Victoria, Australia, had a State Coroner who trailblazed on the issue of workplace safety for well over a decade. Graeme Johnstone saw the coroner’s role as improving the quality of life of the community by examining its failures. Victoria’s current coroner, Jennifer Coate, seems to be continuing Johnstone’s work and addressed the crowd at Melbourne’s workers memorial on 28 April 2011.
Coroner Coate’s speech is unlikely to be publicly released but SafetyAtWorkBlog has been informed that the speech contained the following points
- it is important to remember and honour those workers who have died at work so that potential deaths can be prevented;
- since 2000 the Coroners’ Court has made over 100 recommendations or comments on industrial deaths and recent laws require the state government to respond to these recommendations;
- the crowd at the Trades Hall memorial cairn were asked to assist in the uptake of the prevention recommendations from the Coroners’ Court;
- we should not forget the impact that workplace deaths can have on those who knew and loved the victims, and those who worked with them.
That a coroner was willing to attend and speak at such an event is a major compliment to the trade union organisers and a good insight in Judge Coate’s personality and philosophy.