Unions mark International Workers Memorial Day

by 29 Apr 2010

Unions around the world remembered tragic deaths that have occurred in the workplace during International Workers Memorial Day yesterday.

More than 7,000 Australian workers die each year from work related causes and thousands of ACTU members will mark the day with a minute’s silence at events around the country.

Elsewhere, the Australian Workers Union has today lambasted politicians across all parties for being ‘too scared’ to stand up to mining giant BHP Billiton on safety issues.

It said that the latest death at a BHP Billiton mine site in Western Australia earlier this month was “an example of another decent working man joining the shocking roll call of BHP workplace deaths stretching back decades.”

It was the fifth mining death in eighteen months at a BHP site.

AWU national secretary, Paul Howes, said: “Our union safety people have noted their concerns regularly that BHP Billiton in their opinion is suffering from corporate pathology when it comes to OHS.

“We believe BHP must commit to doing more for workplace safety as they put into place new plans to ramp up resource investment in Western Australia and Queensland.

Meanwhile personal injury law firm Trilby Misso has claimed that poor management practices and a lack of awareness training of supervisors is to blame for many unusual accidents in workplaces resulting in some serious injuries to staff.

Trilby Misso CEO Graeme McFadyen said the Queensland firm had received many claims from workers, the majority of them males aged between 31 and 54, who had suffered debilitating injuries in the workplace.

“Over the last six months we have had a large number of claims settled and predominantly they involved men in this age group, but we also have had a high percentage of women making claims for injuries,” McFadyen said.

“In most cases the injury was a result of workers being asked to do tasks beyond their training or capability, often leading to them being placed in dangerous situations, or an incidence of questionable behaviour in the workplace.”

Workers Memorial Day was started by Canadian Unions in 1984. By 1996, it was an international day.

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