If you can sense it, you can stop it. That is the message behind WorkSafe New Zealand’s latest campaign, targeting workplaces with the aim of getting more people home healthy and safe.

The message was inspired by meerkats and their ability to sense danger and protect one another. The new campaign will roll out over the next six months and is premised on the idea that like a meerkat we all have the instinct to sense danger.

In the last five years, WorkSafe has recorded 363 workplace deaths and more than 120,000 workplace injuries resulting in a week away from work.

WorkSafe Chief Executive Phil Parkes said that while the country had made great strides to improve its awareness of health and safety, it was not being reflected in the number of fatalities and serious harm injuries occurring each year.

“Too often following an incident, someone recounts that they had seen it coming, or that it was an accident waiting to happen. Our message to all people in a workplace – if you are concerned about something going wrong, then you should feel empowered to do something about it. That empowerment should extend from the shop floor right through to the boardroom.

“It’s embedded in Kiwi culture to have one another’s backs and we wanted to reflect this in our campaign. We want to empower workplaces to address health and safety concerns and celebrate those in the workplace who sense it, and stop it.

Parkes said as a regulator WorkSafe would always have a role to play in workplace health and safety.

“But it is clear that we can’t do this alone. This mammoth task, of reducing our workplace harm needs to be shared by all New Zealanders. We all have a role to play.”

The campaign, which went live at the weekend will feature on television, billboards, social media, cinema, and online. For downloadable content for your workplace check out meerkats.worksafe.govt.nz(external link)

Fun facts about meerkats:

  • Meerkats hang out in large groups — called a mob or a gang. They are collegial critters.
  • Meerkats will all pitch in to do their part collecting food, minding infants – and looking out for the safety of their mob.
  • Meerkats are good at speaking up when they sense danger. The noises they make will change based on the risk the mob is being exposed to. 
  • They have each other’s backs and will band together to address concerns or threats.

Media contact details

For more information you can contact our Media Team using our media request form. Alternatively, you can:

Phone: 021 823 007 or

Email: media@worksafe.govt.nz