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Occupational health experts to advise WorkSafe NZ

7 May 2014

A group of the country’s leading experts on occupational health have been assembled to advise WorkSafe New Zealand about how to help protect people from work-related illness and disease.

An estimated 600-900 New Zealanders die prematurely each year due to work-related illness and disease. That toll is over and above the number of workers killed in workplace accidents. Thousands more people suffer from non-fatal work related disease.

The Chair of WorkSafe NZ Board, Professor Gregor Coster, says the Occupational Health and Advisory Group will provide the Board of WorkSafe NZ with independent advice and expertise on what is a complex issue.

“Protecting people at work is not just about reducing the risk of accidents. It is also about ensuring that the long-term health effects of the workplace environment are well managed. 

“It is not always a simple matter to determine the precise cause of work-related ill-health. There is often a long time between exposure to a workplace hazard and the subsequent illness. But occupational health issues affect a huge number of New Zealanders, and we can’t just put it into the too-hard basket.

“Occupational health is an important focus for WorkSafe NZ. The more we can understand the causes of chronic work-related ill-health the better placed we will be to support businesses to take preventative measures.

“The Occupational Health Advisory Group will play an important role in helping WorkSafe NZ come to grips with the issue and help tackle ill-health in the workplace,” says Professor Coster.

The group will be chaired by George Adams, who also chairs the Independent Forestry Safety Review Panel, the Leadership Development Group of the Business Leaders’ Health and Safety Forum and is a former chair of the NZ Food and Grocery Council.

“George Adams has a long-standing commitment to health and safety, as well as vast experience in the business world. His perspective, and that of the rest of the advisory group, will be invaluable for WorkSafe NZ,” says Professor Coster.


Occupational Health Advisory Group membership

Chair – George Adams

George is the Chair of the Leadership Development Group of the Business Leaders’ Health and Safety Forum which is aimed at improving CEOs’ leadership of workplace health and safety in their organisations. He is Chairman of the Bell Tea and Coffee Company and has recently been appointed Chairman of the Independent Forestry Safety Review.

He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and his business leadership roles include 9 years as Managing Director of Coca-Cola Amatil NZ, 3 years as Finance Director of British Telecom Northern Ireland and 5 years as Group Finance Director of Molino Beverages Holdings (a Coca-Cola bottling franchise holder). He was also Chairman of the influential New Zealand Food and Grocery Council.


Glenys Barker

Glenys is a Registered Nurse with a Grad Dip in Occupational Safety & Health and have been working in this Specialist area for the past 16 years. Her experience has been ‘out in the field’ working with a diverse range of clients – Genesis Power, Defence Force, printing industry, food industry, etc, and with Waitemata DHB. For the past 10 years she has been the H & S Manager for Vero Insurance, a corporate with over 1400 staff. Vero is part of the Suncorp Australia group of companies with a combined workforce of over 16,000 employees. Her passion is the ‘normalisation of mental health issues’ within the work environment.


Suzanne Broadbent

Suzanne is a Certified Occupational Hygienist – specializing in identification, assessment and control of hazardous substances and other health risks. She has an MSc in Chemistry and Physics, with Post Grad qualifications in Occupational Hygiene and Toxicology. She has an active role within the New Zealand Occupational Hygiene Society (NZOHS, committee) and represents NZOHS in the Occupational Health and Safety Industry Group (OHSIG) with involvement in HASPA.

She has worked for the past 20 years with large business (e.g., Fisher and Paykel, BP, BOC, Tegel, Goodman Fielder), as well as small-medium size businesses to advise on occupational health/hygiene and hazardous substances.


Dr Kathleen Callaghan

Kathleen is an occupational physician as well as a specialist in human factors. In addition to her initial and specialist medical degrees she holds a MSc in psychology and a PhD in both medicine and psychology. Prior to joining Z-Energy, Dr. Callaghan was the Director of the Human Factors Group in the Auckland University School of Medicine. Human Factors is the science which aims to optimise the effectiveness, efficiency and safety with which work is carried out by people.

