WorkSafe has commissioned a series of research reports on workers and employers to help us track health and safety performance over time.

The employers and workers report examines employer health and safety maturity; worker engagement, participation, and representation; and the impact of workplace safety culture.

Key findings

The research from 2023 surveyed 2,494 employers and 3,300 workers across all industries and found:

  • over half of safety cultures in New Zealand are mature, which is similar to 2021
  • fewer employers are engaged with health and safety education, guidance, and training
  • more workers feel they have a say in decisions that affect their wellbeing and more workers report the exchange of safety tips and advice in their workplace
  • the number of businesses with  health and safety representatives (HSRs) has declined since 2021
  • over half of workers report experiencing work-related health issues. There are increases since 2021 for self-reported levels of infectious diseases (higher in construction and healthcare and social assistance), hearing harm, and breathing or respiratory problems (higher in construction)
  • around one in ten workers report a work-related physical injury in the last 12 months that required medical attention or time off work. There were significant decreases in agriculture and increases in manufacturing.

Read the report

Segmentation and insights programme: Employers and workers 2023 (PDF 1.2 MB)

About the report

The employers and workers report examines employer maturity, worker engagement, participation and representation and the impact of workplace safety culture. The research confirms what we have known anecdotally, there are challenges with our safety culture and the research highlights what sectors we can best influence in terms of changing their behaviour and approach to health and safety.

Understanding current attitudes and behaviours is integral to developing interventions that lead to behaviour change and a more mature health and safety culture.

The research will allow WorkSafe to track improvements in workplace health and safety culture performance over time as we strive to transform New Zealand’s health and safety performance.

The 2023 questionnaire was adjusted so we could measure against our Strategic Outcomes Framework relating to machinery or equipment, immediate action being taken when a potential hazard is identified, measures to prevent harm from physical movements/postures, and measures to prevent harm from airborne substances.