Coping with the shock of the death of a loved one is traumatic enough. Workplace fatalities have a history of being quite gruesome and while this alone is more than enough for anyone to deal with, the process is further complicated by a very complex and lengthy investigation and legal process.
There are often many unanswered questions that plague the mind after the accident - questions that need to be answered. Understanding what happened is an important part of the process. The investigations aim to uncover this information but it can take some time before that information is shared with family and loved ones. Not too many people would have experience in
An important objective of VOID is to assist families, friends and co-workers to establish a line of communication with the departments in charge of the investigation / legal process. Another is directed at guiding people through this process, help them better understand the time frames, terminologies, available support mechanisms and of course, their rights.
We know that there is some comfort gained in being able to talk to those who have, or may still be going through a similar crisis. Sometimes just being in the company of people who can truly appreciate your pain is a help.
We have organised get-togethers where the primary aim is to put like-people together so that the isolation of grief and trauma can be shared and addressed.
IT’S NOT ABOUT THE SIZE OF THE DOG IN THE FIGHT
IT’S ABOUT THE SIZE OF THE FIGHT IN THE DOG
We’re up against a formidable commanding opposition here. Large, affluent industry and the powerful business lobby compared to a few broken hearted ordinary people. Yes, they have size and influence on their side and make no mistake, that makes this a tough fight. However, what drives us comes from deep within. It’s about the heart, the determination and of course those painful memories of someone we’ve lost. These loved ones have become the fuel that drives the heart of VOID and its people.
There seems a culture amongst many Australians that echoes a dangerously frightening tune. Hey..."Accidents happen" - "Ya gotta to die of something", and "she'll be right mate".
Yes, we're a happy go lucky nation full of optimism...and blissful ignorance. That's an easy place to be when you're standing on the outside looking in.
"Why don't people just quit?" The question was asked by a well known Adelaide talk back radio host. It must be wonderful to live in such a privileged world where the arm chair critic is gifted with such incredible hind sight.
Don't we wish we were all afforded the luxury of sitting on the outside looking in? We'd all rather be oblivious. We'd all just rather see it for a few seconds on the news than live it for a life time.
How many really affluent people die in the line of work? Sitting there behind the big desk, it must be easy to be cynical. And yet how ironic that these are the very people deciding the life and death fate of those hard working Aussie's we invariably see affected by workplace fatalities.
This is a world wide hot potato and it's gaining momentum. South Australia's statistics are nothing to be proud of. Our penalties in relation to breaches of the OHS&W Act 1986 were finally increased in 2008. VOID certainly had more that a small voice in this happening, but the best laws in the world are useless if they are not enforced. What we have now is a toothless tiger and too little action in the area of prevention.
At the forefront of this drive for change was South Australia's favourite politician - Nick Xenophon MLC.
Mr Xenophon has for many years played an active role in pushing for tougher legislation on the issue of OHS - and specifically Asbestos related disease. He has been a long standing advocate of Industrial Manslaughter and victims of crime. We are truly honoured and thankful to Nick Xenophon and his hard working staff for their unwavering support and we will endeavour to continue to apply pressure so that there is a significant accountability at the highest level in employment.
Nick Xenophon is now a Federal Senator but he is still our man. We aim to push for tougher penalties on a national scale - with law reform that works to keep every Australian safer at work.
VOID is not about radical change - The issues at hand are aimed wholly at companies who blatantly place their workers at risk of death by cost cutting and risk taking for a few extra dollars profit. The system needs to be fair for all concerned. Right now the business and employer groups have lobbied hard to ensure their position is concrete.
We will not be intimidated. We will not be pacified with empty promises.
It's time the pendulum swung with some integrity.