20 Aug 2015

Government's farming safety move 'a disgrace'

9:32 am on 20 August 2015

The Labour Party says the Government's move to exclude the majority of farming businesses from requiring a health and safety representative is a disgrace.

The Workplace Health and Safety Bill is making its way through Parliament.

Caucus run 21/07/15

Workplace Relations Minister Michael Woodhouse Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Workplace Relations Minister Michael Woodhouse yesterday released a draft list of industries, deemed high-risk, which would require health and safety representatives at workplaces.

Mr Woodhouse said most farming businesses would not be included.

"I acknowledge that dairy, sheep and beef farming have a large number of accidents, but they are also sectors with a huge number of workers, and when measured against the other industries, constituted a lower risk profile."

Labour Sue Moroney said excluding agriculture was a travesty, because one-third of workplace deaths in the past five years were in the that sector.

The Green Party said the bill arose partly because of the Pike River Royal Commission, but it was not confident the legislation could prevent another accident like Pike River.

The bill is being debated clause by clause, after which it will have to go through a third and final reading.

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