Thursday 18 December 2014

Workplace incidents claim seven lives in seven weeks

Victorians are being urged by the Victorian WorkCover Authority to take extra care at work in the lead-up to the holiday period, following a tragic seven-week period.


Since the end of October, seven people have lost their lives in workplace incidents:

30 October: A 28-year-old farmer died after being crushed by a silo on a farm in Boinka, in the state’s north-west.

6 November: A 27-year-old employee died in hospital after being bitten by a tiger snake in Jarrahmond. The man was weeding along a river bank when he was bitten.

15 November: A 15-year-old boy died on a pea farm in Mooroopna North when the forklift he was operating overturned and crushed him.

21 November: A 58-year-old contractor died after falling through the roof of a cold storage facility in Narre Warren North.

7 December: A nine month old boy died in hospital after being struck by a forklift at an automotive workshop in Moolap.

13 December: A 59-year-old woman died when the quad bike she was riding rolled down an embankment on a cattle farm in Devon North.

14 December: A hay contractor in his 60s died on a farm in Nar Nar Goon North after being struck by a tractor as it rolled down an embankment.

Executive Director of Health and Safety, Len Neist, said November and December were traditionally busy months for Victorian businesses, and it was important that shortcuts aren’t taken with workplace safety.

“The deaths are a solemn reminder of why it is so important to make safety at work your number one priority,” Mr Neist said.

“Everyone, whether you’re an employer or worker, has a role to play in staying safe at work. Approaching safety together to control risks is the best way to prevent serious injury or death in the workplace.

“Having safe systems of work, ensuring the right risk controls are in place, and ensuring that all workers are trained in the use of dangerous plant and machinery is crucial.”

Five of the seven workplace fatalities from 30 October occurred on rural properties.

“Whether you’re a farmer, living on a farm or even working in other industries, the pre-holiday rush can often be a very dangerous time of year. Complacency and distraction are key contributing factors to many fatalities,” Mr Neist said.

Mr Neist reminded Victorian farmers to reduce the risks of working alone by alerting a family member or friend to where they’re working and when.

“That way, if something does go wrong there is someone that knows when to expect your return and where to look if you don’t.”

Mr Neist also said it was important when operating machinery on a farm or other workplace to be mindful of the terrain, and to keep machinery clear of steep embankments.

Further Information

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