Government cautioned against cutting WorkSafe jobs

Union cites 'staggeringly high' rate of workplace deaths, injuries

Government cautioned against cutting WorkSafe jobs

The Public Service Association (PSA) is warning that it would be "more dangerous" to further cut roles in WorkSafe in the wake of "staggeringly high" workplace deaths and injuries.

"With the rate of workplace deaths and injuries in Aotearoa so staggeringly high, we must have a strong organisation that has the resources to properly regulate and educate," said PSA Te PÅ«kenga Here Tikanga Mahi National Secretary Duane Leo in a statement.

The warning comes after WorkSafe cut in November 2023 a total 113 jobs, as the regulator moves to a more "sustainable operating model."

This year, PSA said interim WorkSafe Chief Executive Steve Haszard met with staff earlier this month to discuss planning for further cuts.

This is likely related to the retrenchments ordered by the government across other public service agencies this year. WorkSafe, however, has so far been excluded from this.

"Gutting WorkSafe was dangerous when it happened under the last government - it would be even more dangerous to make further cuts now. It would show the government has no vision for safer work in this country," Leo said.

Need for safety inspectors

The PSA also took aim at the recent remarks of Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden over the need for more workplace safety inspectors.

Van Velden, citing anecdotal evidence, previously disagreed that the country needed more workplace safety inspectors and put more premium on reforming the country's workplace health and safety law.

But the PSA warned against relying on subjective opinion over evidence-based policy.

"The minister's obvious lack of understanding of health and safety law, the history of our legislation, how the system works, and associated data are likely to lead to a watered-down Health & Safety Act and a resulting escalation of serious harm, death, and occupational illness associated with unsafe workplace practices," Leo said.

There are 73 people are killed in workplace accidents in New Zealand annually, costing the economy $4.4 billion a year, according to data from the Business Leaders' Health and Safety Forum.

Recent articles & video

Nine Entertainment reviews workplace culture amid harassment allegations

How many Auckland employers plan to hire more staff in the next 12 months?

Final week to enter Service Provider Awards 2024

Football Ferns head coach on leave amid employment probe

Most Read Articles

Manager resigns over 'shocking' performance improvement plan

'It is unlawful for people to be mistreated in their workplaces'

Full-time student who wanted full-time employment claims discrimination