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Published: 27 Feb 2017
The high rate of injuries among apprentices and young workers in the ACT will increase under the ABCC laws that were passed recently in Federal Parliament, according to the CFMEU.
Responding to a report in The Canberra Times today which showed an unacceptably high rate of injuries among apprentices, CFMEU Assistant Secretary Jason O’Mara said that young workers are particularly vulnerable when it comes to safety.
“They’re inexperienced, they’re often reluctant to stand up for themselves and they assume the boss is observing the proper safety laws.
“The ABCC laws will make the situation worse as it becomes harder for union officials to go on the job and inspect safety breaches and assist workers on site.”
Mr O’Mara was appalled by MBA chief Kirk Conningham’s excuse for the extraordinarly high number of injuries was that apprentices were encouraged to report any incident, including near misses.
“The fact is these figures represent injuries that lead to compensable claims, not near misses.
“These figures show that the MBA is failing in their primary duty of care in relation to providing safe workplaces for apprentices in their employ.
“It beggars belief that the MBA can talk about caring about safety when they campaigned for the ABCC.
“It is on the public record that at the height of the previous ABCC under the Howard Government, fatalities rose considerably and workers were dragged through courts and prosecuted for speaking up about safety,” he said.
Mr O’Mara also called on Worksafe to do their job and prosecute employers who fail in their legal obligations.
The CFMEU is rallying in support of better safety on March 9.
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