Statement from ACTU Assistant Secretary Liam O’Brien:

The ACTU welcomes the decision by the Victorian Government to begin including workplace illnesses and suicides in data about workplace injuries and fatalities.

Coupled with the implementation of industrial manslaughter legislation this represents a significant step forward for OHS in Victoria and sets an example which all other states and territories should follow.

Including people who get sick or take their own lives as a result of accidents or hazards in their workplace is essential to gaining a full understanding of the gaps which exist in our OHS system.

The Cancer Council estimates that every year 5000 people contract cancer as a result of exposure to hazards in their workplace, and we have no reliable estimate of how many suicides are linked to workplaces every year.

Understanding the scope of these problems is the first step in addressing them and ensuring that every worker is safe at work.