CTU tells Select Committee workplaces must be made safer

26 Jun

The CTU has today made a strong oral submission to the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee on the Health and Safety Reform Bill.

“It is possible to turn around the terrible record of health and safety in this country, but this will only be possible if all the pieces of the jigsaw are put together.” CTU President, Helen Kelly said.

“We know that workers have a critical role to play in making workplaces safe. Worker voices need to be heard and taken seriously through formal processes within the workplace. Worker representation in decisions about workplace health and safety adds insight and value which can save lives.” Kelly said.

“It is likely that the 29 men who were killed in the Pike River mine explosion would be alive today if better health and safety regulation had been in place.” Kelly said.

“I have 28 reports pinned to my wall in my office of forestry workers killed in NZ forests in the last 5 years. Not one refers to a health and safety representative system despite many in firms large enough to have required them by law. All would have benefitted from one. Not one of these employers can show that workers genuinely having an official role to play in their own, and their workmates, health and safety would lead to abuse – or even really be clear about what that abuse might be, underscores to us one of the reasons why NZ workplaces are so dangerous.“ Kelly said.

“We want to highlight that the regulation document recommends removing the right of farm workers to have access to housing made of permanent materials with cooking facilities and heating and lighting in every room. It is very concerning that recent investigations by labour inspectors found two-thirds of farmers were in breach minimum employment rules. We are very aware of the increasing use of migrant farm workers and how vulnerable they are to exploitation on short term work arrangements. Farm workers deserve some standards in accommodation provision.” Kelly said.

ENDS

For further comment, please contact:

Helen Kelly, President, CTU

021 776 741

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