Lorraine Quirke, Workers Memorial Day 2012

The address given by Ms Lorraine Quirke, President of IDSA, at the 2012 International Workers Memorial Day event, at the Trades Hall on Friday April 27th.

Good morning everyone.  On behalf of Industrial Deaths Support and Advocacy I'd like to welcome you all to this remembrance of all those people who have been killed or died as a result of their work.

International Workers Memorial Day is marked every year by IDSA and the Victorian Trades Hall Council.
Flowers placed at the base of the Remembrance Rock  

This day not only allows us to pause in a public way to remember all those who've been lost  -  but it gives us the opportunity to remind the community in general, that a life is too high a price to pay for earning a living and that many people have, and will continue to pay that price unless there is more focus and investment on the prevention of workplace death and injury.

IDSA's reason for existing is to provide support and assistance to the families and workmates of those who have died and some of our families are with us today.

Like me, many of our members have suffered the loss of a loved one as a result of their work - the impact on those of us left behind is devastating and it never really goes away.  

At IDSA we want the community to remember that when things go wrong at work, it's real people who are killed and injured and real families and friends who are left behind.  We all think it can't happen to us or to people we know – these things happen to other people – but it did happen to us.  It can happen in your organisation or to you or to people that you know or who rely on you – health and safety at work needs to be at the front of our minds all the time and built into the decisions that we make.  

Decisions about investment and commitment to safety aren't just notations on a balance sheet or objectives on a business plan – they can mean the difference between people living and dying. When someone is killed or dies because of their work everyone suffers – their employer, their workmates, their families and friends.  And so much is lost.  There's a life that won't be lived, perhaps children who won't be born, things that will never be experienced.  And no one will ever know what contribution that person might have made to the community and the world if their life hadn't been cut short.

We can't bring back the people we have loved and lost but we can try to remind the people who make the decisions in workplaces that human life is sacred and preventing injury and the preservation of life has to be paramount in the decisions you make about how work is done.

At IDSA we know from personal experience that no job is so urgent or so important that it can't be done safely – no job is worth your health or your life.

In that spirit, please join us shortly in placing a tribute at this memorial to workers who have died and pausing for a moment to remember all those who have suffered and died earning a living or who went to work as usual one day and never came home.

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