31 Jan 2010

Worker safety still not good enough - Wilkinson

7:54 am on 31 January 2010

Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson says more work is needed by high-risk industries and Government to bring down the number of workplace accidents and deaths.

A review of the 10-year Workplace Health and Safety Strategy, which was launched in 2005, found progress has been made in some areas, but key safety messages are failing to reach front-line workers.

One death a week on average and a total of more than 6000 serious workplace accidents were recorded in 2009.

The report estimates the financial and social cost of workplace deaths and injuries at $16 billion a year.

Ms Wilkinson says she will meet industry leaders and visit work sites to stress that a safe workplace is a productive one.

The Registered Master Builders Federation says better coordination is needed between the Labour Department, ACC and the industry to make it easier for smaller companies to follow safety guidelines.

The Forest Owners' Association says it has several safety projects underway, focussing on grassroots leadership and ensuring safety messages are communicated in a way workers can understand.