The Fellows Foundation: Assisting families impacted by workplace fatalities

(Image: forgov)

Each year, around 200 Australian lives are lost through a traumatic death in the workplace, leaving families severely impacted. AfPA is shedding light on the works of the Fellows Foundation, which aims to support these families whole-heartedly.

Workplace fatalities affect hundreds of families each year. Around 200 Australians are killed at work and another 2000 die from occupational diseases year on year. Transport and construction industries, unfortunately, are among industries represented more in these numbers. The two sectors ranked first and third respectively in worker fatality rates in 2020, according to Safe Work Australia.

These incidents often have significant and prolonged economic, social and psychological impacts on families. For every worker killed on the job, there will typically be between 12 to 20 immediate family members and close friends and colleagues who will be affected. Children and young family members, in particular, can suffer long-term trauma as they lose a significant loved one, mentor and major income provider.

Moreover, families frequently feel isolated and ‘out of the loop’ in terms of institutional responses to workplace death. Without a single point of contact to assist them navigate the fallout, family members and close friends are left vulnerable, traumatised and confused as they continually retell and relive their story and therefore their grief.

For David Fellows, founder and chairman of the Fellows Foundation, the issue is one that’s very close to his heart. Nearly four years ago, David’s friend Ken Altoft was on traffic control duty on the Bruce highway near Sunshine Coast when he was fatally hit by a car around midnight. Over the past four years, David has seen, and experienced, first-hand the impact Ken’s death has had on his family and loved ones.

Having worked in occupational health and safety for over 30 years, David says he saw a need for a single source of contact that could provide timely, unbiased and agnostic support to those families impacted by a traumatic workplace death. This was how the Fellows Foundation was born.

Read more at Roads Online.