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EMA and ACC join forces to address workplace injury in the manufacturing sector

The Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA) announced today that with ACC’s support, they are working on behalf of the manufacturing sector to develop an industry-led health and safety plan to prevent harm and reduce workplace injuries.

EMA Chief Executive Brett O’Riley says manufacturing has one of New Zealand’s highest rates of workplace injury, with fatality rates that are significantly higher than those is Australia.

“Too many people are being hurt at work. Manufacturing is one of the country’s largest employers, employing more than 10 percent of New Zealand’s workforce. It is also a large employer of the Māori and Pasifika workforce, both of whom are over-represented in the rate of injury prevalence and workplace fatalities,” says O’Riley.

“If we want to reduce New Zealand’s high rate of workplace injury, which is estimated to cost the country $4.4 billion every year, then we need to focus on harm prevention in manufacturing.

“To achieve this, over the next seven months we are doing the exploration work to produce an industry-led Manufacturing HSW Action Plan that provides the next steps for reducing harm and preventing injury, in the manufacturing sector.

“The first phase of this work will see the project team examining the research around what works and engaging with manufacturers, unions, iwi, academics, and other stakeholders across the country to identify the opportunities available and to better understand the experiences and challenges of those working in the sector.

“This work will form the foundation for an evidence-backed action plan of practical interventions and initiatives – including use of new technology, workplace design, workforce development and leadership capability – which can be leveraged to reduce workplace harm in the manufacturing sector.”

ACC spokesperson, Iain Potter, Head of Injury Prevention, says that once the plan is developed, ACC’s intention is to support the establishment of a pan-industry leadership group within the manufacturing sector, similar to what it has done with other sectors, to lead, coordinate and deliver the action plan.

“We want all manufacturing workers to go home safe every day. Unfortunately, the rate of workplace injury in the manufacturing sector is among the highest in New Zealand, costing ACC an average of over $50 million every year in acute injury costs,” says Potter.

“We know that we can make a difference by working alongside industry and have seen significant success in partnering with the construction sector to establish Construction Health and Safety New Zealand (CHASNZ), which is raising the standard of health, safety and wellbeing in construction.

“This provides a potential blueprint for the manufacturing sector, which has been consistently identified as a priority sector in addressing workplace harm. We welcome the EMA’s proactive approach to lead the first phase of the project to act as a coordinator bringing the sector together to start this important work.”

 

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