For a time (until its disestablishment) she also headed the Occupational Medicine Unit at the University. She regularly provides advice to employer, employee, Union and Government groups. Kathleen provided expert witness testimony to the Royal Commission into the Pike River Mine Tragedy.


Dr Dave McLean

Dave has worked in occupational health for over 30 years including roles in government (Dept. of Health and Ministry for the Environment), as the national H&S Officer in the Engineers Union, and as an Occupational Health Manager in private industry in the forestry and wood products sector. He is currently a Senior Research Officer at the Centre for Public Health Research, Massey University Wellington, and specialise in epidemiological research into occupational disease. He has a postgraduate diploma and an MSc in Occupational Hygiene, and a PhD in epidemiology, so has a strong interest in occupational exposure assessment and its application to epidemiological research. Current studies include investigations of respiratory disease in sawmill workers, potential biological causes of excess lung cancer observed in meat workers, and occupational and environmental risk factors for Motor Neurone Disease and brain cancer.


Dr Jim McLeod

Jim has 20 years’ experience in occupational health having worked as the medical adviser at Refining NZ (oil refinery) in Whangarei and a Department Of Labour medical practitioner. He has been working full time in occupational health for the last 15 years with extensive experience with local councils and many industries including electricity, construction, forestry and farming. He has also spent time in the gas and mining industries in Australia.

His work has also involved developing and implementing procedures and policies to assist businesses to reduce exposure to hazards or health risks within workplaces.


Andrea McMilla

Andrea is an occupational health nurse with 20 years’ experience as a nurse practitioner, H&S Manager and ACC Approved Auditor. She has a Master of Nursing, Master of Health Science (Occupational Health and Safety) and is a Registered General and Obstetric Nurse. She is currently Head of H&S Compliance at the University of Otago. She has worked in the manufacturing industry, the tertiary education sector and, for 5 years, as an occupational health nurse in the former Department of Labour, where she was also warranted as a H&S inspector.


Bill Newson

Bill Newson is the elected National Secretary of The EPMU, New Zealand’s largest private sector union. He is a boilermaker welder by trade and has 28 years of experience representing working people as a union official across multiple industry sectors. He is a board member of the Industry Training Organisation Competenz and a founder and trustee of ATNZ, New Zealand’s largest employer of trades’ apprentices. Bill has had personal experience of workplace injury.


Prof Bill Glass

Bill has been practising occupational medicine for 57 years with private industry (47 years), government (33 years), university (23 years), teaching doctors overseas (12 years), trade unions (8 years) and medico legal practice (30 years). He was a member of the international board of the International Commission on Occupational Health (ICOH) for the maximum two terms of 6 years.


Prof Ian Laird

Ian is Associate Professor at the Centre for Ergonomics, Occupational Safety and Health, School of Public Health, Massey University, Palmerston North. He has a BSc (Hons) and MSc in Occupational Hygiene from the University of London, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a PhD in Physiology. Ian leads the OHS programme at Massey University and was until recently the principal investigator for the Prevention of Noise Induced Hearing Loss in NZ research project funded by the ACC, Department of Labour and Health Research Council of NZ. He has served on many government working parties and committees’ including the provision of advice on OHS to the Ministers of Health, Labour and ACC and has considerable experience as a consultant to NZ industry, and have particular interests in health hazard exposure assessment, intervention effectiveness research and occupational health in small businesses. He is a Fulbright Fellow and Visiting Scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health.


Marama Parore

Ngāti Whātua, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāpuhi

Marama has a background in community nursing, teaching, training and management and has worked in the Health Sector for over 20 years in a range of Government and non-Government organisations. These organisations include the Public Health Commission, Plunket, the Central Regional Health Authority, the Health Funding Authority and most recently as a General Manager for PHARMAC the New Zealand Pharmaceutical Management Agency. Marama now runs a consultancy company M.I.H.I – Make it Happen International.


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