The Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) has supported recommendations made by a coroner in Dubbo following the death of a young woman while she was rouseabouting near Walgett.
Nanjing Night Net

The union wrote to WorkCover on Monday requesting a meeting with the respondents to the shearing industry, organiser Terry O’Connor said.

Coroner Hugh Dillon made recommendations to improve safety in the workplace at last week’s inquest held in Dubbo, into the death of Julia McLean.

The 19-year-old died on November 16 in 2007 as a result of respiratory failure – acute lung syndrome, when she was working as a rouseabout at a shearing shed.

Ultimately, medical attention should have been sought a lot sooner than it was, Magistrate Dillon concluded.

In his closing address, he recommended that:

n An industry alert and fact sheet be available in shearing sheds with information on emergency response and first aid

n That there be a first aid kit available to shearers

n That at least one member of a shearing team be trained in first aid

“It is a terrible tragedy that this young lady has died and the AWU will do whatever it can to make sure the recommendations handed down by the coroner are implemented,” Mr O’Connor said.

“What concerns me is the inference of Magistrate Dillon’s recommendation; it appears to me that there is no information in or around the shearing shed that clearly identified where a first aid kit was and what to do if an emergency happened.”

WorkCover NSW is also looking at how to make the recommendations a reality, following the inquest.

“WorkCover attended the coronial hearing to provide advice and assistance on work health and safety matters,” a spokesperson for the authority said.

Farmsafe Australia endorsed the recommendations as well.

Magistrate Dillon concluded that the acute lung syndrome was most likely caused by Goodpasture’s Disease, an auto-immune disease – specifically, pulmonary haemorrhage or bleeding in the lungs.

The cause of the disease could not be determined but possible causes included a lung infection or chemical exposure.

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