With New Zealand's internationally high workplace death toll showing it is twice as dangerous as Australia for workers there is no room for complacency over public health, University of Otago Professor Jennie Connor says.
"We need a [health] system that is more strategic and less reactive," she said.
"We should invest more in public health. If we use that money [spent on public health] wisely, there are huge economies of scale in protecting people's health. I don't think we should be complacent," she said.
An Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety last week released a hard-hitting consultation document on workplace deaths and injuries which says it is about twice as dangerous to work in New Zealand as it is in Australia.
And it is nearly four times as risky as working in Britain.
About 100 people die in such accidents each year in New Zealand.
Professor Connor, who heads the Otago preventive and social medicine department, said the big disparity with the UK figures suggested at least some of the New Zealand workplace deaths and injuries were preventable.By John Gibb