World Safety Congress gives voice to injured workers

Thursday, 30 November, 2023

World Safety Congress gives voice to injured workers

The Family and Injured Workers Support and Advisory Group (FIWSAG) gave voice to injured workers last week by partaking in the 23rd World Congress on Safety and Health at Work. The FIWSAG allows the families of those injured or killed in the workplace to have their voices heard and advises the NSW Government on how to improve workplace health and safety, and develop resources for those who experience workplace incidents. The group is co-chaired by Matt Beckhaus and Jacqueline Quinlivan, and consists of 11 members who have firsthand experience of either being injured at work or are a family member of someone who has died in a work-related incident.

A session at the World Congress discussed the role injured workers and their families play in shaping safer work environments, including the way regulators and employers respond to incidents where a worker is injured or killed. The panel, which included unions, law firms and regulators, explored workplace injuries from the immediate aftermath to long-term implications and asked how stakeholders in an injured worker’s journey can have a voice in safer workplaces.

The FIWSAG recently published four stories online giving firsthand accounts of how people have been affected following a workplace death or serious injury. The group was represented at the World Congress by Noeline Bridge, whose husband died after a workplace incident that also claimed the lives of two co-workers. The group was also represented by Mark Johnston, who was seriously injured at work in a farming incident, and David White, whose son died after a workplace incident.

Trent Curtin, head of SafeWork NSW, urged workplace regulators to hear the voices of those who have lived experience in these tragic matters, and to be open to their ideas on how best to respond to workplace accidents in the future. “It is important workers and their families are given an opportunity to speak and share their unique perspective, not just in committee but at a major international event like the World Congress on Safety,” Curtin said.

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