Next Steps To Improve Safety In Wake Of Whakaari White Island Tragedy

Published: Fri 24 Sep 2021 08:36 AM
Hon Michael WoodMinister for Workplace Relations and Safety
The Government is moving to improve safety in light of the Whakaari White Island tragedy and has released proposals to reinforce safety standards in registered adventure activities.
The package of proposals includes:Strengthening requirements for how operators, landowners and the regulator manage natural hazard risksImproving how risks are monitored, assessed and communicatedSupporting WorkSafe’s strengthened regulatory leadership roleImproving the safety audit standard, audit process and guidance and information for the sector.
“The Whakaari White Island eruption was a devastating tragedy that meant 22 people sadly lost their lives. We are committed to learning the lessons to reduce the risk of a similar incident happening,” Michael Wood said.
“A review of the adventure activities regime showed that the regime is performing reasonably well, but identified areas which could be strengthened. We are proposing a number of changes to strengthen it and raise safety standards.
“Adventure activities are a key part of our tourism sector. Prior to COVID-19, as many as one in three international tourists took part in at least one adventure activity. It’s important we provide a safe as possible experiences for New Zealanders and international visitors once our borders reopen.
“We intend to work in partnership with the sector to achieve change and I encourage tourism stakeholders, business owners and operators to look through the proposals and submit on them,” Michael Wood said.
The consultation into the adventure activities regime opens today and will close at 5pm, Friday 5 November 2021.
Notes for editorsWorkSafe is currently prosecuting 13 parties for failing to meet health and safety laws associated with activities on Whakaari White Island. These prosecutions are independent from the adventure activities regulatory regime changes.At the Minister’s request, MBIE commissioned a separate independent review into WorkSafe to determine if it carried out its regulatory obligations in respect to Whakaari White Island. MBIE is currently preparing advice to Government on the review.The Police are conducting an investigation into the Whakaari White Island event on behalf of the Coroner. The Coronial inquest will take place once WorkSafe’s prosecutions are complete.

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