Father of son killed in a tragic work death calls for forum

A FATHER who lost his son in a tragic work death has called on ALP and LNP leaders - whoever is elected - to support his push for a family of victims forum.

Michael Garrels' world was torn apart on February 27, 2012, when his son was electrocuted while at work at a building site in Clermont.

Jason Garrels was only 20 years old and should not have died, Mr Garrels said.

He sent a letter to Premier Campbell Newman and each sitting cabinet minister calling for a state forum that is representative of the families who have lost loved ones in workplace incidents.

Two companies have already pleaded guilty in the Mackay Industrial Magistrates Court to failing to discharge and electrical safety obligation in relation to Jason's death.

Daytona Trading Pty Ltd, which employed Jason, was fined $80,000 and Cold Spark Pty Ltd was fined $90,000. No conviction was recorded against either company.

Not prepared to sit back, Michael and his wife Lee also fought against legislation preventing an inquest from occurring until after the matters were finalised in court.

In November last year Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie introduced amendments to Section 29 of the Coroner's Act, which prevented a Coroner from conducting an inquest when other prosecutions were before the court.

The heartbroken parents are not prepared to stop there.

"We just want to make sure that when the worst does happen, that there are clear steps for people in our shoes to follow," Mr Garrels said yesterday.

"For too long victims' families have been left out of this whole system."

Mr Garrels said he and his family felt isolated and alone and found it very difficult to get answers to their questions.

"It's a logical support outlet to get the proper outcomes for victims' families," he said.


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