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The Social and Economic Consequences of Workplace Injury and Illness

The Social and Economic Consequences of Workplace Injury and Illness

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Published by Andre Mars
What this study demonstrates so clearly is that we are all, one way or other, directly or indirectly,
responsible for the prevention of harm at work or for the care of those harmed. This is a community
issue and requires all those involved in workplace health and safety (workers, employers, their families
and government) to approach each other with a community of interest in better prevention and care.
What this study demonstrates so clearly is that we are all, one way or other, directly or indirectly,
responsible for the prevention of harm at work or for the care of those harmed. This is a community
issue and requires all those involved in workplace health and safety (workers, employers, their families
and government) to approach each other with a community of interest in better prevention and care.

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Published by: Andre Mars on Jul 16, 2009
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02/05/2013

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Aftermath
The Social and Economic Consequences ofWorkplace Injury and Illness
Mary Adams, Jo Burton, Frances Butcher, Sue Graham, Andrew McLeod, Rashmi Rajan,Richard Whatman (Department of Labour); Margaret Bridge (ACC); Roberta Hill, Roopali Johri(Centre for Research on Work, Education and Business)
 
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Acknowledgements
The research team would first and foremost like to express their deepest appreciation and gratitude tothe participants for sharing their stories and experiences. Without the generosity and honesty of thefifteen participants of the study as well as their families, friends, employers, and others who wereinvolved, the study could not have taken place.We also take the opportunity to thank the members of our Expert Group who contributed theirexperience, time, and advice at the various stages of the research. Their inputs have helped make thisreport the result of a robust and rigorous research process and therefore, a better product.OSH field staff from the various Regional Offices provided their experience, information, and time,and their involvement at the different stages of the research was a source of support and assistancefor the team. We would like to acknowledge our appreciation of their co-operation and involvement.Two members of WEB Research were a part of the research team and we would like to thank themfor their inputs which manifested in a range of different activities from helping conduct theinterviews to participating in the analysis (and thereby adding rigour to it), to providing review for thevarious drafts of the report.The team expresses a further note of thanks to the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) fortheir administrative assistance and the additional financial input for the printing of this report.Last but not least, the team would like to take this opportunity to thank both OSH and LMPG staff,and, in particular, Graeme Cahalane and Julian Silver for their continual support, encouragement andguidance through the process of the research and the writing of the report.
Disclaimer
This study summarises qualitative research conducted during 2001, and reflects the views andperceptions of individuals affected by the consequences of workplace injury occurring between 1992and 2001.Researchers have taken all care to accurately reflect the views of individuals while maintaining theirprivacy. Wherever possible within the limitations of the research, where those views were aboutfactual circumstances, data that bears on those views has been gathered to establish their accuracy.In publishing the views and recollections of participants, the Department of Labour reminds readersthat the views and recollections expressed by participants are not necessarily those of the Departmentor of other organisations, institutions or individuals discussed by participants.Published jointly by the Department of Labour and the Accident Compensation Corporation.WellingtonNew Zealandwww.dol.govt.nzNovember 2002ISBN 0-477-03669-4
 
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FOREWORD
As a country New Zealand has long ago (or so it seems now) rejected the idea that accidents on theroad are always just accidents. There is now no societal tolerance for drunk driving or speeding. Ourexpectations of a safety culture on the roads, the safety of vehicles and of roads themselves areimproving and as a result the number of fatalities is falling.The same cannot be said yet for accidents in the workplace. Accompanying the passage of the Healthand Safety in Employment Amendment Bill through Parliament over the past year has been a lot ofpolitical posturing and noise about who is to blame and who is responsible for workplace accidentsand invariably it is not the group posing the question.What this study demonstrates so clearly is that we are all, one way or other, directly or indirectly,responsible for the prevention of harm at work or for the care of those harmed. This is a communityissue and requires all those involved in workplace health and safety (workers, employers, their familiesand government) to approach each other with a community of interest in better prevention and care.The stories in this study tell us about the sometimes-horrific human impact of minor slip-ups. Theyare at times harrowing, with expressions of grief and loss that cannot but move the reader. They arealso at times full of hope, courage and determination, as those harmed, their families and workplacesexpress how they struggled to overcome the severe consequences that the injury or illness wreaked ontheir lives. At a distance from those directly involved, I would like to thank those who participated inthis study for the honesty and courage they showed in telling their stories.But as a whole this study does more than express individual experience. There are fifteen individualstories from widely different industries, with very different injuries or illnesses; they express, however,a collective burden. The weight of the suffering and loss can be seen for what it is to the communityas a whole – a drag on growth, a brake on success and happiness. Multiply the stories literallyhundreds and thousands of times and you can begin to understand the level of waste, suffering andloss that unnecessary occupational illness and injury produces.We owe it to each other to act to change the culture and work practices in workplaces and thecommunity so that the number of like stories that can be told in the future diminishes.Hon Margaret WilsonMinister of Labour

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