Friday 07 December 2012

One Victorian worker injured every 18 minutes

One worker is injured every 18 minutes at workplaces around Victoria, according to new data released by WorkSafe.

The grim statistic has been released by WorkSafe to highlight the launch of a new public awareness campaign aimed at keeping safety uppermost in the minds of employers and employees in the lead-up to Christmas.

The new campaign, which was launched today by the Assistant Treasurer, Mr Gordon Rich-Phillips, centres around the impact that a near-death experience at work has on a worker and his family.

“Only a worker who has suffered a near miss, an injury or – worse still – seen a colleague die at work fully understands the impact that this has on themselves and the people around them,” Mr Rich-Phillips said.

“This time of year is a dangerous one for workplace fatalities, but we should never lose sight of the fact that injuries and near misses can also be extremely traumatising.”

Mr Rich-Phillips said that in the past 12 months, 28,478 people had made an injury claim after being hurt at work. That equated to one injury about every 18 minutes.

“While Victoria is the safest state to work in Australia, it has the lowest number of injury claims per hours worked – campaigns such as this remind everyone that we can do more to keep workplaces safe,” he said.

WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety, Ian Forsyth, said that while workplace fatalities in Victoria were at historic lows, this was the most dangerous time of the year. In 2011, in just a six-week period prior to Christmas, nine workers lost their lives.

“No one wants to see such a terrible toll ever again,’’ he said.

“Organisations rushing to finish jobs before their Christmas break and peak periods for farming – such as the grain and hay harvests – can mean that corners are cut and safety becomes less of a priority.

“At this time last year, 23 people had been killed at Victorian workplaces; fourteen people have died so far this year but that’s 14 too many. Everyone should return home safe at the end of the day.”

Injured worker Grant McKinna, who helped launch the new campaign, understands how quickly disaster can strike.

Mr McKinna had his right hand badly crushed and almost severed when a 1.5 tonne machine he was installing fell after a lifting device failed.

Mr McKinna, of Mill Park, who is married with three children, has endured seven operations and has more to come. But he still describes himself as an “extremely lucky man”.

“It happened in an instant. My head could have been in the way and it could have killed me,” he said.

He has a simple message for employers and employees in the build-up to Christmas.

“Please don’t cut corners or compromise safety. A near miss is just one tiny step away from a serious injury or a terrible fatality.”

The statewide campaign includes TV and radio advertisements, billboards at strategic locations across the state and has a strong social media focus.


Home Early

Further Information

WorkSafe media enquiries: Rosanna Bonaccurso: 0478 305 640, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Peter Flaherty: 0478 881 663, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Public enquiries: Call the WorkSafe Advisory Service on 1800 136 089 between 8:30am and 5pm Monday to Friday, email or write to Advisory Service, PO Box 4306, Melbourne, 3001.