The growing list of incidents causing injury and death at quarries demonstrates the urgent need to strengthen the health and safety law, Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Relations Iain Lees-Galloway says.
“The Select Committee considering the Health and Safety Reform Bill should use the extra time it has been given because of dithering by National MPs to make sure quarry workers and others working in isolated high-risk industries are as safe as possible.
“The industry health and safety representative model must be applied to quarries and tunnelling operations as well as mines.
“John Key is right when he says there is a large number of quarries and that many of them are small operations. They are also high-risk and these three factors combined make having industry health and safety representatives essential.
“Other high-risk industries in which small groups of workers operate in isolated workplaces include forestry and agriculture.
“Industry health and safety representatives go from workplace to workplace checking on systems and providing advice on best practice. They draw on their considerable industry experience as well as their knowledge of multiple worksites to identify risk and support good initiatives.
“The Government gave in to intense lobbying by the quarry industry to exempt them from regulation. This has had tragic consequences and must be immediately rectified,” Iain Lees-Galloway says.