Today's launch of the Business Leaders' Health and Safety Forum marks a promising step forward in combating workplace deaths and injuries, says Minister of Labour Kate Wilkinson.
Prime Minister John Key launched the Forum in Auckland, where nearly 100 business leaders from across the economy and across the country gathered to sign up to the Forum's goal of achieving zero harm workplaces.
"This calendar year alone, there have been 22 workplace fatalities notified to the Department of Labour - that's 22 people who've not gone home to their families at the end of the work day and it is much too high a toll for New Zealand," Ms Wilkinson says.
"We suffer 6000 serious incidents each year, which hurt workers emotionally, financially and physically and cost the country billions of dollars in ACC payments and lost productivity.
"The success of the Forum - a coalition of business leaders and the heads of the Department of Labour and ACC - rests on the power of chief executives to achieve change in their workplaces.
"When they speak, their staff listen. When they make health and safety a business priority, change occurs, and that is good for this country.
"The recent review of the Workplace Health and Safety Strategy for New Zealand identified the need for greater leadership.
"I'm encouraged that so many business leaders have made a commitment to drive a strong health and safety culture through their workplaces. Their employees and their businesses will be better off for it."