A workplace health and safety review is being rushed and must
be better advertised to attract widespread submissions from
those affected, a Dunedin cable jointer and lineman says.
Graeme Jeffery was concerned too few workers knew about the
review being conducted by a Government-appointed independent
An extended submission period for the review closed last
month, but Mr Jeffery hopes his and other late submissions
will be considered.
The Delta employee only became aware of the review in late
October and said most at his workplace were left in the dark.
They missed the opportunity to attend a public meeting about
the review, held in Dunedin on October 23, because they knew
nothing of it.
Mr Jeffery said a newsletter distributed at his work two
weeks later mentioned the task force but said nothing about
It took him some time to make a carefully considered
submission, encompassing two decades of government inaction
with regard to workplace health and safety, he said.
Relevant regulations have not been reviewed for more than 20
Mr Jeffery said his industry was dangerous, evident in the
recent deaths of linemen, and it was paramount the concerns
of workers were taken into account.
For that to happen, the task force needed to better advertise
its review and allow for submissions to be made over a longer
period, he said.
After 20 years, it was important to ensure the review was
done properly, Mr Jeffery said.
"It's being rushed. I think they need to start again," he
Mr Jeffery consulted Labour's Dunedin North MP, David Clark,
about the review and also spoke to electricity industry
leaders throughout the country at a recent convention in
He said even senior managers in charge of hundreds of
employees knew nothing about it.
"I think that's shocking. Out of more than 100 industry
leaders I found two people who knew about the task force," Mr
At the Dunedin meeting in October, task force chairman Rob
Jager emphasised the importance of workers being involved in
the review, for any changes to be relevant.
He said feedback from public meetings would be considered as
well as written submissions, before the task force made
recommendations to the Government at the end of April next
Mr Jager told the Otago Daily Times late submissions
would be welcomed by the task force.
He said a "huge effort" had been made to ensure people
throughout the country were involved and it was unfortunate
information about the review had not reached everyone.
But Mr Jager said it was not too late for submissions. More
than 400 had been received to date.
"No-one should feel that they can't contribute. If they feel
they have something really important to get off their chest,
then please by all means let us know. We won't reject any
input," he said.
Task force members had heard from about 500 people during
public meetings and held discussions with Maori leaders and
They were also considering reports from the Royal Commission
on the Pike River Coal Mine Tragedy.
Mr Jager said submissions would be published on the task
force website unless otherwise requested by authors.