Feedback sought on plan to reduce illness and injury at work

Issue 33 – November 2011

The Department of Labour is seeking feedback on the draft Occupational Health Action Plan to improve the occupational health of New Zealand workers was released by the Department of Labour on 26 October 2011. It is estimated that between 700 and 1000 New Zealanders die each year because of occupational disease and that over 17 000 new cases of work-related diseases occur annually. The draft action plan is part of the National Action Agenda to reduce death and injury rates in the workplace.

The draft action plan was released at the Occupational Health Safety Industry Group conference and is open for consultation until 16 November 2011.

'The draft action plan proposes that priority be given to reducing exposure to five known occupational health hazards,' says Lesley Haines, the Department of Labour's Deputy Chief Executive, Labour Group. 'These are occupational cancer, respiratory hazards, noise, skin irritants, and psycho-social hazards.

'The plan also focuses on developing the country's capability to address occupational health issues and building relationships between government, industry, and occupational health researchers and practitioners.

'Without these groups we cannot achieve the goals of the Action Plan – we need buy-in from everyone if we are to ultimately reduce the number of New Zealand workers dying and becoming ill because of their work.'

Summarised from a Department of Labour media release 26 October 2011.

Published in consumer and occupational safety.