Injured Workers Day is about fighting for concrete changes to workplace legislation and make sure every worker can go to work and get home safely.
Retired union member Ziggy worked in quality control for a printing company for almost two decades, working with toxic chemicals in the air.
“Even so some managers will say, ‘that’s harmless’. But if you try to believe them, you’ll end up six foot under much quicker,” he says.
The union-led movement is seeking changes to workplace legislation and creating recognition for the support networks of injured workers – family and friends who may well find themselves in the position of primary carer.
Today is just as much about mental health as it is about physical health.
The 2021 ‘Work Shouldn’t Hurt’ report found that one third of all workers had sustained at least one injury or illness due to work in the past 12 months.
- This included 12% who suffered a physical injury and 22% who had a mental health issue
- Around 5% of workers experienced both types of injury
- More than a quarter of workers in frontline industries of retail and hospitality reported experiencing mental health issues.
“Health and safety is the most important factor when you start to work,” Ziggy says.
“People still get injured. There’s always room to improve.”
Showing up at work shouldn’t mean putting yourself in harm’s way. Not only are the statistics unacceptable but they are preventable.
We also know that union workplaces are safer workplaces. The report found that having a union health and safety representative at work lead to better reporting of health and safety risks.
Whether it’s humanising the WorkCover experience for workers or destigmatising mental health, Injured Workers Day is about improving working conditions for every worker in every workplace.
Workers are people, not commodities. That’s why union members stand together for better workplace conditions and protect workers’ rights.
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