What of International Workers Memorial Day in 2020?

ILO’s World Day on Safety and Health at Work occurs each year on April 28. Events are centred around monuments and places in capital cities and towns, speeches about the importance of occupational health and safety (OHS) are made and symbolic gestures are given.

The World Day is intended to be an acknowledgement of the importance of OHS for all workers and people of all political stances. The aim is to focus on workplace deaths, and the practical actions to prevent those deaths, not the politics of those deaths, but far more prominence is given to the trade union movement’s International Workers Memorial Day held on the same day.

So how will these memorial days work in this year of COVID19?

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Is Industrial Manslaughter an empty vessel?

The Australian Institute of Health and Safety (AIHS) has published a long article about Australia’s Industrial Manslaughter (IM) laws. It is a very good article but includes a lot of information that should already be familiar to those who have followed the development of IM laws over the last two decades.

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Industrial Manslaughter in WA but Federally? Unlikely

Gold warm sunlight on CBD of Perth city as seen from Kings Park. Source: istockphoto

The West Australian government presented its new Work Health and Safety (WHS) Bill to Parliament in November 2019 and debate has continued in February 2020. Joining with most other States in using the model WHS legislation is a major change for that State as it not only brings one set of occupational health and safety (OHS) laws to all businesses, including mines and petroleum, but it introduces the offence of Industrial Manslaughter. However, IM in WA has a two option penalty – “Industrial manslaughter – crime” and “Industrial manslaughter – simple offence”.

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There but for the Grace of God ….. Dreamworld

The nature of news/media reporting is that any story must be topical, but the nature of occupational health and safety (OHS) is that topicality is stretched over years of investigation or it stutters over time when a new bit of information is available. This has been the case with the aftermath of the deaths of four people at the Dreamworld theme park in Queensland and there is a strong likelihood that other topical news, such as the possible pandemic of CORVID-19, will mask the important management issues of Dreamworld.

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Dreamworld presents a story bigger than just an OHS failure

Late yesterday the Queensland Minister for Industrial Relations, Grace Grace, issued a media statement that clarified the work health and safety (WHS) prosecution process that is likely to apply to Ardent Leisure, the owner of Dreamworld. Significantly she clarified the Coroner’s Findings and the misinformation of some media outlets. Ardent Leisure has issued a statement in support of safety improvements.

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