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Worker’s Memorial Day: stop rolling back life-saving regulations

28 April 2014 By ACTU

The rate of work injuries and deaths in the workplace will increase - bringing loss and heartbreak to families and communities - should life-saving regulations be rolled back nationally as they have been in Queensland.

140428-wmd-remember-dead-fight-for-livingACTU President Ged Kearney said, today, Worker's Memorial Day, was a sobering reminder of why regulations are so important.

"The rolling back of protections that keep people safe at work will have one sure result, it will put worker's lives in danger," Ms Kearney said.

"Regulations are there for a reason, that is to save lives and stop injuries."

"The Queensland Government recently struck a blow to workplace safety by making it easier for unscrupulous employers to cut corners and avoid detections.

"This is despite Queensland being one of the most dangerous states in Australia to work in.

"Instead of increasing protections that save lives, Queensland employers now get 24 hours notice before a safety inspection and the 'cease work' rule for unsafe workplaces no longer applies.

"This is the Queensland Government sending a clear message that it's not serious about safety and that employers who want to save money by cutting corners on safety have got the green light to do so."

Ms Kearney said, "Workers and unions fear that a domino effect could prevail with other states and territories stripping protections in the name of 'cutting red tape'."

"There are signs other states are embracing a similar view point that puts employer convenience above the safety of their workforce," she said.

"The worst scenario for workers, especially those in dangerous industries such as construction and transport and storage, is that regulations set up to protect them while they are at work will be stripped back or abolished."

Ms Kearney said, "We need more, not less regulation."

"Any Government who is willing to shut their eyes to the traumatic death statistics, to the workplace injury numbers and the impact of these heartbreaking events on communities will have blood on their hands."

"Worker's Memorial Day 2014 is not just about remembering those people who went work and never came home, this year it's also vital to think about those people whose lives will be put in danger due to the removal of life-saving workplace safety laws."

Contact Details
Name: David Smith, ASU National Secretary
Telephone: 03 9342 1400