Embracing the new Occupational Health & Safety changes

By 2020 New Zealand is aiming to decrease Health & Safety incidents by 25% by implementing changes to our OH&S laws in April 2016. The updated New Zealand Health & Safety legislation has been developed on the back of the Australian Health and Safety Laws, which have resulted in Australians seeing an impressive 16% decrease in incident rates. 

How can a strong OSH culture benefit your business?

MBIE produced a report on the ‘Positive links between health, safety and productivity’ which presents compelling evidence that there are many potential benefits for New Zealand businesses of strong links between health, safety and productivity, including:

  • fewer injuries that stop people from working
  • increased innovation
  • improved quality
  • enhanced corporate reputation
  • reduced ACC levies
  • lower costs to compensate workers
  • improved staff recruitment and retention.

MBIE reports growing recognition that productivity drives economic growth and profits, and can create a competitive business advantage.

Workplace injuries and illness are costly

Estimates of the hidden costs of workplace injury and illness to a business vary greatly, but range from anywhere between 0.5 and 20 times wage and/or salary costs.

(Oxenburgh, 1991; William et al, 1997; Doorman, 2000; Viscusi, 2004; Burton et al, 2005; Oxenburgh and Marlow, 2005; NOHSAC, 2006.)

In 2006 analysis of the economic and social costs of occupational disease and injury in New Zealand came up with five main categories:

  • Health and rehabilitation costs (62%)
  • Production disturbance costs (12%)
  • Administration costs (12%)
  • Transfer costs (5%)
  • Human capital costs (1%)
  • Other costs (6%)

Workplace injury also presents a large cost to the state in New Zealand. By 2004–2005, the ACC had paid out $5 billion in compensation to workers, amounting to 4% of GDP; and it’s worth noting that only 2% of the full costs of occupational injury and illness are compensated.

So what can you do?

Safety First can help your organisation build a strong health and safety culture. We’re passionate about business-wide change and creating an OSH focus that becomes part of each employee’s mindset.

We liked this short animation from Worksafe on 10 ways to create more involvement with your workplace health and safety culture:

And you can click here to see their guide to giving great talks on OH&S for when you are presenting to your people.

Our Safety First team are always ready to talk about how you can develop your H&S systems and practices in your workplace. Give us a call!