Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Media Release

Senate report calls for action on save workers’ lives

On Wednesday the Senate Education and Employment References Committee tabled its much awaited report ‘They never came home’ following the inquiry into the prevention, investigation and prosecution of industrial deaths in Australia.

Senator Catryna Bilyk, a member of the Committee, said that the Committee’s 34 recommendations are designed to reduce tragic deaths at Australian workplaces.

The committee received 69 submissions and held eight public hearings across Australia, including in Hobart on 31 July 2018.

“Too many Australian workers are not returning home,” Senator Bilyk said “When a worker does not return home at the end of their shift a family is torn apart, a community is torn apart.”

“This week I met 16 month old Charlie, who will never meet his grandfather who died an industrial death 6 months ago,” Senator Bilyk said “He will miss out on all the love, support and wisdom that a grandfather can give”.

Unfortunately too often there is no accountability for an industrial death.

“Families need justice for their loved ones, and that means holding employers that disregard the risks to the lives of their workers responsible for the tragic consequences,” Senator Bilyk said. “The current legislative regulatory framework for dealing with workplace deaths is failing Australian workers and their families.”

While industrial deaths appear to be trending downwards, there is no accurate data on deaths from industrial illnesses which is anecdotally increasing.

“While evidence given to the Committee showed that almost 200 Australians die an industrial death in Australia each year, this does not include Australians who die from industrial diseases”. Senator Bilyk said “We need better information on the true extent of deaths caused by people’s employment”.

It’s important to note that federal Labor has been and always will be the leading party when it comes to workplace health and safety.

It was federal Labor that instituted and chaired the inquiry.

The full Committee report is available from: https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Education_and_Employment/IndustrialdeathsinAus/Report

SATURDAY, 20 OCTOBER 2018

 

MEDIA INQUIRIES: SCOTT FAULKNER 0409 516 680

 

 

Selected Recommendations

Recommendation 5

The committee recommends that Safe Work Australia work with Commonwealth, State and Territory governments to:

  • update the model WHS framework to cover precarious and non-standard working arrangements (including labour hire) to clarify the extent, scope and nature of the primary duty of care and the obligation under the model WHS Act on duty-holders to consult with each other, as well as workers and their representatives; and
  • pursue approval of these arrangements in other jurisdictions through the formal harmonisation of WHS laws process.

 

Recommendation 6 The committee recommends that Commonwealth, State and Territory governments ensure that their WHS regulators are adequately funded and resourced to allow them to complete investigations in a timely, thorough and effective manner.

 

Recommendation 13

The committee recommends that Safe Work Australia work with Commonwealth, State and Territory governments to:

  • introduce a nationally consistent industrial manslaughter offence into the model WHS laws, using the Queensland laws as a starting point; and
  • pursue adoption of this amendment in other jurisdictions through the formal harmonisation of WHS laws process.

 

Recommendation 19

The committee recommends that section 232 of the model WHS Act be amended to broaden the limitation period for prosecutions of industrial manslaughter.

 

Recommendation 23

The committee recommends that Safe Work Australia engage with WHS regulators and emergency services providers in each jurisdiction to develop clear guidelines for the notification of families of an industrial death, with a focus on timeliness and the manner in which the notification is made.

 

Recommendation 27

The committee recommends that Safe Work Australia work with the WHS regulator in each jurisdiction to establish advisory committees designed to give advice and make recommendations to the relevant minister about the information and support needs of persons who have been affected directly or indirectly by a workplace incident that involves a death, serious injury or serious illness.

 

Recommendation 31 The committee recommends that Safe Work Australia work with the WHS regulator in each jurisdiction to make funding available for impacted families to access a range of mental health and counselling support options, including in rural and regional areas.

 

Recommendation 34 The committee recommends that Safe Work Australia collaborate with each jurisdiction to review the adequacy of workers’ compensation legislation with regard to all work related deaths.

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