The government has announced a $22 million investment by ACC into workplace injury prevention grants and subsidies to make it easier for Kiwi businesses to keep their workplaces healthy and safe.
A media release from the office of Minister for ACC Iain Lees-Galloway on Thursday, January 10 made the announcement.
“ACC will invest $22 million over five years into an incentive programme to help businesses reduce workplace injury,” Mr Lees-Galloway said.
Explaining the intent behind this initiative the media release further said, “The subsidies are designed to support small and medium-sized businesses to invest in training, equipment or advisory services that will have a direct impact on the health and safety of workplaces.
"This is particularly important for smaller businesses which haven't previously been able to access this type of support because the barriers have been too high.
The Minister clarified that this investment is different and separate from a similar initiative announced late last year.
“ In Late 2018 I announced the Health and Safety at Work Strategy to drive sustainable and system-wide improvements in workplace health and safety, and Worksafe currently invest around $15 million in similar workplace incentives,” Mr Lees-Galloway said.
ACC supports the Government’s strategy through its injury prevention investments, injury management and rehabilitation services and levy products.
“While New Zealand workplaces have made progress since Pike River, it’s clear we have some way to go to achieve real, sustainable change. The ACC grants and subsidies will be important tools for achieving our aim to be among world leaders for workplace health and safety,” Mr Lees-Galloway said.
In 2017 ACC claims for work-related injuries totalled 231,651. Five sectors currently represent over half (52%) of all severe workplace injuries, namely agriculture, construction, forestry, manufacturing, healthcare and social assistance.
Compared to international standards, New Zealand has a higher rate of injuries and fatalities in the workplace.
ACC has previously provided injury prevention grants to organisations on a one-off basis.
This investment is in addition to the $15 million per annum investment in WorkSafe NZ to support their injury prevention programmes.
For grants, the first funding round will open in February 2019 with a subsequent round likely to be in September 2019.
For subsidies, three rounds of offerings (sector-specific) are planned in 2019. The first round will start in February with other subsidy offerings likely to be in June and September 2019.