WorkSafe Victoria has warned Victorian businesses that they must do more to improve safety after a “horror” year that saw the highest number of fatalities in the state since 2009 (when 30 people died at work).
“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 Year with their loved one,” WorkSafe’s executive director of health and safety Marnie 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.”
Of the 26 fatalities, seven were in construction, including two in the quarrying industry. A 61-year-old man died after the dump truck he was in rolled over at an undisclosed quarry in Plumpton, Victoria, on 23 May. Two months earlier, on 1 March, a 30-year-old female dump truck driver died at Nyora Quarry in South Gippsland.
According to statistics on the Safe Work Australia website, there were seven fatalities in mining, which incorporates gravel and sand quarrying in 2016.
‘High risk sectors’
Williams described the agriculture and construction sectors, which in 2016 accounted for almost 58 per cent of fatalities, as “high risk sectors”. She said WorkSafe Victoria would “target” workplaces in these industries in 2017 after inspectors made more than 46,000 visits to work sites across the state in the past year.
Williams urged employers and employees alike to discuss and act 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,” 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.”