Investigation of Causative Factors Associated with Summertime Workplace Fatalities
The apparent increase in the number of workplace fatalities during the summer months in New Zealand has raised concerns among health and safety organisations as well as the general public. The social and economic costs of workplace fatalities are high and the Department of Labour is committed to achieving "Healthy people in safe and productive workplaces" (Dyson, 2005).
An important step towards achieving this goal is to first establish through statistical analysis whether the seasonal summertime peak in fatalities does, in fact, exist and, if so, what industrial sectors and geographical regions are most responsible for it. Ultimately the Department of Labour seeks to identify the major causal factors and establish effective preventative strategies.
Aims and Objectives
There were two principal aims of the project: The first was to confirm whether or not a seasonal trend exists for summertime workplace fatalities both for nationwide occurrence, and for industries and geographical regions, the second was to identify the major causal factors for the workplace fatalities particularly during the summer season. In order to achieve these aims the following specific objectives were identified:
- Identify and confirm the trend of workplace fatalities over the past several years.
- Identify and confirm the seasonal trend of workplace fatalities in terms of their occurrences nationwide, and with different industries and regions.
- Identify the potential contributing factors for summertime fatalities, including the environmental factors, sociological factors, workplace factors, and individual/personal factors.
- Verify contributing factors by independent evidence.
- Develop the profiles of contributing factors for summertime workplace fatalities.
Scope of the Study
This study focuses on workplace fatalities in New Zealand as recorded in the Department of Labour's database dated from the beginning of 2000 to the end of 2005, since reliable data were only available over this period at the time when this study was commissioned. Other types of incident data such as Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) data and serious harm data are used as a reference for comparison purposes only in this report, but further detailed analysis of those data was beyond the scope of this study. Occupational disease is not included in the analysis.
The study will cover the following subject areas in relation to workplace fatalities:
- Seasonal trends of workplace fatalities.
- Primary causes of workplace fatalities.
- Direct contributing factors in the workplace to work related fatalities.
- Other workplace factors likely to contribute to increased risk of work related fatalities.
- Environmental factors which are likely to contribute to increased risk of work related fatalities.
- Sociological factors which are likely to contribute to increased risk of work related fatalities.
- Individual/personal factors which are likely to contribute to increased risk of work related fatalities.