Tragedy stalks Victorian workplaces

WORKSAFE has appealed to Victorian employers and workers to go back to basics and review work practices, equipment guarding, training and maintenance to maximise safe workplaces.

WORKSAFE has appealed to Victorian employers and workers to go back to basics and review work practices, equipment guarding, training and maintenance to maximise safe workplaces.

The appeal follows the recent deaths of two men in a week, along with a series of serious incidents.

A man died when he was pulled into a lathe at an Alphington factory and two days later a man died at Terang as he prepared to load a bulldozer onto a truck. In the second incident, the man appears to have been struck by a loading ramp that was being lowered.

Investigations into both matters continue. Fifteen work-related deaths have been reported to WorkSafe this year. WorkSafe’s Executive Director John Merritt outlined a number of other serious injuries in recent days, including the amputation of a man’s hand in a sawmill at Heyfield, a structural collapse at a Kyneton building site which left a building worker with internal injuries, and an electrical explosion at Southbank on Monday which left a man with burns.

“None of these people, their employers or workmates would have expected these incidents to happen. The reality is that it can happen to you.”

“Our expectation is that employers and workers meet the minimum requirements of Victoria’s workplace health and safety laws and that there is consultation on the development of safety improvement plans,” Merritt said.

“Business owners, managers, recent and long-serving employees all have a role to play. What everyone needs to understand is that it is not enough to rely on experience and skill as the primary safety management system. It doesn’t work.”

“Properly established work systems, planning, proper training and equipment, not taking shortcuts or allowing them to be taken is how safe workplaces can be maintained.”

“Don’t wait until tragedy strikes. Anticipate the potential and do preventative work now,” Merritt said.

WorkSafe 1800 136 089.