Bunbury local among families fighting for work death laws

Ailish DelaneyBunbury Herald
Jayden’s father, Greg Zappelli, wants there to be stronger deterrents for preventable workplace deaths.
Camera IconJayden’s father, Greg Zappelli, wants there to be stronger deterrents for preventable workplace deaths. Credit: Photogs name/SUPPLIED

A Bunbury father who has been fighting for change since the workplace death of his son in 2013 hopes the introduction of industrial manslaughter laws will prevent other families from going through the same heartache.

Greg Zappelli was one of eight representatives united by the tragic death of loved ones who shared their stories at a Parliamentary committee hearing in Perth on Wednesday.

The group, Families Left Behind, has been lobbying for the implementation of industrial manslaughter as part of the Work Health and Safety Bill 2019, which passed the Lower House in February.

Fighting for change, the group wants to ensure the industrial manslaughter provisions remain in the Bill before it goes to the Upper House.

Mr Zappelli’s son, Jayden, 18, was doing work experience in the hope of getting an apprenticeship, when he was electrocuted due to the power not being isolated on the circuit being worked on.

Jayden Zappelli, 18, died while on work experience when the power was not isolated on the circuit he was working on.
Camera IconJayden Zappelli, 18, died while on work experience when the power was not isolated on the circuit he was working on. Credit: David Bailey/David Bailey

Mr Zappelli said the company and supervisor failed in their duty of care to Jayden, costing Jayden his life.

Both parties pleaded guilty and were fined $38,000 and $6800, with legal fees and penalties paid for by indemnity insurance organised by Master Electricians.

“A company can have no safety in place, pay an insurance premium and be indemnified for legal costs and penalties – it’s disgusting,” Mr Zappelli said.

“Where is the deterrent and where is the justice for families?”

He said that industrial manslaughter provisions were important as a deterrent and to ensure businesses were held accountable if they failed in their duty of care to their employees.

“If an employer has his safety policies and procedures in place, then he has nothing to fear with these changes.”

Mr Zappelli said Families Left Behind was trying to take a positive step forward with the Bill.

If we can prevent deaths from happening that’s all we can do to make some sense of our loved ones losing their lives.

Greg Zappelli

“This is not about trying to put people in jail, rather having strong enough deterrents so that it puts safety in the forefront of businesses’ minds.

“If you then choose to roll the dice with people’s lives, then why should you not be held accountable?”

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