Staying safe at the end of the working year

Monday, 12 November, 2018

Staying safe at the end of the working year

Workers and employers are being reminded about the importance of workplace safety as the festive season approaches.

November and December are traditionally the most dangerous time of the year in Victorian workplaces.

Between 2008 and 2017 in Victoria, 53 people died in the months of November and December as a result of workplace incidents. This two-month period accounts for 22.3% of all workplace deaths.

WorkSafe Victoria Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said the busy workloads and tight deadlines that often occur at this time of year are no excuse for workplaces to cut corners on safety.

“Workplace health and safety is the responsibility of everyone, and as holidays approach it is essential employers and workers take the time to slow down and not rush to get things done,” Nielsen said.

“There is no situation where getting a job finished is more important than coming home safely at the end of the day.”

Last year November and December became a tragic time for five families who lost loved ones in workplace incidents.

These included:

  • a 27-year-old man who died after being stung by bees while working in a garden at Dunkeld
  • a 72-year-old man who died when the rough terrain utility vehicle he was driving tipped over on a property at Bonnie Doon
  • a 76-year-old-man who died in hospital from burns caused by a fire in a shed at a property near Rokewood
  • a 59-year-old man who was crushed while loading heavy machinery into a shipping container at a former dairy processing plant at Leitchville
  • a 49-year-old man who was crushed by a bull while drafting livestock at a cattle property at Dunkeld.

Nielsen said the incidents showed it was important for every workplace to take care in the lead-up to Christmas.

“These incidents left families, friends and communities mourning the loss of a loved one during what should have been a happy, celebratory finish to the year,” she said.

“They also show the dangers are not just confined to one industry, so everyone must remain vigilant, no matter what type of workplace they are in.

“The grain and hay harvests have arrived on farms, the construction industry will be trying to finish projects before the Christmas shutdown, and the transport and warehouse sectors will have the Christmas rush to contend with, so it is a busy time of year for many workers.

“We urge employers to make sure busy deadlines don’t compromise safety, and we ask every worker to think about the job at hand.

“We want everyone to have a happy Christmas, and not be mourning the loss of a loved one, or dealing with a workplace injury.”

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