Why have Workplace Fatalities Increased and what can be done about this?
After their second year in operation, WorkSafe New Zealand has released their annual report for 2015/2016 (1st July 2015 – 30st June 2016).
One of the key highlights for the year was the new Health and Safety at Work Act that was released on the 4th April 2016. The idea behind this was to enhance awareness of workplace health and safety and to minimise workplace fatalities and injuries.
The report highlighted that 72% of people reported to have a better understanding of their health and safety responsibilities, could this be a result of the new act? We hope so!
However, the big question on everyone’s mind is ‘has the new Health and Safety at Work Act positively impacted the workplace fatality rate?’ Unfortunately the answer to this question is unclear as the new act was only released in the last quarter of the report. The next annual report will provide us with a better representation.
Over 2015/2016 there were 59 workplace fatalities in New Zealand. This is a 23% increase compared to 2014/2015. The Agriculture sector has once again been the biggest contributor towards this number, with 28.8% of total workplace deaths belonging to this sector. This high number of fatalities is still unacceptable and disappointing.