I saw the report on the inquest into Daniel's death in today's edition of The Advertiser.
As a result of reading this and an article about human rights in the current edition of The Independent Weekly, I felt compelled to write the letter below.
Thank you for speaking at the 28 April IWMD events. I am sure you are a great support to those who have lost loved ones & friends because of work.
You may remember speaking at a Safe Work Month seminar in 2008 at the PSA which I organised.
Warm regards & thank you for the work you do to improve OHS&W standards in Australia.
The Independent Weekly
4 Cinema Place
(off Vaughan Place)
ADELAIDE SA 5000
RE: LETTER TO THE EDITOR - HUMAN RIGHTS AT WORK
I was very pleased to see the TIW article of 14 - 20 May 2010 reporting on Catherine Branson's latest campaign as president of the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) to appoint a Commissioner for Children and Young People on the Commission.
Another important human right priority is the right to be able to work in a healthy and safe work environment free of injury, disease or death due to employer negligence. I raise this because Australia does not have a good OHS&W record compared with other developed nations and young Australian workers between the ages of 15 and 19 are more likely to be injured or diseased because of work than any other age group in the country. Young people's rights are put at risk for many reasons and working conditions is a major one.
Currently in SA, there is an inquest into the death of a former 18 year old apprenticed toolmaker, Daniel Madeley, who was killed six years ago at Diemould P/L because of the company's inadequate safety standards. A recent report on the inquest has indicated that the management at the time put productivity before OHS&W.
Then we have the case of James Hardie and other companies involved in the mining, processing and use of asbestos whose dereliction of the rights of their employees has led to the death and suffering of literally tens of thousands of Australians. All too often, there is the expectation that people should work in unhealthy or dangerous workplaces if they want jobs.
The only way to stop these tragedies is to have more effective OHS&W laws that are adequately enforced and for the community to consider OHS&W to be a basic human right.
I would urge Catherine Branson to also consider establishing the position of a Commissioner for Occupational Health Safety & Welfare on the AHRC. After all, Article 23 of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights recognises OHS&W as a human right when it states that everyone has the right to just and fair working conditions. Australia is a signatory to the Universal Declaration for Human Rights and it should recognise these principles in its own standards related to human rights.
Andrew (Andy) Alcock
51 Leah St
FORESTVILLE SA 5035
Phone: 61 8 83710480
0457 827 014