Victoria University of Wellington and WorkSafe New Zealand have agreed to lift performance of New Zealand’s health and safety at work, through the establishment of the WorkSafe New Zealand Chair in Health and Safety.

The Chair will provide health and safety academic leadership through high quality research and teaching to advance health and safety performance in New Zealand.

This will be achieved through the promotion of greater knowledge and internationally-recognised research and innovation. The Chair will be attached to the University’s School of Health in its Faculty of Health and an international search for a global expert in health and safety research and teaching has begun.

The role of the Chair aligns with WorkSafe’s strategic intention to enhance system leadership through the growth of effective partnerships to lift workforce capability.

“We believe the creation of the Chair will increase the status and visibility of health and safety at work, both as a career option and business consideration,” says WorkSafe’s Manager, System Strategies, Dr Angela Mansell.

“WorkSafe expects the Chair will make a significant difference in health and safety through a deeper and more connected relationship with health and safety professionals, unions, business and other public sector agencies.

“Through the work of the Chair, strong and enduring academic leadership will ensure all understand the value of training and the health and safety workforce overall.”

Victoria University of Wellington has recently developed new qualification courses for health and safety professionals that begin at the start of the 2019 academic year. These are the Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma and Master of Health (Workplace Health and Safety). The new courses will provide internationally-recognised health and safety qualifications.

Professor Antonia Lyons, head of Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Health, says the Chair will play a leading role in the development of undergraduate and postgraduate academic programmes in the School and across the University to advance the national agenda of developing a well-qualified health and safety workforce.

“The Chair will also conduct research in work health and safety, provide research leadership and collaborate with other national and international researchers in the field,” says Professor Lyons.

“The Chair will provide health and safety academic leadership through research and teaching, and engagement. The Chair will also advance New Zealand’s health and safety at work performance through the promotion of greater knowledge and internationally recognised research and innovation.”

WorkSafe will provide funding to contribute to the academic Chair establishment costs for five years from the commencement of the first Chair appointment in the 2019 academic year.

Recruitment is currently underway for the Chair, it is expected the successful applicant will commence the role later this year.

Background to the establishment of the Chair in Health and Safety

WorkSafe commenced a contestable process for a tertiary institution to host the Chair in October 2018.

Universities were invited by WorkSafe to submit proposals, which were evaluated on how they would demonstrate that a Chair would:

  • lift health and safety workforce capability and capacity
  • contribute to the maturity of the New Zealand health and safety system through provision of expert and independent policy advice, research and teaching leadership
  • increase the status and visibility of workplace health and safety in New Zealand.

Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Health was selected as partner on the basis that its proposal best met the evaluation criteria.

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

Victoria University of Wellington

Phone: 022 563 4753