Too many workers dying

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Four construction workers died at work last year, and more than 650 were seriously hurt on building sites across the country.
Provisional statistics released by the Department of Labour recently show there were 41 workplace fatalities in New Zealand last year, with construction one of the sectors where the most harm occurred.

“Just one death is one too many — and it is unacceptable that construction has such a high accident rate in New Zealand,” according to the Department’s southern general manager Jean Martin.
As well as a high number of fatalities, the Department also received 661 serious harm notifications from the construction sector in 2011, which is the third highest.

“We already know the construction sector is an area where a lot of harm is occurring which is why we released our Construction Sector Action Plan last year,” Ms Martin says.
“The plan sets out specific actions to reduce the work toll on construction sites, and was developed in collaboration with industry stakeholders.
“Falls from height is an area of particular concern in the industry, and we have just begun a three-year safety campaign to reduce the number of these accidents.

“Later in the year our inspectors will be visiting construction sites across the country to talk to employers about their health and safety obligations, and what they should be doing to keep their employees safe,” Ms Martin says.