National must protect quarry workers

Workers in quarries need the same protections as those that work in the mining industry, the Green Party said today.

A digger operator buried in a quarry landslide is feared dead after being buried in 1000 tonnes of rubble. Mining safety laws were strengthened following the Pike River mine tragedy but the Government excluded quarries.

Workers in quarries need the same protections as those that work in the mining industry, the Green Party said today.

A digger operator buried in a quarry landslide is feared dead after being buried in 1000 tonnes of rubble. Mining safety laws were strengthened following the Pike River mine tragedy but the Government excluded quarries.

“Workers’ in the quarrying industry are involved in dangerous hard work and deserve the same protections as workers in the mining industry,” Green Party industrial relations spokesperson Denise Roche said today.

“Figures from 2009 show only around 1000 workers are involved in the quarrying industry.

“Prior to yesterday’s accident there have been four deaths in the quarrying industry since 2010, including two deaths this year prior to yesterday’s accident.

“Quarrying is very dangerous work.

“Workers’ safety should be put ahead of other concerns.

“It is also vital that smaller operators are not excluded from health and safety legislation.

“Working for smaller firms does not necessarily make workers any safer.  In fact smaller firms can have much worse health and safety records than bigger firms.

“National’s reported back-down on health and safety legislation implies that the Government is putting the interests of employers ahead of workers’ safety.

“National’s previous moves have sadly gutted health and safety laws after lobbying from employers within the industry.

“Tighter rules and regulations will protect workers’ in dangerous industries such as quarrying. 

“It is highly concerning that some MPs within National such as Judith Collins are actively lobbying to weaken health and safety legislation and put workers’ health and lives at risk.

“Protecting workers lives should be more important to any responsible Government than petty backroom politicking,” Ms Roche said.

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