The Australian Industry Group and its Chief Executive Innes Willox have been criticised on social media in Australia today as a result of an ABC report into a workplace fatality that occurred during the AI Group’s apprenticeship program. The criticism has come as the AI Group is very active on matters of occupational health and safety policy to its members and government
The AI Group provided SafetyAtWorkBlog with this statement concerning the report:
“Ai Group comment regarding ABC report on tragic death of apprentice Xi Lei Wu (Dillon) at Marshall Lethlean Industries on 4 October 2018
Ai Group is deeply saddened by the tragic death of apprentice Xi Lei Wu (Dillon) at Marshall Lethlean Industries on 4 October.
As the host employer, only Marshall Lethlean Industries can comment on the circumstances and advise the family and us what occurred and why.
The suggestion that AiGTS knowingly placed an apprentice in an unsafe workplace is incorrect. AiGTS is concerned not to cause further distress and grief to Dillon’s family.
All host employers sign agreements with AiGTS which specifically require the host employer to ensure apprentices are supervised and monitored during their engagement. All hosts are required to follow clear AiGTS safety guidelines restricting apprentices being engaged in hazardous work, including confined spaces.
The ABC report suggests that Ai Group’s only contact with the family was to send them flowers. In fact, AiGTS expressed condolences to each family member on the day of the incident and several AiGTS staff members also attended Dillon’s funeral.
AiGTS has very limited information relating to the circumstances of Dillon’s passing. We have sought this information from Marshall Lethlean Industries, however it has not been forthcoming. AiGTS cannot force an explanation from Marshall Lethlean Industries, as a result we are unable to supply any further detail to Dillon’s family or the media.
AiGTS is very committed to our apprentice program and safety is of paramount importance to us. We have worked with and developed many thousands of apprentices over decades, who have gone on to have very successful and enduring careers in many Australian companies.
There is a WorkSafe Victoria investigation underway and it is not appropriate to comment further while the investigation is ongoing.”