Safety an issue in Victorian workplaces

Tuesday, 12 June, 2007

The recent deaths of two men in Victorian workplaces have led to an appeal by WorkSafe for industries to review workplace safety.

WorkSafe has appealed to Victorian employers and workers to go back to basics and reassess work practices, equipment guarding, training and maintenance to maximise safe workplaces.

A man died when he was pulled into a lathe at an Alphington factory on Friday 1 June. The following Sunday a man died at Terang, appearing to have been struck by a lowering ramp as he prepared to load a bulldozer on to a truck. Investigations into both matters continue.

These incidents are the most recent of 15 work-related deaths reported to WorkSafe this year.

WorkSafe's executive director John Merritt said there had also been a number of serious injuries in the past month, including the amputation of a man's hand in a sawmill at Heyfield; a structural collapse at a Kyneton building site which left a building worker with internal injuries and an electrical explosion at Southbank which left a man with burns.

"None of these people, their employers or workmates would have expected these incidents to happen. The reality is that it can happen to you," said Merrit.

"Business owners, managers, recent and long-serving employees all have a role to play. What everyone needs to understand is that it is not enough to rely on experience and skill as the primary safety management system. It doesn't work.

"Properly established work systems, planning, proper training and equipment, not taking shortcuts or allowing them to be taken is how safe workplaces can be maintained."

WorkSafe provides a free, three-hour advisory service for small and medium businesses looking to improve their workplace safety.

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