WorkSafe concerned about Christmas deaths

Monday, 05 November, 2007

WorkSafe is urging Victorian employers, supervisors and workers to do all they can to prevent serious injuries and deaths before Christmas.

“In November and December last year, eight people died at work, nearly a quarter of the year’s total of 29,” WorkSafe’s executive director John Merritt said.

Twenty fatalities have been reported to WorkSafe so far this year.

“Warehouses, road transport and retailing are particularly busy in the pre-Christmas period while manufacturers and building trades are trying to finish work before an extended break.

“No one can afford to allow shortcuts to be taken with safety. What is often forgotten is that many serious injuries and so-called near-misses could have resulted in death.”

Merritt said although overall workplace fatalities are trending down, last year’s eight pre-Christmas deaths was a significant spike for a short period of the year.

“Everyone’s aim should be zero deaths and serious injuries, but I’m concerned that there is a consistent seasonal increase in fatalities ahead of what should be the happiest time of year.

“Ensuring people have the right training, suitable equipment and appropriate supervision must be a priority, as is not relying on a person’s experience and skill,” Merritt said.

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