RECEIVED: 31st July 2010
SENDER: ANDY ALCOCK
SUBJECT: LETTER TO THE EDITOR - HEALTH AND SAFETY AT WORK
The Independent Weekly
4 Cinema Place (off Vaughan Place)
ADELAIDE SA 5000
RE: LETTER TO THE EDITOR - HEALTH & SAFETY AT WORK
Congratulations for publishing the timely article by Dr Kevin Purse about work-related deaths, injuries and disease and the need for more reliable monitoring of compliance levels with OHS&W laws in Australia (Are you safe at work? - TIW article of 30 July - 5 August 2010).
The statistics that Dr Purse quotes indicates that there is a marked increase in fatalities, injury and disease because of poor conformance to OHS&W codes and regulatiions.
In the article, it was mentioned that the Gillard government is currently making OHS&W laws uniform in all states and territories. What also needs to be said is that in the process, they are being watered down. This is of great concern when it is realised that this could mean that asbestos codes could also be relaxed as deaths due to exposure to asbestos dust is the biggest killer of Australian workers.
Voters need to be aware that the ALP Government has included approximately a third of Howard's WorkChoices in its Fair Work Act and is not abolishing the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC). Both the WorkChoices clauses that remain in the Fair Work Act and the ABCC hinder workers and their unions from taking the necessary action to stop life-threatening work. Recently, a worker was killed during the construction of the Pt Stanvac desalination plant. It was an avoidable death.
It thus, defies commonsense that another South Australian worker, Ark Tribe, could be facing up to 6 months imprisonment because he organised OHS&W meetings at his worksite.
The two major political parties have shown that they will not introduce best practice OHS&W laws and ensure effective enforcement of them.
Only the Greens are prepared to abolish the ABCC, make the Fair Work Act even fairer, protect a basic human right of workers to stop dangerous work and to introduce national industrial manslaughter laws. They also have much better policies for protecting the environment of the planet and the wider human rights of those living on it.
Andrew (Andy) Alcock
51 Leah St
FORESTVILLE SA 5035
Phone: 61 8 83710480
0457 827 014