2024 World Day for Safety and Health at Work and Workers’ Memorial Day CEO statement

28 April is World Day for Safety and Health (World Day) and Workers’ Memorial Day.

Whilst workplaces in Australia compare favourably by international standards for WHS outcomes, there are still too many tragic incidents that occur – too many workplace deaths and life changing injuries.

Around 200 people are killed at work in Australia each year, and many more die due to work-related diseases. Further, each year over 125,000 Australians are seriously injured at work. These workplace injuries and deaths ruin lives, shatter families and devastate the community.

On this Workers’ Memorial Day, we honour the lives lost from work-related injuries and illnesses with solemn remembrance.

We also honour those lives by ensuring our WHS system remain relevant and flexible in a changing WHS landscape. Workplace safety must be at the forefront of designing work around climate change.

Both the International Labor Organisation’s and International Trade Union Confederation’s themes for World Day and Worker’s Memorial Day revolve around the impact of climate change on WHS.

Heat, flooding, and extreme weather events are increasingly likely to disrupt the normal operation of many businesses. In addition, new technologies and industries in decarbonisation and the circular economy are emerging, creating new roles and introducing new WHS risks.

Climate change, increasing urbanisation and proximity of humans and animals have also led to the emergence of novel infectious diseases and increased the transmission and spread of other diseases.

The Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy sets a platform for delivering WHS improvements over the next decade, including on emerging issues like climate change and the green economy. This World Day and Worker’s Memorial Day, we remain committed to achieving our vision of safe and healthy work for all.

Marie Boland, Chief Executive Officer, Safe Work Australia

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