The State of Workplace Health and Safety in New Zealand - June 2011
This report is a snapshot of the state of workplace health and safety in New Zealand. For the first time, key health and safety statistics have been brought together in what will become an annual report.
Every year thousands of New Zealanders are killed or injured at work, or suffer from a work-related disease, resulting in huge personal, social and financial costs.
This report forms part of the Workplace Health and Safety Strategy for New Zealand and is one action of the National Action Agenda. It gives easier access to better quality information, supporting the establishment of clear priorities for reducing New Zealand’s work toll and increasing health and safety performance.
Over time, this annual report will be used to monitor our progress towards the Workplace Health and Safety Strategy’s vision of ‘healthy people in safe and productive workplaces’.
Workplace Health and Safety Strategy vision:
Healthy people in safe and productive workplaces
The State of Workplace Health and Safety in June 2011
- Fatality and injury rates are too high
- Occupational disease and costs don’t yet have reliable headline indicators
- Industry and employee engagement is generally high
- Government interventions need to be better targeted and monitored.
5 Monitored Outcome Areas
To reduce the toll of work-related injury and disease and to increase health and safety performance, focus needs to be on five areas.
The following areas must be reduced:
- Work-related injuries and fatalities
- Occupational disease
- Cost of injury and disease.
The following areas must be increased:
- Industry and employee engagement
- Response to Government activity.
Data at a glance
In the last 12 months there have been 85 deaths, 445 serious non-fatal injuries and 30,800 ACC entitlement claims.
- New Zealand has about 470,000 workplaces and two million workers
- The sectors with consistently high work tolls are: construction, agriculture, forestry, fishing and manufacturing
- Occupational disease is estimated to lead to 700-1,000 fatalities and 17,000-20,000 new cases a year - asthma, skin diseases and asbestos-related cancer are big contributors
- Annually, the work toll costs billions in suffering and premature death but the majority of this cost is absorbed by society
- ACC pays out about half a billion dollars a year for work-related claims
- Lost work days on ACC weekly compensation equate to about one day per worker per year
- About 90% of medium and large businesses have health and safety systems but many small businesses have difficulty setting these up
- About 9,600 workplace incidents are notified to the Department of Labour each year – about 1,200 result in compliance or enforcement action
- Annually, there are about 750,000 visits to ACC and DoL websites and health and safety information services, and about 20,000 people make enquiries through the DoL contact centre
- About 5,000 businesses are involved in ACC incentive programmes.
What we’re doing
- A National Action Agenda was launched in March 2011, setting national-level actions to help reduce the toll of work-related injury and disease
- Action plans are being developed for five priority sectors (construction, agriculture, fishing, forestry and manufacturing) and for occupational health. The first plan, for the construction industry, was launched in May 2011
- Focused harm reduction activity is targeting key causes of injury and disease, such as quad bikes, falls from height and carbon monoxide
- The Department is supporting the Business Leaders’ Health and Safety Forum and their commitment to zero harm in the workplace
- ACC is implementing experience rating, aimed at improving the safety of workplaces by providing incentives for employers to invest in health and safety.
Notes to support this report can be found at below, or download the following for the Supporting Notes pdf [8 pages, 690kB].
These notes give further background and technical information on the indicators in the State of Workplace Health and Safety report (the SoWHS). They are summary notes, not intended to replace originating data and explanatory/technical notes.