New Zealand Labour Party

Charanpreet Dhaliwal death demands genuine health and safety reform

The killing of a security guard on his first night on the job is exactly the kind of incident that National’s watered-down health and safety bill won’t prevent, says Te Atatu MP Phil Twyford.

The coronial inquest into 22-year-old Charanpreet Dhaliwal’s death ends today.

“Charanpreet died on a construction site in my West Auckland electorate. His tragic death shocked the community, and left his family in India bereft. His killers were never convicted, and the fly-by-night security firm that sent him into a dangerous workplace without training or equipment were never held to account.

“National’s diluted Health and Safety Reform Bill, reported back to the House today, carves out businesses with fewer than 20 employees from the requirement to have an elected health and safety representative. This provision would have exempted the security company that sent Charanpreet to his death.

“The right to elect a health and safety rep is not some kind of nice-to-have. They have the legal right to investigate safety issues, raise issues with the boss, enter and inspect a workplace, and call in an inspector.

“Charanpreet Dhaliwal and his family were terribly let down by both the health and safety, and criminal justice systems. His death is an indictment of the country’s unregulated and unsafe workplaces.  

“If the Government genuinely wants to reduce the shocking number of preventable deaths of New Zealanders at work they must rethink their plan to water down this legislation.”