Organisers from the IEU Canberra office joined with officials and members of other unions on International Workers Memorial Day on 28 April to remember those workers killed or injured as a result of workplace accidents.
The remembrance ceremony was held at the National Workers Memorial, Kings Park, Canberra.
In the Workers Glade, 41 white wooden crosses recognised those 41 Australians killed at work so far this year.
The crosses were placed on the concentric ripples that radiate from the eight stone columns positioned to reflect the outline of Australia.
The ripple effect acknowledges the profound impact work related loss has on communities and families.
Every year more people are killed at work than in wars. Annually more than 200 workers go to work and don’t come home due to traumatic injury.
Over a thousand Australians a year die from asbestos related disease due to exposure at work while thousands more sustain serious injuries due to workplace incidents.
While they are lucky to survive many are left to suffer physical and financial hardship as their employment crumbles.
In Australia we are seeing growing attacks on health and safety protection by Liberal governments at both state and federal levels.
These governments have continued to water down health and safety regulations and strip away our protections including our right to fair and just workers compensation.
In education, although we don’t see many deaths in the workplace, we still need to be vigilant that school policies, procedures and practices support the wellbeing of employees and permit a healthy work life balance.
The IEU is evaluating current work practice agreements to ensure they support and enhance healthy and safe work environments.
Remember the dead and fight for the living.