Family members of people who have died at work have joined with unions to lobby the Federal Government over new health and safety laws.

In a letter to the Deputy Prime Minister, leaders of victim support groups in Victoria, NSW and South Australia have urged stronger health and safety protections to prevent more families suffering the heartbreak of workplace deaths and injuries.

The letter says that proposed changes to workplace health and safety laws fall well short of providing world’s best practice.

Signatories to the letter include Deanne May, from Industrial Death Support and Advocacy Inc (Victoria), Cheryl Romer, convenor, the Workplace Tragedy Family Support Group (NSW) and Andrea Madeley, President of Voice of Industrial Death (South Australia).

ACTU Secretary Jeff Lawrence said:

“Thousands of Australians die, are injured or become ill as a result of their job each year.

“The failure to protect the health and safety of employees has huge social and economic consequences.

“For workers and their families, it destroys quality of life, restricts social and family activities, affects relationships and reduces job prospects and earning capacity.

“For businesses and the economy, poor health and safety leads to lower productivity through absences from work and higher healthcare costs for the whole community.

“It is in all our interests to make sure Australian workplaces have the highest possible standards of health and safety.”