Health and Safety Reform Bill

Ecotech Services welcomes the news that the Health and Safety Reform Bill has been amended by removing the requirement for a health and safety committee for organisations with less than 20 people.  This is a positive move for small businesses who are encumbered with high compliance costs.

Statistical data shows that since 1992 there has been no real change in the number of workplace deaths.  Given that there has been a major shift towards having a strong culture of workplace safety, it appears that no amount of government or company policy is reducing the current number of workplace deaths.  The law of diminishing returns can possibly be applied to health and safety measures, and if so we would be in the long tail of having vanishingly small returns for any new policy that is put in place.

figure 3

From Gunby, P., How Bad is the State of Occupational Fatalities in New Zealand? New Zealand Journal of Employment Relations 36(1): 35-51

The case is almost exactly the same for electricity related safety.  There has been no statistical change in the number of notifiable electrical accidents causing death over the past 20 years but there has been a slight decrease in the number of injuries.

Over this period, there has been a number of policy changes relating to electrical safety; the Electrical Workers Registration Board was formed in 1992,  a raft of prescriptive standards have been introduced, electrical regulations have been updated, and in 2015 the practising licences for electrical workers are now required to have photo identification.

We realise that statistics are of no use to those who have been injured or are grieving over the death of a loved one, but they are essential for the formulation of sound policy.

[Edited – 11 August 2015]

About admin

This is the Ecotech Services administration account. The information and opinions expressed here are those of Ecotech Services Limited.

2 Responses to Health and Safety Reform Bill

  1. admin says:

    This blog post is not suggesting that new health and safety measures should not be taken at all, but it is to point out that there is a need to ensure that changes to health and safety policy produce verifiable results.

  2. I wrote about the possible effectiveness about it here http://www.ecotechservices.co.nz/unsafe-safety-laws/

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