Painter dies in hospital after 4m fall

Publication Date:22 February 2017

A 69-year-old man who suffered critical head injuries on Sunday after falling four metres at a construction site at Merricks North on the Mornington Peninsula has died in hospital from his injuries.

The tragic incident takes the number of workplace fatalities in 2017 to three.

On 11 January, a 61-year-old woman driving a tractor towing fruit bins across a main road near Mildura was struck and killed by a truck.

On 18 February, a 52-year-old worker was crushed by a load of steel which fell from a forklift at a scrap metal yard at Foster in South Gippsland.

On 17 February, a 38-year-old man also died when his quad bike overturned on a property at Reedy Flat, near Ensay, in east Gippsland. However, it is yet to be determined if the property is a workplace.

All incidents are currently under investigation.

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Two dead and one injured in horror weekend

Publication Date:20 February 2017

Two men were killed and another suffered critical head injuries in three separate incidents at the weekend.

On Friday, a man in his late 30s died when his quad bike overturned on a property at Reedy Flat, near Ensay, in east Gippsland. It has not yet been determined if the property is a workplace or a hobby farm.

On Saturday, a worker in his early 50s was crushed by a load of steel which fell from a forklift at a scrap metal yard at Foster in South Gippsland.

Yesterday, a painter in his late 60s suffered critical head injuries after falling four metres at a construction site at Merricks North on the Mornington Peninsula.

The three incidents are being investigated by WorkSafe.

WorkSafe’s Executive Director of Health and Safety, Marnie Williams, described each incident as horrifying.

“It is a tragedy that three men didn’t make it home safely at the end of the day,” Ms Williams said.

Ms Williams said agriculture and construction were high-risk industries so safety had to be a priority.

“Quad bikes are involved in many fatalities in agriculture while falls from heights kill and injure far too many workers in the construction sector,” Ms Williams said. “Forklifts are involved in many injuries and fatalities across a wide variety of industries.

“These are all well-known risks, which is why it is unacceptable that people continue to die and be injured using these types of machinery or undertaking these types of tasks.”

Ms Williams said it was critical that appropriate systems were in place to ensure such risks were reduced or eliminated.

“The events of the weekend tragically highlight why safety must always be a priority,” she said.

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Building regulators heading to Geelong and Surf Coast

Publication Date:14 February 2017

Builders will have access to a range of construction industry experts when regulators visit Geelong and the Surf Coast next week to examine safety and building compliance.

A week of site inspections will be undertaken by representatives from the Victorian Building Authority (VBA), WorkSafe Victoria, Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV), Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) and Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA).

The inspections are part of the Build Aware joint initiative, created by the five regulators to increase awareness in the construction and demolition sector about the importance of complying with building, construction, environment, consumer rights and OH&S laws and regulations.

More than 100 inspections are expected across the Geelong and Surf Coast region from 20-24 February. They will be preceded by a special information breakfast for local builders on 17 February at Fagg’s Mitre 10 in Geelong South.

VBA Director of Enquiries, Inspections and Complaints, Murray Smith, said representatives from the different agencies will visit construction and demolition sites to provide on-the-spot advice to builders to ensure they understand their legal responsibilities.

“VBA inspectors will also assist builders and owner builders in fire safety regulations for new builds and retrofits of existing dwellings,” Mr Smith said.

EPA South West Regional Manager, Carolyn Francis, said EPA officers will focus on the management of construction and demolition waste materials.

“Construction and demolition activities generate a range of industrial waste materials such as concrete, timber, brick, asbestos and soil that may be contaminated,” she said.

“This waste can potentially pollute the environment and pose a public health risk if it’s not managed responsibly. EPA officers will be ensuring that sites are identifying and managing wastes at building sites appropriately.”

EPA officers will also focus on ensuring stormwater is not affected by demolition activities.

WorkSafe Regional Operations Manager, Trevor Butler, said it was critical for builders to prioritise safety at construction sites.

“Construction sites are dynamic in nature because they change from day to day. So do the safety hazards and risks that must be controlled to prevent a serious incident,” Mr Butler said.

“WorkSafe will pay particular attention to the risk of falling objects and building materials at construction sites during these inspections.”

A free trade breakfast and information session will be held at Fagg’s Mitre 10, 1-9 Barwon Terrace, South Geelong on Friday 17 February from 7am so the building industry can hear from regulators and ask questions about what to expect during the week of inspections.

A social media campaign to alert the Geelong and Surf Coast community to the Build Aware program has also begun.

For more information on safety at construction sites visit 

VBA Nicole Swift 0425 756 323 CAV Ben Radisich 03 8684 8340 EPA 03 9695 2704
ESV Sharon Rainsbury 0427 990 834 WorkSafe Peter Flaherty 0478 881 663

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