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Improving Workplace Health and Safety through Incentives for Business

Co-hosted by the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions Te Kauae Kaimahi and the ACC Futures Coalition, this December 2013 workshop looked at the government’s proposal for a star rating system for businesses and existing incentives that operate through ACC such as experience rating and the Accredited Employers Programme. Representatives of the Business Leaders Health and Safety Forum were involved.

Here are some resources from the event:

• An international overview of incentive schemes (Emile Tompa – Institute for Work and Health, McMaster University, Toronto). Via Skype.

• Incentive schemes and occupational illness (Hazel Armstrong – Hazel Armstrong Law and Spokesperson ACC Futures Coalition)

• ACC’s Discount Schemes (Kathy Stirrat – ACC)

• Notes from workshop discussion



Here you will find all the resources from the ACC Futures Conference in 2012.

Keynote address: Sir Geoffrey Palmer

Sir Geoffrey Palmer was the keynote speaker. He summarised problems with the way the Woodhouse report had been implement and proposed that ACC be made a public service department with direct ministerial accountability.



Injury prevention: Felicity Lamm

Dr. Lamm outlined perennial issues standing in the way of effective injury prevention strategies, such as the lack of rigorous evidence and accurate data, and the emerging issues of the changing, increasingly precarious workforce. She proposed some ideas for a way forward.


Rehabilitation and Vocational Independence

ACC Futures spokesperson Hazel Armstrong outlined the history of rehabilitation and vocational independence under ACC and proposed changes to the current regime.



Organisational culture: Dr. Grant Duncan

Dr. Duncan suggests that the Woodhouse principles and the Code of Claimants’ rights are good starting points from which ACC can improve organisational culture. He quotes extensively from Judge Trapski’s review of ACC in the 1990s (noting that much that he said is applicable now) and proposes some amendments to the Accident Compensation Act that could make a difference.


Workshop 1: Full funding, experience rating and injury prevention

Associate Professor Susan St. John questioned the commitment to full funding, and raised the question of experience rating. Dr. Felicity Lamm explored experience rating in more depth.


Workshop 2: Choice - The AEP and work account privatisation

Glenn Barclay identified the problems with the privatisation agenda in the work account while Fritz Drissner explored the issues with the Accredited Employers or Partnership Programme, while questioning whether it should be opened up to smaller employers.


Workshop 3: Reviews and complaints

Phil Schmidt offers some advice on the management of reviews and complaints and discussion covered ways in which the process can be improved.


Workshop 4: Occupational Disease

Ben Thompson and Hazel Armstrong note that NZ has a high rate of occupational disease and that our no-fault compensation scheme covers OD. However there is a significant disparity between the incidence of occupational disease and the number of claims lodged with ACC. Given it’s primary function of injury prevention, there is a duty on ACC to play a lead role in educating GPs and gathering accurate workplace exposure data.


Workshop 5: Noise Induced Hearing Loss

Mike Sharp from Phonak NZ Ltd tracked trends in ACC data on occupational noise induced hearing loss (ONIHL). Following the introduction of regulations that made clear that ACC is only liable for proportion of loss attributable to ONIHL, the uptake of hearing loss services has reduced significantly more than ACC predicted. It appears the introduction of regulations has seen an 75% reduction in funding from ACC for ONIHL.

Peter Thorne looked at what we know about the incidence and prevalence of “Noise-induced Hearing Loss” in NZ and what factors influence hearing loss from noise.


Workshop 6: Rehabilitation, Vocational Independence and Independent Assessors

Dr Denise Powell and Dr Sarah Derrett reported on their respective pieces of research. Acclaim (Otago) had conducted an on-line survey of long-term claimants while the research conducted by the Injury Prevention Research Unit, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, focused on the outcomes of injury. Both challenged current ACC practice.

The full programme is here.

Bios of the conference presenters can be found here.

For some very useful background reading, go here for the proceedings of a seminar hosted last year by ACC Futures Coalition, University of Auckland’s retirement Policy and Research Centre, the ACC Group and AUT’s Centre for Occupational Health and Safety Research.

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