Working together to promote workplace health and safety
Monday 4 July 2005
The Department of Labour investigated 46 workplace deaths in the year to 30 June 2005. This includes the deaths of seven bystanders or visitors to workplaces.
This year's provisional final figure of 46 fatalities is significantly less than in recent years (2002-03: 73 fatalities, 2003-04: 61 fatalities). However, the number of fatalities investigated by the Department on its own is not an accurate indicator of trends over time, nor are they a reliable guide to levels of safety performance in the workplace.
Despite this, the downturn in fatalities investigated by the Department
is contrary to what might be expected in New Zealand's current climate of
increased workforce participation, says the Department's National Operations
Manager, Mike Cosman.
"Not only are there more people in the workforce than in previous years, many are working to an older age and for longer hours - which is likely to continue due to the tight labour market."
Mr Cosman says that any improvement in the figures is a tribute to the
sustained efforts companies, their health and safety staff, employee representatives,
industry associations, trade unions and others working with the Department
and ACC to raise awareness of the importance of effective management of
"Only by working together can we change workplace culture and help deliver healthy people in safe and productive workplaces as envisaged by the recently launched Workplace Health and Safety Strategy for New Zealand to 2015."
|Type of Work||No. Fatalities|
|Industrial / commercial||18|
|Mines and Quarries||1|
These figures reflect only the workplace deaths investigated by the Department
of Labour, which are deaths arising from sudden incidents. Deaths from occupational
illness are not included in this figure. Not all sudden workplace deaths
are investigated by the Department: Maritime Safety New Zealand and the
Civil Aviation Authority maintain their own records for deaths on ships
and aircraft. Deaths to those at work whilst driving on the road may not
all be reported to the Department