183 Australians were killed at their workplace in 2019 – an increase of 37 avoidable deaths since 2018 and the first increase since 2007. A delegation of relatives whose loved ones lost their lives tragically at their place of work will be speaking in Canberra on Thursday, campaigning for the introduction of industrial manslaughter into model workplace health and safety laws.
The delegation will be pushing for the implementation of recommendations from the Senate Inquiry into industrial deaths that was handed down in October 2018 and Boland Review of Australia’s work health and safety laws in all states and territories – so far there have been industrial manslaughter laws introduced in Queensland, Northern Territory, Victoria and Western Australia.
Industrial manslaughter laws are designed to hold employer’s criminally accountable for preventable deaths that occur in a workplace – this includes jailtime and increased financial penalties.
The law provides justice for the families who have lost loved ones and acts as a deterrent for employers who might otherwise cut corners on work health and safety.
As noted by ACTU Assistant Secretary Liam O’Brien:
“Everyone should feel safe at work. No worker is expendable. Everyone has a right to go home to their families at the end of every day.
“Employers that cut corners that kill workers should face serious consequences. Sadly, this is not the case. Every year hundreds die in workplaces and their families deserve justice.
“You cannot hear the harrowing stories of these loved ones left behind and not want to commit to stronger laws protecting Australians in their workplaces.
“We hope that politicians on all sides will understand the importance of committing to tougher workplace health and safety laws – especially when hearing that there has been an increase of fatalities since 2018.
“The Morrison government must take action to ensure that no matter where a worker is killed their family can expect these deaths to be thoroughly investigated and employers are held to account.”