New Safety Charter construction insurance and Government leaders commit to safe rebuild

Issue 51 – July 2013

In a ground-breaking partnership, more than fifty construction, insurance, central, and local government leaders have signed and endorsed a Safety Charter to help keep everyone working on the Canterbury rebuild safe. Signatories have all committed to the 10 actions in the Canterbury Rebuild Safety Charter, aiming to create a consistent and collective approach to health and safety on all worksites in the rebuild.

In 2012, the Canterbury Rebuild Senior Leaders Group, made up of leaders from the construction, insurance, and government sectors, was established. The Group aims to lift health and safety standards in the rebuild and to address the poor safety performance to date in the construction sector. The Senior Leaders Group builds on the work done by the Canterbury Rebuild Safety Forum. Based on the estimated number of workers involved in the rebuild, estimates showed that if health and safety was not made a priority, we could see:

  • 1 – 2 people die every year in the rebuild
  • many more suffering life-changing injuries, getting sick, or dying an early death because of exposure to workplace contaminants and other hazards
  • 600,000 working days lost to illness and injury.

This could cost $80 million in ACC entitlements.

While no one has died while working in the red or rebuild zone, there have been three fatalities in the Canterbury construction industry since January 2011. Serious harm notifications and injury statistics from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and ACC are already showing a rise in work-related harm in Christchurch.

Safety Charter

The Safety Charter was officially launched in Cathedral Square on 4 July 2013 with 50 signatories and endorsees. This includes all six project management offices, major construction companies including group builders, key insurers, labour on hire companies, and central and local government. The Charter was also endorsed by a wide range of industry organisations including industry associations and training bodies including Site Safe.

Alison Molloy, Chief Executive of Site Safe, says, 'The thought leadership and active engagement of the group is critical to the safety of workers and we welcome the collective and collaborative approach that is being taken with this Charter.'

General Manager of SCIRT, Duncan Gibb, says the Charter is a practical document that aims to get businesses and Government agencies working together to achieve a safe rebuild.

The Charter's key actions are leadership, prevention of death and serious harm, effective systems to manage risks and ensure all workers are involved in their health and safety, a robust reporting and learning culture, understanding of site risks, full compliance with PPE, health and well-being services for workers, and no impairment due to drugs, alcohol or fatigue.

→ For more information on the Safety Charter, please visit www.safetycharter.org.nz

Summarised from a Site Safe media release, 4 July 2013.

Published in building.