It was disappointing to see Michael Woodhouse’s complacency for the government at one worker each week dying on the job.
That can’t be acceptable.
The new health & safety laws are a big improvement, and are making a difference in NZ businesses. It took a ridiculous time (and workers continuing to die) from Pike River to their implementation, as National did their consulting with various backers how much they could accept. And while an improvement, it’s clearly come up short.
The biggy is agriculture, and the fact that worm farmers are covered and not cow farmers. How agriculture didn’t get classed as dangerous when we see more than 1/3 of deaths this year are from agriculture. And agriculture, while a big money earner, isn’t that big an employer. Clearly it needs including. Agricultural workers’ lives are precious too.
There will no doubt be improvement over time as health and safety culture takes a while to bed in. All those years since the 90s National government scrapped so much health and safety law have left us behind the 8-ball. But maybe some of the watering down that happened at select committee stage needs revisiting too. Our rate of deaths is many times what it is in Australia or the UK, and every worker deserves to get home safely to their family at the end of their shift.