International Workers Memorial Day originated in Canada in the 1980’s and since then has become an annual occasion to remember those who have lost their lives or have suffered serious injuries as a result of workplace incidents. International Workers Memorial Day will be held on Tuesday 28 April 2015.
At Andersons, all too often we work with victims of workplace accidents (and the victims’ families), and it is tragic that most of these fatalities and injuries are entirely preventable. Sometimes unavoidable accidents occur, but more often than not, the casual attitude of workers, managers, supervisors and business owners regarding workplace health and safety contributes to the injury. For example, often workers complain for months about damaged plant and equipment, and nothing is done about it until an injury occurs. This is simply not good enough.
The International Labour Organisation estimates that over 2 million people die every year around the world from work related accidents and diseases. This includes people who die from exposure to hazardous plant and equipment, but also people who suffer from work related diseases; asbestos exposure in the workplace still contributes to over 100,000 deaths annually.
Andersons has a proud history of working with injured workers and fighting for their rights, and we strive to work closely with our clients and referrers including our affiliated Unions to ensure officials and workers know their rights and can reduce their exposure to unnecessary or unreasonable workplace hazards. If a worker is unfortunately injured, we work closely with the worker and their family to ensure everyone is aware of their legal rights and entitlements.
The State Weatherill Government has made legal changes to try and decrease workplace injuries and fatalities, including the introduction of the Work Health and Safety laws (which oblige everyone in the workplace to prioritise health and safety, and the laws strongly penalise those who are non-compliant with the rules and regulations). Notwithstanding the Government’s good intentions, workplace injuries and deaths are still prominent in our community. In fact, workplace fatalities have continued to rise in Australia over recent years. But the legal changes are a step in the right direction.
Too often, people only think about workplace health and safety when something goes wrong; but of course, by then it’s often too late. We need people to think about workplace safety before tragedy strikes. Thinking and planning safe work practices is critical in eliminating or minimising the risk of injury and death.
International Workers Memorial Day is an important day to reflect upon the importance of workplace health and safety, and to remember those who have lost their lives or suffered serious injuries simply in the course of going about their daily working lives. Everyone who goes to work does so with the hope that they can return home to their loved ones at the end of the working day; but when tragedies do occur, it is important to keep those victims in our minds. We should always strive for safety in the workplace to ensure that the prevalence of these workplace incidents reduce as time goes by.
If you, a family member or a friend has been affected by a workplace injury, you may wish to attend a commemoration:
Tuesday 28 April 2015 at 10.30 am
Pilgrim Uniting Church
for more information about this commemoration, please visit SafeWork SA.