WorkSafe NZ: Start the year right by making work safety a priority

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WorkSafe New Zealand is urging all workers and businesses to start the year right by making safety a priority in every workplace.

“A big part of staying well at work is good health and safety habits – and it’s surprising how even a short break away can see those habits slip. Don’t just assume everyone has recharged the batteries and is raring to go. A bit of time spent discussing your safety systems and procedures will be time well spent,” says WorkSafe’s Brett Murray, General Manager Operations, and Specialist Services.

Statistics New Zealand released the serious injury outcome indicators last year showing that businesses across New Zealand are doing their part in ensuring health and safety with positive trends in both work-related fatal and non-fatal injuries.

“While the downward trend is encouraging, the number of people being seriously injured at work is still too high,” said Mr. Murray.

WorkSafe received 2,587 Notifications of Notifiable Illness or Injury in 2016.

“I encourage each workplace in New Zealand to start the year by discussing health and safety and taking positive steps, such as discussing workplace risks with teams, checking Personal Protective Equipment including, hearing protection, safety glasses or face shields,” said Mr. Murray.

“Summer, well for those of you experiencing a summer, does create some new or add additional risks, especially those work are working long days as dehydration and fatigue can lead to potentially fatal accidents.

“Finally, don’t forget to include other risks in your discussions, such as welding fumes, wood dust, and carbon monoxide or other airborne contaminants.”

About 600 to 900 people die in New Zealand every year due to work-related health issues. Around 5,000 to 6,000 are hospitalised due to cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other chronic illnesses from workplace exposure to airborne contaminants.

“Starting the year by discussing health safety is part of ensuring that we can all go home safe and healthy at the end of the day,” said Mr. Murray.

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