Following the recent release of the WSNZ strategy, there is a glaring omission that needs urgent attention: the lack of clearly defined and measurable outcomes.

The Importance of Measurable Outcomes

Measurable outcomes are crucial in any OHS system as they provide a tangible way to assess the effectiveness of policies and initiatives. Without these benchmarks, it is challenging to determine whether the strategies in place are genuinely making workplaces safer or if there are areas that require improvement. Measurable outcomes offer several key benefits:

  1. Accountability: Clear metrics hold businesses and regulators accountable for their actions. They ensure that everyone involved in the system is working towards the same goals and can be held responsible for their performance.
  2. Transparency: Measurable outcomes provide transparency, allowing stakeholders, including workers, businesses, and the public, to see the impact of health and safety initiatives. This transparency builds trust and confidence in the regulatory system.
  3. Continuous Improvement: By tracking progress against specific targets, it is possible to identify what works and what doesn’t. This feedback loop is essential for continuous improvement and for making informed adjustments to policies and practices.

The Current Gap in New Zealand’s System

Despite the comprehensive nature of New Zealand’s health and safety regulatory framework, the absence of specific, measurable and transparent outcomes undermines its overall effectiveness. The system outlines responsibilities, provides support, and enforces compliance, but without clear metrics, it is difficult to gauge its success. This gap presents several challenges:

  1. Inability to Measure Success: Without measurable outcomes, it is impossible to determine whether the system is achieving its intended goals. Are workplace injuries and fatalities decreasing? Are businesses complying with safety regulations? These questions remain unanswered without concrete data.
  2. Lack of Focus: Measurable outcomes help prioritise efforts and resources. In their absence, it is challenging to know where to focus efforts for maximum impact. This lack of focus can lead to inefficiencies and missed opportunities for improvement.
  3. Challenges in Policy Development: Policymakers need reliable data to develop effective regulations and initiatives. Measurable outcomes provide the evidence base required to create targeted and effective health and safety policies.

Moving Forward: Integrating Measurable Outcomes

To address this critical gap, New Zealand’s health and safety regulatory system must integrate measurable outcomes into its framework. Here are some steps to achieve this:

  1. Define Clear Metrics: Establish specific, quantifiable metrics for key aspects of workplace health and safety, such as the number of workplace injuries, illnesses, and fatalities, compliance rates, and the effectiveness of enforcement actions.
  2. Regular Reporting: Implement regular reporting mechanisms to track progress against these metrics. These reports should be publicly available to ensure transparency and accountability.
  3. Data-Driven Decision Making: Use the data collected to inform policy decisions and adjustments. This approach ensures that health and safety initiatives are based on evidence and are continuously refined for better outcomes.
  4. Stakeholder Engagement: Engage with businesses, workers, and other stakeholders to gather insights and feedback on the metrics and reporting processes. This engagement ensures that the outcomes are relevant and that there is buy-in from all parties involved.


I am assuming that there will be a number of follow up media releases for this

However over the next 3 posts I am going to try and place an objective view of the missing piece.

While New Zealand’s health and safety regulatory system has many strengths, the lack of measurable outcomes is a significant oversight that needs to be addressed. By integrating clear, quantifiable metrics into the framework, the system can enhance its accountability, transparency, and effectiveness. Measurable outcomes will provide the necessary data to assess success, prioritize efforts, and drive continuous improvement, ultimately leading to safer workplaces for all New Zealanders.