Capitalism kills and maims daily

By   /   October 14, 2017  /   12 Comments

Burn of fast food worker

Kiwi workers are being killed at the rate of one a week and on average someone is seriously injured every day.

These grim statistics are contained in a report by the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety.

The numbers reveal that over 51 Kiwis a year are killed at work. In addition, 346 people were seriously injured so that they needed hospitalisation and had a “high threat to life”. These are people who have been severely hurt, had severed limbs, brain damage, and could well continue to suffer chronic pain.

So far this year 38 Kiwis have been killed. The number killed and injured has stayed at a steady high despite changes to the health and safety laws in 2013 and 2015.

Nor do these figures include deaths or serious illnesses from occupational diseases, which are estimated to kill between 500 and 800 people each year.

Council of Trade Unions president Richard Wagstaff says that “In New Zealand we still have a 75 percent higher fatality rate than the UK. We need better leadership on prioritising keepimg Kiwis safe at work.”

The taskforce has proposed a target of only a 25% reduction in deaths and injuries. “Why are we not more ambitious?” asked Richard Wagstaff, “why are we not aiming higher?”

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About the author

Mike Treen

National Director of Unite Union


  1. reason says:

    A money mans morals will always place more value on money than a workers safety …….

  2. Marc says:

    The problem is, most people are mercenaries and willing servants, conditioned from a young age on, to be just that, and to jump at every opportunity to earn money, that is also, or even though, they may be forced to make a living.

    People do things for opportunity and money, they then get harmed, in paid employment, and otherwise.

    I ask, how many out there, will be taking the risk to be injured, locked up, otherwise harmed, standing up for theirs and others’ rights?

    Most choose to rather be employment and business opportunists, and hence we have what we have, we have few if any, who sacrifice fighting for justice, for collective well being and for progress.

    That is a major problem, and hence the low numbers of union membership. My sympathy for mercenaries and slaves and servants is limited, given their decisions.

  3. countryboy says:

    Of course people are going to get hurt at work. And at play, whatever that quaint concept was? People are going to hurt themselves stuffing teddy bears. Give them a pillow? There goes an eye.
    The reason for that lies in the dreaded fluro vest. Morons think they’re safe because, wearing one! But oh no Moron. Fluro vests are only going to help ambulance staff find your body parts and only those body parts attached to shreds of fluro vest. They’re probably not permitted to search for non fluro vested body parts anyway.

    Driver ” There’s a whole leg over there, look! ”

    Resuscitator” No, can’t be. Isn’t in a fluro vest so yeah/nah. Can’t touch it. No permit to touch non fluro vested leg parts?”

    The dawn of culpability foisted upon the moron by the Insurance Mafia was the dawn of regressing back to the Ape but without the ability to cling to a tree to, say, root the missus or fling ones faeces at the neighbour without falling down to the very hard thing called ‘ earth’.

    See, back in my day, we had this thing called ‘ common sense’. Get under the car without a jack? Not common sense and no, wearing a fluro vest will not protect you from gravity and two tons of car.
    Using loud noise making things without ear muffs will mean you will never hear your bro screaming his last under the above car. Not wearing eye protection when using whizzy, grindie, weldie things will give you a cool black patch with which you will be able to say “Ah Haaarrrr me hearties” with qualification.
    Absence of what ?
    Common sense?
    A world with only private insurer mafioso and your little fluro vest? You’re fucked. Deaf, one eyed, legless and fucked. But Ooo? ACC? Bahahah aha hahahhahahahahahahahahahahahaha …..can’t breath, can’t breath…. Bahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahahahahahha aa hahahahahahahaha…….. Bahahahahhhahahahahahahahahahaha…
    Not common sense.
    We should all tax-pitch in to help each other out in the event of a fuck up. That’s called being an empathetic human.
    You’re going to get fucked up now and then but why should that mean ‘Ka Ching!’ for some wanker in a suit driving an Audi to a glass box who spends all day hoping like fuck that bits of you get minced in a whirry machine? ( ‘cause justifiable increase in premiums Moron. )
    Not common sense.
    On a personal note:
    I fucking hate fluro things. The demeaning, look at me, I’m an idiot? message they send out is just horrible.

    • David Stone says:

      I fed posts into a morbark peeler for 4 years , and one day I thought maybe I should ware gloves. After an hour or so my hands felt really safe. I left one on the bench for a nano sec and an avalanche of posts of the indeed deck landed on i and rolled two fingernails out at the base. I never put gloves on again.
      No one can prevent you from harm in many of the activities that go on in New Zealand if you don’t look out for yourself. If new workers are indoctrinated with the notion that it’s the absent contractor that is keeping you safe at all times the accident rate is going nowhere but up.
      D J S

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      I was chemically poisoned on my job in Toronto as a kiwi expat in 1992 and still today live in the shadow of chemical ‘aviodance’ so much that i cannot enter any place without a chemical survey of the air quality first now other wise I may be severely injured.

      I have severe Chemical sensitivities. Called MSM (multiple Chemical Sensitivities) or EI (Environmental Illness) EI is not a term I prefer as it is not specific as MCS is.

      I am now referred to as “a miners canary” where i am so ‘reative’ to any chemical that I can tell when it is unsafe to enter any workplace or other location.

      Most medical communities around the world are totally ablivious to chemical poisoning and the affects to humans so we fall through the cracks and are often called ‘nut-cases’ or ‘it’s alll in our head’ but my adverse effects to chemicals is well documented in OSHA/NIOSH data bases as a lot of chemicals are ‘sensitisers’ so why are we not caring about workers around these chemicals now????????

      It is likely that chemical companies don’t want lawsuits levelled at them?

  4. Sally's Husband says:

    When we have a “flexible labour market” instead of people working in jobs, the de-humanisation of workers into “labour units” becomes possible. When one “labour unit” is “lost”, another is inserted in it’s place.

    This is the free market/neo-liberalism distilled to it’s essence.

    I hope Winston Peters is being truthful when he asserts his priority as rolling back the neo-liberal regime. Because lives are literally at stake here.

  5. RosieLee says:

    Yes Mike but what I’m not seeing here is a call for the restoration of the importance and authority of unions. Where were the unions in Pike river? How can a union organiser say to management that a workplace is not safe and workers are not going in there until it’s checked and fixed – without retribution?