Christchurch rebuild statistics recently published by the Press and Stuff give pause for thought. According to the article, prohibition notices shutting down unsafe construction sites have risen 1700 per cent, from 13 in 2010 to 224 in 2013. In the same period, injuries have more than doubled, from 64 to 139, and written warnings on workplace safety rose 500 per cent, from 31 to 163.
Part of this will presumably be a function of the significant increase in construction work and workers in Christchurch (the article reports a 60 per cent between 2010 and 2013). However, a variety of other potential contributing factors are also identified, ranging from language and cultural differences of migrant workers through to the hazardous nature of the rebuild work.
No doubt construction companies operating in Christchurch are working hard to meet the challenges in maintaining health and safety that the rebuild presents. However, statistics like these will be of concern nevertheless, especially given the impending changes to health and safety law in New Zealand, including greater scope of duties and sanctions on persons conducting a business or undertaking.
Construction companies working in Christchurch could well be among the first businesses to have to deal with the sharp end of the new health and safety legislation.
[this post was written by Jared Holt]