Workplace fatalities a wake-up call for employers and workers


Twenty-six Victorian workers died in the last financial year due to lapses in workplace safety, according to WorkSafe VIC.

All but one of these workers was male – a female vineyard worker in Woori Yallock died after being struck by a falling branch during heavy storms in June.

Four of the fatalities occurred in Melbourne, and 22 in regional VIC. 

Regional fatalities included the double fatality of a father and son at Rainbow, who were electrocuted when the windmill they were transporting struck an overhead powerline.

The workplace fatality toll for 2009/10 was one lower than the previous financial year, where 27 workplace fatalities were recorded.

“The workplace fatality toll serves as a continual reminder to employers and workers that health and safety can be a life or death matter,” WorkSafe’s Strategic Programs Director Trevor Martin said.

“We know the overwhelming majority of deaths and workplace injuries can be predicted and therefore prevented – however, complacency and simple mistakes are still killing people needlessly,” he said.

One third of the workplace fatalities for the 2009/10 year occurred on farms, compared to seven farming fatalities in the previous financial year. Of these nine fatalities, five involved tractors. 

The fatality toll also included three falls from heights ranging from a little over 2m to 20m. 

Five workers were electrocuted after contact with exposed wires on machinery, and striking underground and overhead power lines. 

A further four people died after being struck by sheets of glass, a bag of salt, computer equipment that fell from a forklift, and a tree branch.

Other fatalities included a lathe operator dying after being struck in the head by a metal rod he was shaping, and a man delivering beer kegs being overcome by a gas leak in a hotel cellar.

WorkSafe VIC
Ph: 1800 136 089

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