has admitted in Parliament current burglary resolution rates are not meeting the expectations of our communities, says Labour’s Police spokesman Stuart Nash “Out of 284 police stations in New Zealand in 2015, 24 stations recorded zero… ...
    2 days ago
  • Mojo Mathers: A better deal for animals in Budget 2016
    Currently we are failing animals in NZ. On the face of it farmed and domestic animals in this country have strong legal protection from abuse, cruelty and neglect. In reality it seems that only the very worst, most extreme cases… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    2 days ago
  • Metiria Turei: What we need from Budget 2016
    Every family deserves a warm decent home.  Everyone believes that. This housing crisis is just the latest consequence of a Government who puts the interests of the few wealthy people above the needs of NZ families.  Families are doing it… ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei
    2 days ago
  • Dairy exports fall of 11%: Budget action on diversification needed
    Dairy exports have fallen 11 per cent compared to this time last year, a fall of almost $1.5b, showing the Government must take clear action on diversifying the economy in tomorrow’s Budget, says Labour’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson David… ...
    2 days ago
  • Investors driving families out of homes in South and West Auckland
    Investors cashing in on skyrocketing Auckland house prices are driving families out of homes in South and West Auckland and causing homeownership rates in some of our poorest suburbs to plummet, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “New analysis shows… ...
    2 days ago
  • Budget must deliver on paid parental leave
    Budget 2016 must deliver 26 weeks paid parental leave by April 2018 – anything less will be short-changing families, says Labour MP Sue Moroney. “My Bill which is before Parliament this afternoon has majority support and does just that. I… ...
    2 days ago
  • Key’s “brain fart” on tax cuts news to English
    John Key didn’t tell his own Finance Minister he was about to go on radio and announce he wanted $3b of tax cuts, just days after Bill English ruled them out, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “In Parliament today… ...
    3 days ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
    Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    3 days ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
    Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    3 days ago
  • Denise Roche: What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 Pt II
    Aotearoa’s new New Zealanders,  come to our country in vulnerable position: – often away from the culture, communities and families they know, sometimes in neighbourhoods without familiar faces and often encountering barriers to employment. With net migration at 50,000+ a… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    3 days ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    3 days ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    3 days ago
  • A great Budget would
    A great Budget would embrace the challenge of our polluted rivers and move the money away from justifying the status quo water rules into cleaning up waterways. A great Budget would take the Ministry for the Environment freshwater budget and… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    3 days ago
  • Budget building materials policy backfires
    On the eve of this year’s Budget official figures show Nick Smith’s Budget 2014 centrepiece to reduce the cost of building materials has backfired, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment officials have spent the… ...
    3 days ago
  • Smarter, Better, Cleaner, Stronger
    This Thursday Bill English will deliver his eighth Budget. Will it continue the trend of previous National budgets, making tertiary education less affordable, putting only token funds into innovation, and subsidising polluters? Budgets aren’t what they used to be. Once… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    3 days ago
  • Govt must come clean on tax cuts in Budget
    National is making a mockery of the Budget process by dangling the promise of tax cuts but failing to include them in the Budget, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “National’s tax cut promises have turned into a farce. One… ...
    4 days ago
  • Grant Robertson Pre-Budget Speech
    Today I want to talk about success. As we know success can come in many different forms, from the fact you all made it here at such an early hour on a Monday, for which I am very grateful, to… ...
    4 days ago
  • Budget must deliver for middle New Zealand
    The Government must ensure next week’s Budget stops the squeeze on middle New Zealand and delivers shared prosperity for all New Zealanders, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. The call follows new research commissioned by Labour that shows working… ...
    5 days ago
  • Our housing emergency – why we have to act
    Marama and Metiria at Homes Not Cars launch On Thursday, Metiria Turei announced the Green Party’s plan to start addressing the emergency housing crisis facing our country. Too many people are without homes right now – homeless. It is the… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    6 days ago
  • Will funding boost for sexual violence services go to the right places?
    This week the Government announced $46million for sexual violence services. This announcement was a result of decades of work by advocates and everyone who submitted to the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence services that I initiated with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    7 days ago
  • Will funding boost for sexual violence services go to the right places?
