Deaths inquiry asks the hard questions

This week in Australia, the Senate Education and Employment References Committee inquiry into industrial deaths conducts public hearings in three States in three days.  Transcripts will be available shortly but it is worth looking at the record of the last public hearing from August 7 2018 to see the type of questions the panel are asking and how some of Australia’s business and occupational health and safety organisations are responding.

Mark Goodsell of the Australian Industry Group (AiGroup) seemed to struggle at times but this may have been partly due to his choice not to repeat the content of the AiGroup submission and instead comment on some of the other submissions.  Goodsell points out:

“We made the point in our submission, and a number of the other submissions also made the point, that industrial deaths have decreased in absolute terms in Australia over the last decade or so. As a proportion of the workforce, that’s a broad pattern across all states and most industries—in fact, all industries but not all to the same degree. That’s not widely acknowledged in a lot of the submissions. It is in the employers’ submissions but most of the other submissions appear to either not acknowledge that or just jump over that.” (pages 36 & 37)

This Senate Committee is looking at industrial deaths so the focus on fatalities is understandable. 

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