MUA Recognises International Workers’ Memorial Day

The Maritime Union of Australia has joined the chorus of unions in remembering the millions of people who are killed or injured at work each year.

This year the MUA is supporting the Australian Council of Trade Union’s moves to make company directors liable for Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) fines resulting from workplace deaths.

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Boots symbolising the 20 people who had died at work in Victoria were placed outside of Victoria Trades Hall Council. Picture: ACTU

MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin said having accountable business leaders would make companies think twice about cutting corners in safety in order to boost profit.

The ACTU is asking for the Government to strengthen national OH&S laws to make directors face a personal fine and/or jailed for up to 20 years to ensure companies cannot restructure to avoid paying fines as a result of negligent conduct.

“This is the kind of hard line the Abbott Government needs to take to show it serious about the welfare of Australian workers,” Crumlin said.

Assistant National Secretary Warren Smith said no workplace issue was more important than our safety on the job.

“It is a fundamental human right for every worker to come home safe and sound to our families,” Smith said.

“Unfortunately, the Abbott Government is taking Australia backwards in terms of safety regulation under the guise of cutting red-tape. "The maritime industry is one of the most hazardous industries in the country and the best way to stop workplace deaths is to tighten safety regulation."

Some statistics from the International Labor Organization:

• Each year, more than two million men and women die as a result of work-related accidents and diseases

• Workers suffer approximately 270 million accidents each year, and fall victim to some 160 million incidents of -related illnesses

• Hazardous substances kill 440,000 workers annually – asbestos claims 100,000 lives

• One worker dies every 15 seconds worldwide. 6,000 workers die every day. More people die whilst at work than those fighting wars.