Regulation News

?Tis the season to be careful

That?s the message to employers and workers. The warning marks the first anniversary of a horror spate of fatalities in which seven people died in just 12 days at workplaces around Victoria.

The seven workers died between 21 November and 2 December in 2011. A further two deaths later in December meant nine workers died in just 24 days and took the overall workplace fatalities in 2011 to 25.

In the past five years, 26 workers have died in November and December, an average of more than five deaths for this period each year.

Fourteen workers have died in workplaces so far this year, two less than at the same time last year.

WorkSafe executive director of health and safety Ian Forsyth said while Victoria was on track for a new record low rate of workplace injuries and fatalities, this is the most dangerous time of year.

?We?re concerned there may be a repeat of last year?s catastrophic end to the year where workplace fatalities occurred on an almost daily or weekly basis,? he said.

?Organisations rushing to finish jobs before their summer break  can mean that corners are cut and safety becomes less of a priority. It can be a lethal combination and it only takes a moment?s inattention for tragedy to strike.

?Fourteen deaths so far this year is 14 too many. Everyone should return home safe at the end of the day and when this doesn?t happen, it?s a tragedy for all involved ? families, friends, workmates, employers and the wider community.?

Forsyth said the majority of fatalities this year involved experienced workers carrying out routine tasks, which highlighted that no worker was immune to the risk of a serious or fatal workplace incident.

To drive home its pre-Christmas safety message, WorkSafe yesterday (9 December) launched a new public awareness campaign.

The WorkSafe warning coincides with the launch of a new website offering up-to-date training and advice on workplace safety. The new Safety First website, launched by the Group Training Association of Victoria, will help businesses to know their legal obligations and create safe workplaces.

GTAV executive director Gary Workman said many Australian businesses are still unaware of their new obligations now that the new Work Health and Safety  (WHS) harmonisation laws are being brought into play.

?The Safety First site allows employers to access information and training on safety that suits the needs of employers and workers and will make practical improvements to safety in their workplace,? Workman explained.

Sources: HC Online, Industry Update, WorkSafe

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