30 April 2013
Coalition welcomes report but concerned about financial incentives
The ACC Futures Coalition is welcoming the report of the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety but is expressing concern about the recommendations on the use of financial incentives to improve employer performance.
“The Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety has made many recommendations that should lead to safer workplaces,” said ACC Futures Coalition spokesperson Hazel Armstrong. “We are particularly pleased to see that they recommend that ACC partners with the new health and safety agency to oversee funding arrangements for the delivery of workplace injury prevention activities. ACC has reduced its spending on injury prevention over recent years and has failed in this important area of its work. We look forward to better co-ordination and more effective programmes, and hopefully more funding.”
“The only area of concern we have with the report at this stage is the emphasis the Taskforce places on financial incentives as a means of changing employer behaviour,” said Ms. Armstrong. “The report acknowledges that the motivations for businesses to improve workplace health and safety performance are varied. They also acknowledge that the use of ‘lag’ indicators that measure health and safety behaviour can lead to the underreporting of accidents. However their recommendation that we should have a levy regime (including ACC) that differentiates more meaningfully between employers based on their health and safety performance raises the possibility that the flawed experience rating regime put in place by the government will be extended.”
“There is a risk that the current government will go for a recommendation like this, which is superficially attractive, but won’t tackle the other recommendations that will really make a difference, such as improving worker participation,” said Ms. Armstrong.