WorkSafe has made two appointments to its leadership team to elevate its focus on reducing work-related health harm, and improve health and safety outcomes for Māori.

WorkSafe Chief Executive Phil Parkes says the changes will improve how the organisation influences better health and safety outcomes for New Zealand.

Catherine Epps has been appointed General Manager Health and Technical Services, reporting to the CE. WorkSafe’s National Advisor Māori Mohi Apou now also reports to the CE.

“The changes signal an increased focus on tackling work related health and improving work health and safety outcomes for Māori.

“Catherine’s team was formerly part of WorkSafe’s operations group. The change puts muscle into our focus on reducing work-related health harm which is many times greater than acute injury.

“Catherine and her team will continue to develop our technical services functions to provide advice and expertise to all parts of WorkSafe. Moving forward the team will provide the organisation with strategic and operational leadership advice and innovation to improve worker health outcomes.

“Having health-focused input at the leadership level is a clear signal of the importance of health in our work.”

Mr Parkes said WorkSafe has strengthened its commitment to reducing harm to Māori by having its National Advisor Māori at the leadership table.

“This will improve visibility of Māori perspectives and leadership at the senior level, ensuring stronger input to strategic and leadership conversations.

“Mohi has empowered, coached and mentored in Tikanga Māori through his career, and facilitated many connections and conversations between the military, justice, iwi groups, and local and regional authorities.

“Māori are significantly more likely to be impacted by work related harm. We need to improve our focus and efforts to address this inequality and reduce the overall harm for all workers,” Mr Parkes says.

Mohi Apou – National Advisor Māori

Mohi Joined WorkSafe in 2018. He has 20 years’ experience including at Te Wananga o Raukawa, Ministry of Education, NZQA, Crown Law Office, Te Puni Kokiri and the Office of Treaty Settlements, the Royal New Zealand Navy and Ministry of Economic Development (now MBIE). In terms of education, Mohi has a Masters in Matauranga Māori (Philosophy).

Catherine Epps - General Manager Health and Technical Services

Catherine has held senior leadership roles in public and private healthcare organisations for more than 10 years. Catherine started at WorkSafe in 2018. She was previously Executive Director Allied Health, Scientific and Technical at Capital and Coast District Health Board.

Catherine is a Fellow of the Australasian College of Health Service Managers. Originally trained as a speech-language therapist specialising in neuro rehabilitation, including supporting those with brain injuries to return to work, she also has a Masters in Human Communication and Deaf Studies.

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