If you have suffered as a result of a work-related fatality or serious injury, you can direct message a request to join a closed support group via our Support for families of workplace fatalities, illness and injuries Facebook page.
Michael Garrels (Chair) and Lee Garrels
Michael and Lee work to empower and support others who have been affected by a workplace tragedy.
In 2012, Michael and Lee’s son, Jason, died on a construction site in Clermont after only nine days in the job. Jason was an easy-going, fun-loving 20-year-old whose death had a serious impact on his parents, siblings, friends and workmates.
As well as his work as Chair of the consultative committee, Michael speaks at events throughout Queensland as a Queensland safety advocate. He shares Jason’s story to encourage workers to be advocates for their own safety and prevent workplace deaths and injuries.
Sean O’Connor (Deputy Chair)
As Deputy Chair of the consultative committee, Sean works to prevent others from experiencing the grief of losing a loved one in an avoidable incident. His passion is consumer protection.
In 2017, Sean’s sister, Kerryn O’Connor, was electrocuted while handling an electrical appliance with a hidden failure.
Representing his parents, Jim and Robyn, Sean joined the committee after experiencing the devastating impact that Kerryn’s death had on his family. He has an electrical trade and experience leading staff in heavy industrial, transport and mining industries. This provides him with a practical insight into the health and safety challenges that workers face going about and doing their jobs.
Dan and Debbie Kennedy
Dan and Debbie encourage prioritising health and safety so people can go home at the end of the day to their loved ones.
Dan and Debbie’s son, Dale, was just 20 years old, a young father and close to finishing his electrical apprenticeship when he died from an electric shock while working in a ceiling space.
Dan and Debbie share Dale’s story at events throughout the state as Queensland safety advocates. They encourage workers, especially young workers, to speak up if they see something that is unsafe and to always turn the power off before working in a ceiling space.
Don and Julie Sager
Julie and Don work on the consultative committee to support people affected by a work-related disease and to raise awareness about asbestos-related diseases.
Don and Julie’s son, Adam, died of mesothelioma (an asbestos-related cancer) when he was just 25 years old. He had been exposed to asbestos fibres in 1983 as a toddler, when Don and Julie were building their home from a pre-fabricated kit. Adam’s mesothelioma took more than 20 years to develop and, from diagnosis, took only ten months to take his life in April 2007.
Luisa joined the consultative committee to ensure that people affected by workplace tragedies are fully supported and to help make important changes that can save lives and keep workers safe.
Luisa lost her partner and father to her children, Ashley Morris, in a workplace incident in October 2016. Ashley and his work colleague died when they were crushed by two concrete panels on a construction site. Ashley’s tragic death seriously impacted on Luisa, their children, family, friends and workmates. They have all suffered with their loss.
David has worked in civil construction and mining industries where he has seen the consequences of injury and, in some cases deaths, at work. He has also been personally affected by workplace injuries. Using this experience, he now works to encourage different approaches to workplace health and safety that workers are motivated to use.
David is currently studying law with the intention to work in law reform after graduating. He gives his time to a number of organisations that provide services or work towards better public outcomes, particularly for vulnerable groups within the community.
Samantha’s appointment to the consultative committee came after a family member’s tragic workplace fatality in 2017. She now works on the committee to ensure that families are supported and heard during, throughout and after the investigative process, to advocate and raise awareness about the importance of installing safety switches and bringing light to the dangers of working with electricity around water.
Samantha also has a keen interest in safety reforms and electrical safety.