The number of people harmed at work each year in New Zealand would fill Eden Park four times, a national discussion paper released last week..

It is roughly twice as dangerous to work in New Zealand as in Australia and almost four times as dangerous as working in Britain, and that is not counting people injured while driving in connection with work. The cost to the nation of the workplace carnage is $3.5 billion a year. The report is from the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety, which has been tasked with cutting the injury and death toll by 25 per cent by 2020 – the equivalent of one Eden Park’s worth of casualties.

Taskforce chairman Rob Jager, the chairman of Shell in New Zealand, says that is possible, but he won’t be clapping himself on the back for a job well done if a 25 per cent reduction is all that is achieved. “A 25 per cent reduction in 100 deaths is only 25. It still means we are killing 75 people in our workplaces and it still means we are worse than Australia and substantially worse than the UK,” Jager said. “Twenty-five per cent is a realistic target, but I am substantially more ambitious than that.”

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