Victoria workplace death toll at highest level in eight years

Monday, 30 November, 2009

Victoria’s current high work-related death toll has prompted WorkSafe to call on employers and workers to take a zero-tolerance approach to safety issues in the last month of the year.

The death of a man near Mansfield in November took to 25 the number of Victorians who have died in traumatic circumstances at work this year. There have been two deaths in November and seven since the start of October.

WorkSafe’s Executive Director, John Merritt, said the last few weeks of the year put at risk people who needed to get work finished before holidays or who were building up to the busiest time of year: “Whether you’re in construction where jobs have to be finished before a lengthy summer shutdown or retailing, warehousing and road transport which are becoming increasingly busy, now is the time to ensure high safety standards are applied.”

Merritt added that the seven recent deaths and recent serious incidents were signs that employers and workers had to do more to make workplaces safer, saying: “Safety is principally the responsibility of employers and its WorkSafe’s job to enforce the law. We take that responsibility seriously and expect others to do the same.

“Unless a tougher-minded approach is taken to safety at the business level, our death and injury toll will continue to spiral upwards at the cost of the entire community.”

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