Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Call to improve workplace safety as victims remembered

Employers, workers and government officials were encouraged to make workplace safety a top priority and help prevent employee deaths during a weekend ceremony at Blacktown Showground to honour victims.

Blacktown City Council hosted an International Day of Mourning ceremony on Sunday to remember those who died, were injured or made ill from their work.

SafeWork NSW Family and Injured Workers Support and Advisory Group Co-Chair. Matthew Beckhaus, shared his own loss from unsafe work practices and urged workers to report safety concerns.

Deputy Mayor, Chris Quilkey acknowledged all victims, including security officer, Faraz Tahir, who lost his life trying to protect shoppers during the mass stabbing incident at Westfield Bondi Junction on 13 April.

Mr Tahir was a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and volunteered at the Baitul Huda Mosque at Marsden Park in Blacktown City.

Cr Quilkey praised Mr Tahir’s contribution to Australia since arriving from his native Pakistan.

“Faraz was dedicated to making a positive impact in his community,” Cr Quilkey said.

“We’ll never know how many lives Faraz saved that day at Bondi Junction. But we do know he died a hero.”

A wreath was laid in honour of victims before attendees took the Memorial Walk to reflect.

The number of people killed at work increased to 195 in 2022, according to the latest figures from Safe Work Australia.

Cr Quilkey said the figure showed more needed to be done to protect workers.

“It’s up to all of us – elected officials, government employees, employers and workers – to look after the people we work with,” he said.

“Don’t be afraid to speak up if you think there is an unacceptable risk in your workplace.

“Starting that conversation might lead to a solution that stops someone being injured or saves a life.”

Representatives of the Construction, Forestry and Maritime Employees Union (CFMEU), the Rail, Tram and Bus Union as well as the United Workers Union were among those who attended the ceremony.

The International Day of Mourning is observed in countries around the world on 28 April each year.

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