International Workers Memorial Day is commemorated annually and its purpose is to remember those who have died or have suffered life changing injuries during the course of their employment. In 2016, International Workers Memorial Day was held on Thursday 28 April.
At Andersons we work with many clients (and their families) whose lives have been damaged because of incidents and accidents in the workplace. It is disappointing and tragic that a large amount of serious injuries and even fatalities were preventable, and have occurred as a result of negligence, recklessness or simply complacency in the workplace regarding health and safety.
In many instances, unavoidable accidents do indeed occur, but more often than not, the attitude of workers, colleagues, managers and business owners regarding workplace health and safety contributes to the injury. It is not uncommon for workers to tell us that they had complained to their superiors for months about hazards at work (for example, damaged plant and equipment) only to be ignored until a serious injury occurs. This is not good enough.
Across the globe, it is estimated that more than 2 million workers lose their lives annually because of workplace accidents and diseases; many of which could have been prevented or, at the very least, minimised in severity. This includes not only workers who have died as a result of hazardous equipment, but also exposure to chemicals and dusts like asbestos.
"Across the globe, it is estimated that more than 2 million workers lose their lives annually because of workplace accidents and diseases."
International Workers Memorial Day is a poignant reminder that whilst countries including Australia have gone to great lengths to recognise asbestos as a killer, many third world countries still rely on asbestos in their infrastructure, and still rely on importing and exporting asbestos as a significant part of their economy, notwithstanding the obvious and well known risks associated with asbestos exposure. Asbestos still accounts for approximately 100,000 work related deaths each year.
Andersons has a long and proud history of working closely with injured workers and fighting for their rights, and we strive to work closely with both clients and our partner Unions to ensure we all understand our workplace rights in an attempt to reduce exposure to unnecessary and unreasonable hazards. If a worker is unfortunately injured, we work closely with them and their family to ensure everyone is aware of their legal entitlements.
All too often, workers and bosses only turn their minds to workplace health and safety if something goes wrong. We need people to think about workplace safety on a daily basis before tragedy strikes. Planning and implementing safe work policies and practices is critical in order to prevent or minimise the risk of injury and death.
International Workers Memorial Day is a sombre day 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 at the end of the working day they can return home to their loved ones. When tragedies occur, it is crucial to keep those victims in our minds. We should continue to strive for workplace safety in order to ensure that the prevalence of these workplace incidents reduce in the future.
If you, a family member or a friend has been affected by a workplace injury and is seeking assistance or guidance about entitlements, contact today’s blog writer, Michael Irvine.