We can do better on health and safety

Written By: - Date published: 9:53 am, July 30th, 2015 - 8 comments
Categories: health and safety, labour, maori party, Unions, united future - Tags: , , ,

Last night the 291 crosses representing workers who have died since Pike River came to Wellington:

Watered down health and safety proposals will cost lives, family members of those killed in the Pike River disaster say.

“I never, ever want another mother to go through what I have had to go through over the last five years. I wouldn’t wish it on anybody. It is like a life sentence,” said Sonya Rockhouse, who lost her son Ben, 21, in the mine.

“We are not going away. We will keep doing this sort of thing until somebody listens. I am still a reasonably young woman, I am willing to keep doing it until the day I die, until something changes.”

Mrs Rockhouse and Anna Osborne, who lost her husband Milton in the 2010 disaster, were amongst those who tonight held a vigil outside Parliament, along with 291 crosses to mark workplace deaths since Pike River.

Also present was Deborah McMillan, whose husband Shane Frater was killed in a forestry accident in Napier in 2009 when a branch hit him.

The Council of Trade Unions has taken the crosses around the country.

Labour is proposing a set of amendments to fix the Bill. They need the support of Peter Dunne and the Māori Party. Will they do the right thing?

For more information on the CTU’s campaign check their website.

8 comments on “We can do better on health and safety”

  1. AmaKiwi 1

    Only governments can place limits on exploitation for profits.

    Unions can’t. Consumers can’t.

    Wake up Maori Party and Dunne. Do your duty.

  2. Lanthanide 2

    The specific provision about health and safety reps in small businesses is being blown out of proportion.

    The new bill still requires workers engagement and involvement in health and safety matters in all work places. Work places of less than 20 employees, who are in fields deemed to not be dangerous (not yet defined, however forestry is almost certain to be deemed dangerous) do not have the right to require a health and safety rep be appointed.

    So put it this way:
    1. A company of 21 employees has the right to demand a health and safety rep be appointed. But they are not *required* to appoint such a person.
    2. All companies of all sizes must pro-actively involve workers in health and safety in the workplace.
    3. A company of 20 employees or less in a non-dangerous field can not be forced to have a health and safety rep, however they can still have one if the employer agrees.

    The key point is #2 – all companies must engage their workers in health and safety. One of the easiest ways to do this is with a rep, but there are other ways to do it as well.

  3. Skinny 3

    I fully expect the Maori-Tory party to reject the watering down of H & S reforms. I will attribute the rejection to Ma Fox, despite their Nat lap dog Favell’s howls of protest. More and more so is Fox showing she is Leadership material ahead of a floundering Flavell.

    Peter Dirty-Dunny will pull his usual stunt of making the right noise in front of the media and then vote for whatever National want, similar to the GCSB Bill.

  4. Atiawa 4

    It’s not Ka Pai if they don’t comply.

  5. JanM 5

    You’ve got a cat in hell’s chance of that lot doing the right thing – I don’t know who the think the’re there for, but in my opinion they’re a collection of self-serving so and so’s – I find the Maori Party’s spinelessness particularly disappointing

  6. gsays 6

    hi all, i am of the opinion that if there were a few more of the management/governance class held responsible (fined, incarcerated) when workplace injuries/deaths occured, we would see a quick culture change.

    • miravox 6.1


      Maurice Williamson has put his hand up to be the first.

      I think the offer should be taken up on the first small workplace death or serious injury after this watered-down legislation has passed. Maybe he can front up for the ACC costs.

      • gsays 6.1.1

        hi miravox, after reading that i need a shower.

        he shows loyalty to ‘business’.
        loyalty to a concept!

        not loyalty to living, breathing (voting) people.

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