Workplace death toll at highest level in eight years


Victoria’s work-related death toll is at the highest point for this time of the year since 2001.

It has prompted WorkSafe to call on employers and workers to take a zero-tolerance approach to safety issues in the last six weeks of the year.

The death of a man near Mansfield last week took to 25 the number of Victorians who have died in traumatic circumstances at work this year.

There have been two deaths this month and seven since the start of October. That’s the same figure for the last three months of 2008.

WorkSafe’s Executive Director, John Merritt, said the last few weeks of the year put at risk people who needed to get work finished before holidays or who were building-up to the busiest time of year.

“Whether you’re in construction where jobs have to be finished before a lengthy summer shutdown or retailing, warehousing and road transport which are becoming increasingly busy, now is the time to ensure high safety standards are applied.”

Mr Merritt said the seven recent deaths and recent serious incidents were signs that employers and workers had to do more to make workplaces safer.

“Safety is principally the responsibility of employers and it’s WorkSafe’s job to enforce the law. We take that responsibility seriously and expect others to do the same.

“Unless a tougher-minded approach is taken to safety at the business level our death and injury toll will continue to spiral upwards at the cost of the entire community.”

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