One of the reasons for workers to undergo general construction safety training (White Card training) is to familiarise them with the general hazards that occur on a typical construction site. Although workers are trained on construction hazards during their induction it is not enough to only address the most serious hazards, even the smaller hazards such as those that occur less commonly and those which are likely to cause only minor harm must also be addressed.

This was the call from Employment Minister Bill Shorten who encouraged Aussie workers to observe even the small hazards in their workplace because even these can result in injuries or fatalities.

The minister said most safety incidents were preventable and that employers as well as workers need to take responsibility for safety. According to the minister the small hazards that we are aware of and become familiar with allows us to become complacent towards these hazards. This complacency is dangerous and is the cause of most workplace injuries. These so called “small” hazards are the ones claiming workers lives.

The minister, speaking at the unveiling of the National Workers Memorial at Kings Park in Canberra has promised that government will continue to work to harmonise work health and safety laws.

Read the post below from which reported on the Minister’s calls:

shorten_bill_080033_020_official_blueSpeaking after unveiling the National Workers Memorial at Kings Park in Canberra for the inaugural International Workers Memorial Day, Mr Shorten said most workplace related deaths and injuries are predictable safety failures.

According to an AAP report, Mr Shorten said both employers and workers have the responsibility to ensure that people are able to return home from work safely.

“It’s not a systems failure or risk assessment failure, or hazard identification failure and all those other handsome words without tears,” said Mr Shorten.

“It is the failure that springs as a ready-made monster from the knowing tolerance of small daily hazards at the daily tasks.

“It’s the small daily hazards, which left unchecked, gang up on a worker and kill them.”

About 300 workers die in the country every year due to workplace injuries. AAP further reported that another 2000 are condemned to die from industrial diseases resulting from exposure.

Mr Shorten assured the public that the government would continue to work with states and territories to harmonise work health and safety laws.


In related news there has also been a call for tougher laws on negligent employers after the opening of the Canberra National Memorial. The memorial is the meeting place of those who come to mourn the loss of workers who had died in workplace accidents.

Around 300 workers die each year in workplace incidents and this year already 46 deaths have taken place which has prompted The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) to call for tougher laws even introducing industrial manslaughter legislation that could be applied in the worst cases of workplace safety negligence resulting in death.


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