Industrial Issues Can Create Risks

The 4 Corners programme on the ABC on 9 July 2012 looked at the death of a young diver in the pearling industry in Western Australia. It is a death that is still being investigated by WorkSafe.

The Four Corners story raises serious questions about safety standards within the pearling industry. It's a dangerous job, but it's been revealed there was no safety boat, or a standby diver and no defibrillator on board for resuscitation.

Pay cuts of approximately $20.000 a season resulted in many divers leaving the industry and many were replaced by new divers with no experience in the specialised and dangerous work of drift diving. As a former diver said "With a mass exodus like that, you can't put that many green divers into water with a few experienced guys to look after 'em".

Occupational Health and Safety Authorities usually consider that industrial issues that are outside of their purview. This programme challenges that. Occupational health and safety cannot be separated from industrial issues.