Posted on: May 14, 2014

An estimated 600-900 New Zealanders die prematurely each year due to work-related illness and disease

7 May 2014

A group of the country’s leading experts on occupational health have been assembled to advise WorkSafe New Zealand about how to help protect people from work-related illness and disease.

An estimated 600-900 New Zealanders die prematurely each year due to work-related illness and disease. That toll is over and above the number of workers killed in workplace accidents. Thousands more people suffer from non-fatal work related disease.

The Chair of WorkSafe NZ Board, Professor Gregor Coster, says the Occupational Health and Advisory Group will provide the Board of WorkSafe NZ with independent advice and expertise on what is a complex issue.

“Protecting people at work is not just about reducing the risk of accidents. It is also about ensuring that the long-term health effects of the workplace environment are well managed.

“It is not always a simple matter to determine the precise cause of work-related ill-health. There is often a long time between exposure to a workplace hazard and the subsequent illness. But occupational health issues affect a huge number of New Zealanders, and we can’t just put it into the too-hard basket.

“Occupational health is an important focus for WorkSafe NZ. The more we can understand the causes of chronic work-related ill-health the better placed we will be to support businesses to take preventative measures.

“The Occupational Health Advisory Group will play an important role in helping WorkSafe NZ come to grips with the issue and help tackle ill-health in the workplace,” says Professor Coster.

The group will be chaired by George Adams, who also chairs the Independent Forestry Safety Review Panel, the Leadership Development Group of the Business Leaders’ Health and Safety Forum and is a former chair of the NZ Food and Grocery Council.

“George Adams has a long-standing commitment to health and safety, as well as vast experience in the business world. His perspective, and that of the rest of the advisory group, will be invaluable for WorkSafe NZ,” says Professor Coster.

Source: WorkSafe NZ



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