The construction industry must take heed of an unexpected spike in serious injuries, Site Safe chief executive Brett Murray says.
Figures released by Statistics NZ recently revealed there were 72 serious work-related injuries in construction last year, up from just 45 in 2016.
Mr Murray says while the figures were raw numbers, rather than a rate, any rise was a cause for concern.
“Any serious injury at work means a massive impact on the worker, their family and their employer.”
The spike bucks the general trend of recent years, Mr Murray says.
“Fatalities and serious injury rates in construction have been falling since 2013, and we hope that these statistics are not signalling a reversal of that overall trend.
“Site Safe is committed to working with industry to make sure that the good progress we’ve been making is not lost.
“These are tough times for the industry, but this is exactly when we can’t afford to take our eye off the ball.
“As we’ve seen lately, some of our biggest builders are facing significant challenges, and those pressures are reflected throughout the supply chain.
“There has also been a big boom in the residential sector, which is not going to change any time soon. These issues, combined with more new workers entering the industry, could well be reducing the focus on health and safety.
“Site Safe is committed to supporting the industry and government to ensure performance improves — we can’t afford to be complacent about the safety of our people.
“Health and safety is not something that can simply be ‘sorted out’ once and then forgotten about. It’s a constant effort to improve processes and find better, safer ways of working.”
Mr Murray encourages any construction businesses with health and safety concerns to get in touch with Site Safe.
“We offer a free ‘ask an advisor’ service, and are happy to answer health and safety-related questions and provide guidance on tricky situations.”