NSCA Foundation

Workplaces must do more to prevent deaths

Tuesday, 05 February, 2019

Workplaces must do more to prevent deaths

Victorian businesses are being urged to take extra care with the safety of their workers this year, after 23 people died in workplace incidents in 2018.

Already five workers have lost their lives in workplace incidents in 2019.

The number of workplace deaths last year was four less than in 2017, but still five more than in 2012, which had the lowest number of deaths in the past decade.

Most of the deaths in 2018 occurred in the construction and agriculture sectors, which recorded nine and eight respectively. Tragically, seven of these deaths were workers aged 25 and under.

WorkSafe Victoria Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said failure to identify and manage hazards was an ongoing concern, especially on farms and where vehicles and plant were involved.

“We urge every employer to consult with their workers about health and safety and to do all they can to make their workplace a safe one in 2019,” Nielsen said.

“Twenty-three families last year suffered the heartbreak of losing a loved one in a workplace incident that should never have happened. Many others have been dramatically affected through avoidable injuries at work.”

Nielsen said high-risk sectors, including construction and agriculture, would continue to be the target of WorkSafe inspectors, who made more than 48,000 visits to workplaces across the state in 2018.

“WorkSafe will not hesitate to prosecute those who fail to adhere to these life-protecting laws,” she said.

Of the 23 workplace fatalities last year:

  • Seven were workers aged between 15 and 25, up from zero in the previous year.
  • 21 occurred in regional Victoria and seven in metropolitan Melbourne.
  • A 12-year-old boy run over by a tractor towing a spreading attachment on a farm near Leitchville was the youngest.
  • The oldest was a 77-year-old man run over by a trailer at a property at Ouyen.
  • Nine occurred in construction and eight on farms.
  • Nine involved machine and mobile plant, including cranes, excavators, tractors, spreaders and trucks, and three involved trench incidents, including two collapses.
  • All but two were male.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Thongsuk

NSCA Foundation is a member based, non-profit organisation working together with members to improve workplace health and safety throughout Australia. For more information and membership details click here
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