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Workers’ Memorial Day

INTERNATIONAL Workers’ Memorial Day, observed today in Australia and around the world on April 28, is about remembering those who lost their lives at work. Use today as an opportunity to think about health and safety in your workplace: Are there any risks at work? Is there a safer way to carry out duties in the workplace?

The latest ABS statistics on workplace injuries in Australia, for 2009-2010, showed of the 12 million people who had worked at some time in the that 12 month period, 5.3% had experienced a work-related injury or illness during that same period – that’s 640,700 people.

Today ACTU President Ged Kearney said there was no more important role for unions than ensuring people work in a safe and healthy environment. “In Australia, the workplace related death toll is estimated to be more than 4.7 times higher than the Australian road toll,” Ms Kearney said. “In 2008 there were 1464 road deaths, while Government statistics show there are up to 7000 work related deaths each year.”

Ms Kearney said Workers’ Memorial Day was a poignant reminder that Australia had the world’s highest per capita rate of asbestos-related deaths, with up to 18,000 more Australians expected to have died from mesothelioma by 2020.

In 2012, unions are calling on National Asbestos Authority to manage the mandatory removal of the deadly fibre from all Australian buildings by 2030.

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