Victorian workplaces have had a horror start to the year with 9 fatalities as of 30 March as unions prepare to commemorate all workers who’ve died on the job worldwide.
Thursday, 28 April will mark the tenth International Workers Memorial Day
when unions in Australia and internationally ‘mourn the dead and fight for
the living’ with commemorative events and campaign activities.
Workers’ Memorial Day commenced in Canada in 1986, as a way of remembering
those killed or injured as a result of their work.
It was adopted internationally in 1996. The day is marked by ceremonies on or
around 28 April each year in countries all around the world.
This year Victorian unions have adopted the canary as our symbol for the day.
The canary symbol was first used by Canadian unions in the 1980s, as it is a distinctly work related animal – having been used in mines (and shopping centres) to show if the air was turning bad.
The canary died first – hopefully giving enough time for workers to escape
the workplace, before also dying.
Themes in previous years have included ‘Employer Accountability’, ‘Young
Workers’ and ‘Killer Chemicals’.
In Australia, the latest figures published by the Commonwealth government
show that the Commonwealth, as an employer, is performing worse than any other
state workers compensation scheme.
Victoria will introduce later this year a new OHS Act.
In Victoria a memorial service – to be held at the Memorial Rock, in
conjunction with IDSA (Industrial Death Support & Advocacy), followed by a
light lunch at Horti Hall.
Pde, Carlton South
Victorian Unions will launch the ‘Elect an OHS Rep’ Campaign on this day.
10,000 new OHS Reps is the target of the campaign.
The presence of a unionised, trained OHS Representative is the single biggest
factor affecting the health and safety performance of a workplace.
The new Victorian OHS Act encourages the election of OHS Representatives
(including Deputies and Roving Representatives) and many more workers want
OHS Rep recruitment posters, stickers & leaflets will be available at the
launch for distribution in all Victorian workplaces.
Memorial Day event
that come into effect 1 July, 2005.
employers have a legal duty to provide a safe and healthy workplace