It may only be the end of April, but already 36 Australians have lost their lives at work this year.
To honour those lost or injured and raise awareness of the importance of workplace safety, Hunter Workers will host an International Workers Memorial Day this week at Newcastle’s Foreshore.
The event will take place at the Workers Memorial plaque on Wharf Road from noon on Friday 28 April.
Guest speakers will include union heads and members of workers groups throughout the Hunter.
The day is a solemn occasion to remember and honour workers who have lost their lives, have been injured, or fallen ill due to work-related accidents or hazards.
Hunter Workers Secretary Leigh Shears says the day should also act as a reminder of the importance of workplace safety and the need for greater efforts to protect workers from harm.
“Workplace safety is not a privilege, but a right that all workers deserve,” he said.
“We must do better to protect them and ensure they return home safely at the end of the day.
“Workplace fatalities and injuries have devastating consequences for workers and their families, and we cannot afford to be complacent in our efforts to prevent them.”
The latest figures from Safe Work Australia reveal that 160 workers lost their lives in 2022.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that more than 2.3 million men and women worldwide succumb to work-related accidents or diseases every year, corresponding to over 6000 deaths every single day.
Furthermore, about 340 million occupational accidents and 160 million victims of work-related illnesses occur globally each year.
International Workers Memorial Day also highlights the failure of the current workers’ compensation system in New South Wales, which has left injured workers in financial hardship, stress, and mental health crisis after 12 years of Liberal mismanagement.
Hunter Workers have urged for the review of the system, which the NSW Government has promised to undertake.
“It’s an encouraging milestone for working people and our families with Labor appointing the state’s first Minister for WHS in many years,” Mr Shears said.
“Hunter Workers looks forward to working with Ms (Sophie) Cotsis to improve the health and safety outcomes on the job and the better treatment of injured workers and stop the deaths in the job.”
Hunter Workers implores all workers, employers, and the government to take this opportunity to reflect on the impact of workplace accidents and illnesses and take action to ensure that all workers can work in safe and healthy conditions.
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