Sunday, June 16, 2024

ACC review to put women’s diseases under microscope

ACC Minister, Peeni Henare says Kiwis could get better access to ACC support for a greater number of occupational diseases, including those more likely to affect women, as a historic review gets underway.

The Government is reviewing the list of occupational diseases in Schedule 2 of the Accident Compensation Act for the first time in 15 years.

“ACC is a world-leading scheme. The cover it provides to injured New Zealanders is a key part of our social safety net,” Minister Henare said.

“But it’s important we keep modernising the scheme, and do a bit more work to understand how people are accessing ACC to ensure it is fair.”

The Minister said Kiwi workers’ experience will be an important part of updating the list.

“Workers don’t have much control over work tasks or environments that over time could cause disease, illness or injury. We want to make sure access to ACC cover involves the right occupational diseases and is working for all New Zealanders,” he said.

“Most of the occupational health research internationally and in Aotearoa New Zealand is focused on men. We can better support women if we understand what diseases they are experiencing in the workplace and highlight where we need to know more.

“We know that women make fewer claims to ACC than men, have fewer injuries covered by the scheme than men, and each woman’s claim cost the scheme a third less than a man’s, on average, in entitlements.

“By reviewing the list and asking for people’s feedback and experiences, we can better understand how occupational disease claims fit into that bigger picture of women accessing ACC support.”

Public submissions and the International Labour Organisation’s List of Occupational Diseases will be used to draw up suggestions for an updated list of occupational diseases. These will be assessed by medical experts, who will also look at the latest occupational health research to determine what should be included going forward.

For more information and to make a submission, please visit the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s website. Submissions will be open from 5 April to 17 May.

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