    This week the Government announced $46million for sexual violence services. This announcement was a result of decades of work by advocates and everyone who submitted to the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence services that I initiated with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    7 days ago
  • Denise Roche – What I’m looking for in this year’s Budget
    Two of the things I’ll be looking for in the Budget next week are more funding for refugees and for our arts and culture sector. More funding for refugees I’m a strong supporter of the #DoubleTheQuota campaign and its goals… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    7 days ago
  • Denise Roche – What I’m looking for in this year’s Budget
    Two of the things I’ll be looking for in the Budget next week are more funding for refugees and for our arts and culture sector. More funding for refugees I’m a strong supporter of the #DoubleTheQuota campaign and its goals… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    7 days ago
  • Car rego victims must get a refund
    Motorists who have been overcharged for their car registration should get a refund, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Sue Moroney.  “Minister Nikki Kaye’s ‘faulty risk’ rating scheme has blown up in her face with over 170 different models of car having… ...
    7 days ago
  • Council statement shows they just don’t get it
    The Auckland Council’s statement today shows they don’t understand the problems created by the urban growth boundary, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “I have been the first to defend the Auckland City Council when Bill English has been blaming… ...
    7 days ago
  • Inspecting electronic devices a potential privacy threat
    Labour is expressing concern for New Zealanders’ privacy rights as the Government signals Customs will have the power to inspect electronic devices coming across the border, says Labour’s Customs Spokesperson Rino Tirikatene. “We agree that customs officers should have the… ...
    7 days ago
  • The Price of Water
    This week I hosted a public meeting at EIT in Hawkes Bay to discuss how we might put a price on the commercial use of water, so that water may be valued and treated more sustainably. I invited a… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    7 days ago
  • Caption It NZ!
    Today I received a petition from the NZ Captioning Working Group urging the government to legislate for accessibility via closed captioning for deaf and hard of hearing New Zealanders. It was timely because today is the fifth Global Accessibility Awareness… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    1 week ago
  • Older Kiwis to miss out on electives
    The Government is not doing enough elective surgery to keep up with New Zealand’s ageing population, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “It’s damning that the targeted national intervention rate for cataract and knee and hip surgery is the same… ...
    1 week ago
  • Most principals say their college is underfunded
    The Government must substantially increase funding for secondary schools in next week’s Budget after a new survey found 86 per cent of principals consider their college under-resourced, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Just 14 per cent of secondary principals… ...
    1 week ago
  • Bill English and Nick Smith on different pages
    The Government’s support for Labour’s policy to remove the Auckland urban growth boundary is good news, but National needs to clarify its position, Labour’s Housing and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Acting Prime Minister has acknowledged our position… ...
    1 week ago
  • Bill English and Nick Smith on different pages
    The Government’s support for Labour’s policy to remove the Auckland urban growth boundary is good news, but National needs to clarify its position, Labour’s Housing and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Acting Prime Minister has acknowledged our position… ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour calls for independent inquiry into illegal fish dumping
    The Labour Party is reiterating its call for an independent inquiry into New Zealand’s fishing industry after two reports revealed the Ministry for Primary Industries turned a blind eye to widespread fish dumping in New Zealand waters, says Labour’s Fisheries… ...
    1 week ago
  • Mt Karangahake and Newcrest Mining
    On Wednesday and Sunday of last week the local residents of the Karangahake mountain in the Karangahake gorge of Hauraki/Coromandel peacefully protested against a gold mining drill rig on private land adjacent to the DOC land. The drilling rig was… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Robbing Aucklanders to pay Rio Tinto
    New Zealand’s national electricity grid stretches the length of the country and contains some 11,803 kilometres of high-voltage lines and 178 substations. It wouldn’t make sense for competing power companies to duplicate and build their own expensive electricity transmission system… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    1 week ago
  • Government should abolish Auckland urban growth boundary
    The Government should rule out any possibility of an urban growth boundary in Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan if it is serious about fixing the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Over 25 years the urban growth boundary hasn’t… ...
    1 week ago
  • Kiwis don’t want iPads for Land deals
     It is outrageous that schools are relying on money and iPads from foreign land investors to meet the learning needs of their students, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  “Several OIO land applications by offshore investors have claimed that without… ...
    1 week ago

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