Workplace Deaths – where do families turn to?

There have been a recent spate of workplace deaths in Queensland, particularly in the mining industry.

Safe Work Australia’s statistics as published on their website outlines that:

  • There were 166 workplace deaths occurring in Australia in the 2019 calendar year.  That was an approximate 15% increase on the 144 workplace deaths that occurred in 2018. 
  • In 2018, 69% of workplace fatalities were due to events not related to a motor vehicle accident.
  • Of the 166 workplace deaths occurring in 2019, the following industries rated highest in number of deaths:
    1. Transport, postal and warehousing – 60
    2. Agriculture, forestry and fishing – 33
    3. Construction – 24
    4. Public Administration and Safety – 10
    5. Mining – 9

The tragedy of the failure of a worker to return home from their workplace safely is compounded by the social and economic devastation such events inflict upon their family members.

The workers’ compensation legislation in Queensland provides economic support to the dependants of those people fatally injured in workplace accidents in Queensland where they meet the definition of a “worker” under the legislation.

Dependants of a deceased worker include:

  • Spouse (including defacto spouse)
  • Dependant child
  • Dependant grandchild
  • Dependant foster child

The economic support provided by WorkCover Queensland depends upon a number of factors including whether the dependency on the deceased’s workers earnings was total or partial and the age of any dependant children. 

Further to any statutory entitlement to compensation, dependants may have rights to claim for common law damages should the incident giving rise to the worker’s death have occurred as a result of the negligence of their employer or a third party.

Outside of the workers’ compensation legislation, spouses and dependant children may look to any life insurance policies that may have existed either inside or outside of the worker’s superannuation account.

There is no amount of money that can compensate for the loss of a loved one.  It is hoped that the recent increase in the incidences of workplace fatalities is not a trend that continues. 

How can Crew Legal help?

Crew Legal pride ourselves on providing quality advice at the right price. We will ensure that you receive the best advice for your situation and are committed to ensuring that everybody has access to that advice.

We provide a first consultation completely free and with no obligation. If the claim is undertaken, we will proceed with such claims on a ‘No Win/No Fee’ basis.

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