Tuesday, 28 April will mark International Workers Memorial Day when unions in Australia and internationally 'mourn the dead and fight for the living' with commemorative events and campaign activities.
The CWU and other unions have fought hard to make jobs safer, save lives and prevent workplace injuries and illnesses. But our work is not done.
Posties and truck drivers are at the top of the list of Australia's deadliest jobs. Vehicle collisions cause most fatalities, with one in three workplace deaths occurring on the road. Motorcycle incidents account for 45% of all incidents in Post’s mail and delivery business. Manual handling incidents account for 23% of all incidents in mail and delivery and have increased. In Post’s parcels business, manual-handling accounts for 59% of all incidents and serious injuries have increased.
Many people would be surprised to find retail trade in the top 10 most dangerous line of work. Driving, explosions, contact with chemicals and being trapped between objects were the most common causes of death for retail workers.
Sadly many job hazards are not eliminated or properly controlled in Post and other industries. Some employers cut corners and violate the law, putting workers in serious danger and costing lives. Workers who report job hazards or job injuries are often disciplined – we’ve seen this in Post. According to Safe Work Australia 184 Australians lost their lives at work in 2014 and 20 workers have died because of their jobs in the first 47 days of 2015.
The struggle continues to create good jobs that are safe and healthy and ensure workers through their union can speak out. The theme for Workers Memorial Day 2015 is “removing exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace”, in particular chemical-related hazards, asbestos and potentially hazardous biological exposures.
What You Can Do on Workers Memorial Day?