Workplace deaths remembered on Memorial Day   28 Apr 2012

Today is International Workers’ Memorial Day - a time for New Zealand workers and employers to reflect on the importance of health and safety on the job, Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson says.

Falling on April 28 each year, it is a day of remembrance and action for workers killed, disabled, injured or made unwell by their work.

“This is a time to remember those friends, family and colleagues who didn’t come home from work and to reflect on the role we all must play in ensuring our workplaces are safe,” Ms Wilkinson says.

“Too many New Zealanders are harmed or killed at work. There were 41 deaths reported to the Labour Department last year and hundreds of people were seriously injured.

“The financial cost to New Zealand’s economy is estimated to be in excess of $1 billion a year, while the human price paid by workers, their families and communities is immeasurable.”

Ms Wilkinson says five industry sectors with consistently high levels of workplace deaths and injuries are being targeted. She has launched action plans for the construction, forestry, manufacturing and agriculture industries and a plan for the fishing industry is being developed

“Safety should be part of the culture in every workplace – it is good for business productivity and staff morale.”

“These action plans have Government, industry and employees all working together to lower the unacceptable rate of workplace harm. I think together we can make a real difference.”

(New Zealand Government)

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