WorkSafe New Zealand has launched a 10-year plan to reduce health risks in the workplace.
It outlines the approach WorkSafe will take to enable businesses to better manage work-related risks which kill between 600 and 900 people a year.
Another 30,000 are left with serious health problems.
"Each one of those figures is a real person who has died or has become unwell as a result of their work," Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse said when the plan was launched on Wednesday night.
"For too long we've put work-related health in the too hard basket."
Mr Woodhouse says that with strong leadership, and everyone demonstrating greater accountability, significantly improved outcomes can be achieved.
The plan aims to raise awareness of harm and risks, encourage collaboration, minimise risks and using the education system to improve understanding.
WorkSafe chairman Professor Gregor Coster says there will be "targeted intervention programmes".
"Beyond the high human cost to individuals, their families, whanau and communities, work-related diseases cost this country $2.4 billion a year," he said.
"The human and financial costs are simply unacceptable."