25 workplace deaths in Victoria this year

WorkSafe Victoria has recorded nine work-related deaths since 21 November.

Yesterday afternoon, a man has died in remote country in the Otways after a tree fell on him. The incident happened around 2pm at Gellibrand. WorkSafe has sent inspectors and investigators to the scene near the Colac-Lavers Hill Rd.

The incident is Victoria’s second work-related death this week and follows a fatal acetylene gas explosion outside a Mulgrave house on Monday.

Yesterday’s incidents brings Victoria’s workplace death toll for the year to 25.

WorkSafe’s General Manager of Operations, Lisa Sturzenegger said the latest incidents were indicative of broader issues.

“We feel for the families, workmates and friends of all of these people who are suffering so much,” Sturzenegger said.

“While our investigations into all of these incidents continue, we have to urge the entire community to ensure safety does not slide down the list of priorities.”

Sturzenegger noted that when it does get busy in the workplace, the focus should always be about maximising safety.

“Things may be running behind or there’s just too much to do in a fast-narrowing time window, but no matter what the pressure, the focus must be about maximising safety at every level,” she said.

“The difference between an incident that kills or causes a minor injury is not great.”

Sturzenegger referred to this week’s Monash Freeway truck crash and the Rowville service station explosion saying that it could easily have taken multiple lives, but thankfully they didn’t.

However she noted that the impact on those directly involved and the broader community has been enormous.

“As our pre-Christmas campaign shows, everyone is entitled to go home at the end of the day, but WorkSafe can’t do it alone. Every Victorian employer and worker has a part to play to make our workplaces as safe as possible,” Sturzenegger said.

“Even for the most routine of jobs, immediately review safety and ensure risks are eliminated. If you don’t do it today, it may be too late tomorrow.

“In virtually every situation, the risks are known; so are the solutions.”