Pacific Workers’ Injury Rate High

Press Release – Department Of Labour

MEDIA ReleaSE 23 March 2012 Pacific Workers’ Injury Rate High in the Manufacturing Sector: New Research New research released by the Department of Labour highlights the need to improve health and safety training for Pacific workers in the manufacturing … MEDIA ReleaSE 23 March 2012 Pacific Workers’ Injury Rate High in the Manufacturing Sector: New Research

New research released by the Department of Labour highlights the need to improve health and safety training for Pacific workers in the manufacturing sector, as well as addressing literacy and language barriers.

“Manufacturing is a key area of focus for our work with Pacific Peoples as it accounts for one fifth of the Pacific workforce nationally,” says Vasantha Krishnan, General Manager of the Department’s Labour and Immigration Research Centre.

“These workers are disproportionately represented in injury statistics, accounting for over one-third of the manufacturing sector’s injury claims made to ACC in the 2009-2010 year,” Ms Krishnan says.

”This isn’t just because Pacific workers tend to work in higher-risk occupations. For example, the injury claim rates of Pacific labourers are twice that of other workers, suggesting injuries are not specific to high risk occupations”.

The research also found that recognising that Pacific people learn and retain information differently could positively influence health and safety training.

“This research highlights the need to improve workplace communication and training in the manufacturing sector. Its findings will feed into the health and safety training projects that are going on to address these issues,” says Ms Krishnan.

One of these projects, the multi-agency Puataunofo Manukau Project, was set up to address workplace issues affecting Pacific manufacturing workers, and has been vital in achieving better outcomes for Pacific workers.

The project group, which has been involved in the research, has also developed the ‘Come Home Safely’ programme aimed at improving health and safety outcomes for Pacific people in the workplace.

Puataunofo, in conjunction with sector stakeholders in the Auckland region over the next two years, aims to raise awareness of health and safety rights, responsibilities and obligations, and improve workplace safety practices for Pacific workers.

The findings of the report, entitled In Harm’s Way: A case study of Pacific workers in Manukau manufacturing, have also informed the Manufacturing Sector Action Plan to 2013. The plan, launched earlier this month by Minister of Labour Kate Wilkinson, sets out how the government and sector will work together over the next two years to reduce the work toll across New Zealand’s manufacturing sector.

ENDS

NOTES:

More information on the Puataunofo Manukau Project is available on our website.

The full report is available online.

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