Lawyers say there is no such thing as a freak industrial accident

Construction Acciden

This year has already seen multiple major industrial incidents, both overseas and in Australia, where employees who raised safety concerns were ignored or were silenced.

One of the most recent tragedies occurred in America, when a container ship crashed into a bridge in Baltimore. The company that chartered the ship, Maersk Line Limited, has since come under scrutiny after it was revealed that the company was sanctioned by the United States Government Labor Department for acting against a sailor who previously reported unsafe working conditions while aboard a Maersk-operated boat.

In Australia it has recently been revealed that the Ballarat Gold Mine was warned over the potential for a fatal rockfall months before the death of one of their miners.

Slater and Gordon Legal Counsel – National Industrial and Employment, Michael Sayers, said these tragedies highlight the need to protect those who speak out and stand up for the safety of others.

“The reality is there is no such thing as a freak industrial accident.

“These events are always shocking when they happen, but what’s even more devastating is that afterwards it is often revealed that they were preventable, or that safety concerns had been raised but not properly addressed,” Mr Sayers said.

Whilst the cause of the Baltimore bridge collapse is still being investigated Mr Sayers says that it serves as an important reminder for companies of their obligation to take safety concerns seriously.

“Employers who ignore safety issues that are raised by employees leave themselves open to being prosecuted for failing to provide a safe working environment.

“Workers’ health and safety representatives, and unions play a vital role in advocating for the safety of workers and members of the public and their concerns should be heeded and acted upon,” Mr Sayers said.

– Slater and Gordon Lawyers

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