Work Safety Advocate, Author & Speaker
Helen Fiztroy is passionate about work safety and it’s easy to understand why. When she was in her early 30s, her husband died in a mining accident, leaving her to raise her three children on her own.
At the time of her husband Steve’s death, mining fatalities were largely ‘normalised’ by both companies and government regulators. Such tragedies were considered part of the business and virtually no support was offered to families to enable them to move forward with their lives.
Helen Fitzroy has managed to change all of that by creating awareness with advocacy, writing and powerful keynote presentations. She has travelled extensively throughout Australia, delivering safety presentations to companies and their employees, to illustrate the importance of both parties’ commitment to safety at work.
More about Helen Fitzroy:
When Helen Fitzroy lost her husband to a mining accident in Norseman, WA in 1991, one of the strategies she used to cope with her circumstance was to write – she wrote to her husband, but wrote largely for herself and small children. As a consequence of her writing, several years later, Just a Number was published. The book outlines the journey she and her children took for the five years after Steve’s death, as they waded through the quagmire of emotional, legal and bureaucratic processes that make up the life of families bereaved by a workplace fatality.
Just a Number is now used largely throughout industry around Australia, as a means of informing workers and their families of the dire consequences on loved ones, and of the devastation of a workplace fatality. In 2007, Just a Number was reproduced as a DVD.
Helen is devoted to campaigning for both improved safety within the mining sector, and for improved, on-going support for bereaved family members. In 2010, as a result of her work in this area, the Western Australian Resource Workers Legacy Scheme was established (known as The Miners Promise), and she was appointed Chairperson of the Board.
This organisation provides emotional and practical support to ensure that no family of a resource worker is left in a position of poverty or isolation following the death of a loved one and that they receive a diverse range of on-going support, to meet individual members’ and their family’s needs. The initiative was subsequently expanded, enabling resource workers, no matter what their jurisdiction, to be eligible to become members.
In recognition of her tireless efforts, Helen was awarded WA Local Hero of the Year 2012 – a category of the Australian of the Year. She is also a qualified Grief Counsellor, assisting other family members who have found themselves in a similar position to her family, to cope with the burden of the loss of a loved one.
Helen Fitzroy talks about:
- Walking the Talk – The Road to Safety
- Just a Number
- Is YOUR Number Up?
Thank you for your very thought-provoking and moving talk. We really appreciate how much everyone's attention to implementing and maintaining safe work practices makes a positive difference to our quality of life both at work and at home. I'm sure that you have inspired many of us to be more aware and proactive in making changes happen. Thank you.
-RCR Resources Eagle
Your presentation was extremely powerful. Personally for me, it made me appreciate the role I am in even more, and like you, want others to learn from the past and prevent incidents in the workplace.
-Thiess Georgiou JV
One aspect of your presentation that really hit me hard were the numbers of people who have been unfortunate enough to make your list. I would've thought stats like that would be from the 1800's- and that's only in Western Australia... Thanks for being so brave and bold. You really are making a difference to the way people think (and work).