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MANY WORKPLACE FATALITIES ARE DESIGN-RELATED: NEW REPORT

14-11-2014
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in 

A number of work-related fatalities could have been avoided if risks had been eliminated through safe design, a new report shows.

Data released by Safe Work Australia in the Work-related fatalities associated with unsafe design of machinery, plant and powered tools, 2006-2011 report, found 36 percent of deaths were possibly design-related.

The study examined 523 fatalities in the study, with 188 of them either definitely or possibly design-related.

This means that design issues were specifically noted in the Coroner’s, prosecution or police reports or that there are existing solutions for these design issues that could have been applied and might have prevented the fatality.

“It is awful to think that the 188 people who lost their lives could still be with us if safe design principles were used, said Michelle Baxter, Safe Work Australia’s Chief Executive Officer.

“Good design—safe design—is the most effective and durable way to keep workers safe. If we can eliminate hazards and risks during the design of new machinery and equipment or by including an aftermarket enhancement then we can reduce injuries and fatalities in the workplace.”

According to the report the most common causes of design related deaths were:

·       Inadequate guarding (21 per cent)

·       Lack of roll-over protection structures/seat belts (15 per cent)

·       Lack of residual current device (12 per cent)

·       Lack of interlock (8 per cent), and

·       Driver obstructed vision (8 per cent).

“The findings in this report should act as a serious reminder to all employers and managers to re-evaluate the safety of the machinery they use. An inexpensive modification or aftermarket add-on could save a worker’s life,” said Ms Baxter.

For more information on safe design or to download the Safe Work Australia report visit: www.swa.gov.au.

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