Loss of health and safety committee a blow to NZ workers

Monday, 03 August, 2009

According to the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (CTU), research on the health and safety of New Zealand’s workforce has taken a huge blow with the disestablishment of the National Occupational Health and Safety Advisory Committee (NOHSAC).

CTU President Helen Kelly said: “The committee was disestablished on 30 June with no government announcement providing reasons or who was responsible for the decision.

“The committee’s independence was crucial so that research into the health and safety of workers was protected from economic or political conflicts of interest.”

NOHSAC was established in 2003 to provide independent advice directly to the Minister of Labour on major occupational health and safety issues in New Zealand. The committee advised the Minister on measures that would deliver the greatest benefit for the prevention of occupational injury and disease and developed an evidence-based approach to occupational health and safety issues.

NOHSAC academics and professional researchers produced comprehensive reports to inform important policy issues affecting all workers. Research included the burden of occupational disease and injury, the economic and social costs and surveillance of occupational disease and injury, surveillance and control of workplace exposures and a national profile of occupational health and safety in New Zealand.

NOHSAC will be releasing four final reports before closing:

  • The Evolving Work Environment in New Zealand: Implications for Occupational Health and Safety;
  • Work Relatedness of Occupational Disease and Injury: Implications for diagnosis, rehabilitation and compensation;
  • Occupational Health and Safety in Small Business; and
  • Women’s Occupational Health and Safety in New Zealand.
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