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Source: Worksafe New Zealand

A WorkSafe programme designed for Pacific workers and rooted in Pacific culture will celebrate its fifteenth year in 2021.

The Puataunofo ‘Come Home Safely’ programme is a workplace health and safety education initiative focused on delivering health and safety messages to Pacific workers.

The programme was established in 2006 to improve the health and safety of Pacific manufacturing workers in Manukau, as most severe harm to these workers happens in the South Auckland area.

According to ACC data from 2015 to 2018 claims by Pacific workers for serious injuries grew from 13,744 to 15,418.

In 2019 the programme was relaunched with extra resourcing from WorkSafe. The organisation’s National Advisor for the programme Hans Key said this has seen Puataunofo grow from strength to strength.

Mr Key said in 2020, despite COVID-19 restrictions, the Puataunofo team were able to deliver 75 workshops across Auckland and in other centres across the country.

Pacific people comprise 6.1 per cent of New Zealand’s working population, with more than 65 per cent working in the Auckland area.

Mr Key said he believed the project’s longevity came down to the fact it is rooted in Pacific culture.

“Puataunofo is delivered by Pacific people, for Pacific people. Every workshop is tailored specifically to the business, is delivered using Pacific languages and it reflects Pacific values of family and collective wellbeing, allowing us to connect with our audience,” said Mr Key.

“Feedback we have received from businesses and those involved in the project has been positive.

“What we have heard is that participants not only engage with the health and safety messages delivered in the workshops, but also understand those messages are not only important for them, but for their families and wider communities too.

“We look forward to continuing to make a positive change and encouraging workers and businesses to rethink their health and safety responsibilities in 2021.”

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MIL OSI