The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union has welcomed the report of the Health & Safety Taskforce and is urging the Government to implement it in full.
The report recommends a new standalone crown agency dedicated to health and safety, a new workplace health and safety Act based on international best practice, increased worker participation and action to create a more positive health and safety culture.
"This is a groundbreaking report and the Taskforce deserves to be congratulated for its courage and vision," says EPMU assistant national secretary Ged O’Connell.
"The report is clear that the period of deregulation in the 1980s and ‘90s has made New Zealand’s workplaces less safe and contributed to our appalling rate of workplace deaths and injuries.
"The Pike River tragedy is the most shocking example of this, but the reality is the number of workplace deaths in New Zealand is equivalent to two or three Pike Rivers every year.
"This report provides compelling evidence that health and safety in this country needs a major overhaul, and that means strengthening the law, giving workers more voice and properly resourcing our health and safety regime.
"We are confident that these recommendations, if implemented, would have a dramatic effect on workplace health and safety in New Zealand."
The EPMU represents workers in some of New Zealand’s most dangerous industries, including mining, construction and manufacturing.
The union is currently running ‘Stand Up, Be Safe’ meetings across New Zealand setting up workplace health and safety committees and educating workers about their right to a safe workplace.