A pan-industry approach to make New Zealand building sites among the safest in the world has been agreed by the Construction Industry Council. A Health and Safety Strategy prepared by the CIC envisages a zero fatality record in the construction workplace within five years and an annual 10% reduction in injuries annually through to 2010.
The strategy will be launched in June by Minister of Labour Ruth Dyson. “We are committed to achieving an industry-wide safety culture,” CIC chairman John Pfahlert says. “In recent years the industry has had a high number of fatalities and a high injury rate.
Contributing factors identified by the CIC may include a large number of unskilled and unqualified workers entering the industry, and a decline in skills and competency across all sectors,” Mr Pfahlert says. “Consequently, our members have determined that a health and safety strategy specifically for construction industry participants is needed for individuals and companies to direct attention on areas which will contribute to continuing reductions in workplace deaths and injuries.”
Mr Pfahlert says a significant step forward is inclusion by the CIC of health and safety issues in its guidelines for best practices in procurement. “We want developers to take into account health and safety records of contract bidders when selecting construction and building services.
They can send out a strong message that quality health and safety practices are a key element for business success within the industry.” Mr Pfahlert says the strategy was developed through co-operation between industry members Site Safe, the Occupational Safety and Health Service, the Accident Compensation Corporation, the Council of Trade Unions and Statistics New Zealand.