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Horror 2016 For Victorian Workplaces

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Victorian workplaces must do more in 2017 to prioritise safety following a horror year in which 26 people lost their lives at work.


The warning from WorkSafe Victoria follows the worst year for fatalities since 2009. 

Of the 26 fatalities last year:

  • The youngest was 21 and the oldest was 94
  • 23 were men
  • 8 occurred in Melbourne and 18 were in regional Victoria
  • Eight were in agriculture and seven were in construction
  • Five involved tractors, four were caused by falling from height and three were electrocutions

WorkSafe’s Executive Director of Health and Safety, Marnie Williams, described the number of workplace fatalities in 2016 as “horrific”.

“Tragically, 26 Victorian workers did not make it home safely at the end of the day and their families didn’t get to celebrate Christmas and New Years with their loved one,” Ms Williams said.

“Twenty-six fatalities in a single year is horrific. It can never be acceptable that any worker in Victoria dies just because they are doing their job.”

Ms Williams said inspectors made more than 46,000 visits to workplaces across the state last year and would continue to target high-risk sectors in 2017. This will include the agriculture and construction sectors, which last year accounted for almost 58 per cent of fatalities.

But she said occupational health and safety laws were clear that keeping workers safe was the responsibility of every Victorian employer.

“While workers have a role to play in keeping themselves and others safe, the responsibility falls squarely on the shoulders of employers,” Ms Williams said.

“The consequences of failing to prioritise safety can be catastrophic. As well as the devastation suffered by families and friends, a workplace fatality has an enormous impact on colleagues and, ultimately, the business itself as it is the employer who will face the courts should there be a serious incident."

Ms Williams said the safest workplaces were those where employers and employees discussed - and acted upon - safety issues as part of their daily tasks.

“As Victorians begin a new working year, every employer and employee must do everything they can to keep their workplace safe,” Ms Williams said.

“Employers need to constantly reassess the work their employees are undertaking to ensure what they are doing and how they are doing it is safe. Employees need to do the same thing, and speak up if they see something that concerns them.

“If everyone does this, together we can strive to make 2017 a fatality-free year.”

Workplace fatalities in 2016

Date

Gender

Age

Description

5 JAN

Male

24

Electrician was electrocuted while working on external lights on the roof of a retail shop in Dallas

6 JAN

Male

21

Dairy farmer was electrocuted while working on a submersible pump in a drainage pit at Yarroweyah

9 JAN

Male

67

Man died after the tractor he was driving slid down an embankment into a dam at Kialla West

5 FEB

Male

59

Farmer fell off a ladder while doing repair work on gutters of a farm shed at Major Plains

15 FEB

Male

53

Construction worker fell 20m down a service riser shaft in Melbourne CBD

1 MAR

Female

30

Worker died after the dump truck she was driving fell into a quarry at Nyora

29 MAR

Male

70

Worker fell from a front end loader while undertaking maintenance work at Dimboola

6 APR

Male

42

A member of the public was seriously injured during treatment in a hyperbaric chamber in South Yarra and later died in hospital

9 APR

Male

34

Worker died after being caught in a bailing machine at a recycling plant in Dandenong South

13 APR

Male

48

Driver died after being run over by his concrete pumping truck at Apollo Bay

6 MAY

Male

29

Worker died after being struck by a Bobcat at a transfer station in Grovedale

20 MAY

Male

61

Farmer died after becoming entangled in a feed bin mixer on a farm at Echuca

21 MAY

Male

49

Farmer died when he became entangled in a large air drill/seeder being towed by a tractor at Marnoo

23 MAY

Male

61

Worker died after the dump truck he was driving fell into a quarry at Rockbank

29 MAY

Male

73

Farmer died after being run over by a backhoe at Navarre

31 MAY

Male

66

Man died after a brick fence he was repairing collapsed in Belmont

10 JUN

Male

39

Diving student drowned during a lesson at Mornington

10 JUN

Female

40

Dive instructor drowned during a lesson at Mornington

26 JUN

Male

69

Farmer died after becoming trapped under the quad bike he was operating at Pomborneit East

28 JUN

Male

70

Man died after being struck while training a race horse at Bunyip

11 AUG

Female

94

Resident in an aged care facility died after falling from a lifting machine while being assisted from her bed at Forest Hill

18 AUG

Male

33

Worker crushed by metal at a steel fabrication plant at Wodonga

31 AUG

Male

26

Apprentice electrician was electrocuted while installing an alarm system on the roof of a house in Camberwell

14 SEP

Male

55

Worker struck on the head by an excavator bucket and knocked to the ground at Elliminyt. He died several days later in hospital

26 OCT

Male

54

Worker crushed while operating a boom lift at a construction site at South Wharf

30 NOV

Male

67

Farmer crushed in a hay baler at a farm at Mt Duneed. He died several days later in hospital

 

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