WorkSafe has published its statistics for 2016 and it doesn’t paint a pretty picture. With 26 people losing their lives at work, 2016 was the worst year for work place fatalities since 2009.
According to the WorkSafe website:
Of the 26 fatalities last year:
The youngest was 21 and the oldest was 94
23 were men
8 occurred in Melbourne and 18 were in regional Victoria
Eight were in agriculture and seven were in construction
Five involved tractors, four were caused by falling from height and three were electrocutions
WorkSafe’s Executive Director of Health and Safety, Marnie Williams, described the number of workplace fatalities in 2016 as “horrific”.
“Tragically, 26 Victorian workers did not make it home safely at the end of the day and their families didn’t get to celebrate Christmas and New Years with their loved one,” Ms Williams said.
“Twenty-six fatalities in a single year is horrific. It can never be acceptable that any worker in Victoria dies just because they are doing their job.
“While workers have a role to play in keeping themselves and others safe, the responsibility falls squarely on the shoulders of employers,” Ms Williams said.
“The consequences of failing to prioritise safety can be catastrophic. As well as the devastation suffered by families and friends, a workplace fatality has an enormous impact on colleagues and, ultimately, the business itself as it is the employer who will face the courts should there be a serious incident."
“As Victorians begin a new working year, every employer and employee must do everything they can to keep their workplace safe,” Ms Williams said.
As the grim statistics show, a great majority of fatalities occurred in regional Victoria, in areas like Bass Coast and Gippsland. Not to minimize the impact of fatalities in urban areas, but in regional areas where communities are smaller and tighter a death a work or on the road affects a large circle of that community.
It may sometimes escape the day to day operation of the business but as Ms Williams said “occupational health and safety laws were clear that keeping workers safe was the responsibility of every Victorian employer”.
Let’s all work together to make 2017 safe and with zero fatalities in the workplace.