WorkSafe Urges Caution As Victoria Enters High-Incident November and December

Worksafe Victoria has urged employers and workers to “slow down and put safety first” during November and December, the two months that account for 22.3% of all workplace deaths.

According to WorkSafe, 53 Victorian workers died over November and December during 2008 and 2017.

SafeWork Australia showed a year-round high of 25 workplace deaths deemed notifiable fatalities in November 2017. SWA recorded 22 deaths in December of the same year. The largest proportion occurred in the transport, postal, and warehousing sectors.

According to Worksafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen, busy workloads and tighter deadlines contributed to an unintentional relaxation of safety standards.

“There is no excuse for workplaces to cut corners on safety,” Ms. Nielsen said in a statement.

“Workplace health and safety is the responsibility of everyone, and as holidays approach it is essential employers and workers take the time to slow down and not rush to get things done. There is no situation where getting a job finished is more important than coming home safely at the end of the day.”

Worksafe urges workers to remind themselves of five workers who lost their lives due to workplace incidents, making “November and December a tragic time for five families” involved.

  • A 27-year-old man who died due to bee stings while working in a garden at Dunkeld.
    • A 72-year-old man who died when the rough terrain utility vehicle he was driving tipped over on a property at Bonnie Doon.
    • A 76-year-old-man who died in hospital from burns caused by a shed fire at a property near Rokewood.
    • A 59-year-old man crushed while loading heavy machinery into a shipping container at a former dairy processing plant at Leitchville.
    • A 49-year-old man who crushed by a bull while drafting livestock at a cattle property at Dunkeld.

“These incidents left families, friends and communities mourning the loss of a loved one during what should have been a happy, celebratory finish to the year,” she said.

“They also show the dangers are not just confined to one industry, so everyone must remain vigilant, no matter what type of workplace they are in.

“The grain and hay harvests have arrived on farms, the construction industry will be trying to finish projects before the Christmas shutdown, and the transport and warehouse sectors will have the Christmas rush to contend with, so it is a busy time of year for many workers.

“We urge employers to make sure busy deadlines don’t compromise safety, and we ask every worker to think about the job at hand.

“We want everyone to have a happy Christmas, and not be mourning the loss of a loved one, or dealing with a workplace injury.”

Over October and November, Worksafe is focused on scaffolding safety in the construction industry, emphasising safe systems of work and proper licencing and training for all workers.

For more information, read their PDF fact sheet.

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