Complacency in the Workplace?

Regulator says industries show signs of slipping back to "old ways".

WorkSafe NZ has sounded a warning about complacency regarding health and safety, after fatality numbers in 2016 and 2017 bucking the downward trend of the previous couple of years.

"In general, New Zealand is seeing a stagnation of attitudes towards health and safety, which is concerning". Chief Executive Nicole Rosie told Stuff.

In the years since Worksafe was established in 2013 – after the Pike River disaster – rates of workplace deaths had been falling. 

By 2015, fatalities were down by a third and serious injuries were down 29 per cent. Lesser injuries had started to track down also.

But in 2016 those gains started reversing. Fifty people died in a workplace accident or in a workplace's care and last year was the same, due largely to a surge in forestry and logistics accidents.

Worksafe is hoping that's just a blip. New Zealand has a goal: a 25 per cent  reduction in workplace fatalities and serious injuries by 2020, and so  far this year there's been 18 deaths, half the usual number.

Two years ago, new health and safety reforms came into force. Penalties were increased and it became easier to prosecute directors, not just their companies.

Directors now had to do their own due diligence of workplace hazards – not just outsource them. But the new law makes everyone accountable to some extent for hazards they see around them

However, Worksafe's annual surveys of company attitudes to health and safety has found complacency is creeping back. Stuff

We've implemented the changes and trained our workers - have we now taken our eye off the ball by believing all workers will comply all of the time?

A good example we see everyday is when driving on the roads - how many of us take notice of the speed limit signs?


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