Nats can NOHSAC

Written By: - Date published: 12:00 pm, July 14th, 2009 - 6 comments
Categories: health, national/act government, workers' rights - Tags: , ,

One of the most fundamental rights at work is the right to come home at the end of the day healthy and safe. Now that work right, like so many others, has come under attack from National.

NOHSAC, the National Occupational Health and Safety Advisory Committee, was set up by Margaret Wilson in 2003 to provide research and advice on occupational illness. Independent, run by respected academics and frequently critical of the Department of Labour, NOHSAC did some great work during its short existence. Good, evidence-based stuff on how to identify occupational illness, who it affects and how to prevent it.

Now it’s been scrapped. No reason’s been given, not even a press release, but the word I’m hearing is that NOHSAC’s criticisms of the DoL didn’t go down too well. The DoL is very big on hard hats and not falling into woodchippers, where they’re weak is in protecting against the workplace-related illness and disease that can cripple and ultimately kill people later on in their lives. NOHSAC filled that gap.

Of course, the Minister of Labour, Kate Wilkinson, is not known for her knowledge of health and safety issues. At a recent Safeguard conference she claimed only 50 workers a year die from work-related causes (it’s actually 700-900), and completely ignored occupational illness. Given this woeful understanding of her brief it’s no surprse she let NOHSAC get canned, whether at the behest of self-interested Department officials or Bill English’s cost-cutting razor gang.

Either way, it’s working Kiwis and their families who’ll pay down the track through disease, illness and premature death. Just another ignorant, short-sighted fuckup from a government more interested in the ‘mood of the boardroom’ than the interests of the people working downstairs in the factory.

6 comments on “Nats can NOHSAC”

  1. toad 1

    No reason given. Wonder if, when questioned, Wilkinson will tkae her lead from Key and say it is “not in the public interest” to reveal the reason?

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    Nationals theorem:

    Researching why people get sick at work means that you’ll have to do something about it and that’ll cost money – money that could be used for more tax cuts for the rich and higher profits. If we ignore it, perhaps it’ll go away.

  3. Wrangle 3

    Toad, clearly it would be against the public interest for anything embarrassing to Key’s government to come public.

    If it happened too often, we might have left-wing government again, and look what a disaster that was last time:
    – record low unemployment, lower crime, lower debt, lower tax, higher wages, better healthcare, better education

    disaster.

    btw, toad. What’s up with Kevin Hague rushing to defend Key’s cycle-way? You know? Yay for cycle-ways and all that but Key’s cycle-way is a joke and an embarrassment. The Greens would be wise to keep their brand well clear of it and focus on things that actually do improve the environment, rather than projects designed to fly in more tourists from overseas on carbon-emitting jets.

  4. randal 4

    dont forget that looking after people is a social good and the basic driving psyche of right wingers and neo cons is causing anybody but themselves as much trouble as they can.
    this view in this day and age about their behaviour is frowned upon even by left wingers because it opens up the can of worms about meaning in the 21st century but nevertheless it is true.
    focus on this and you in the money.
    the rest is just flapping the gums.

  5. Darien 5

    Why is anyone surprised? National have also cut funding to the training of workplace health and safety representatives to both business and unions, even although the role of workplace involvement in injury prevention is well established. And watch out everyone, Pansy Wong’s in charge of reviewing ACC’s Injury Prevention Strategy.

  6. Swampy 6

    Labour built a huge bureacracy, now it’s time to cut it back. ACC is not something that should be a government monopoly.

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