Plea for vigilance following first workplace death of 2016

WorkSafe has called on all Victorian workplaces to be vigilant about safety following the tragic death of a 24-year-old electrician at Dallas in Melbourne’s northern suburbs on Tuesday.
News article published

Thursday 07 Jan 2016

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The incident was the first workplace death of 2016.

WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety, Marnie Williams, said it was a devastating beginning to the new working year.

“This is a heartbreaking start to 2016 and our thoughts are with the family of this young man during this difficult time,” Ms Williams said.

“Every worker has the right to return home safe at the end of the day and this incident is a tragic reminder that workplace safety can never be taken for granted.”

Ms Williams said that, tragically, 20 Victorians had lost their lives at work in 2015.

“Twenty families had to face Christmas and the new year without their loved one due to workplace incidents in 2015,” Ms Williams said. “No death at work is acceptable and we are calling on Victorian employers to do everything they can to prevent these kind of tragedies.”

Of the 20 fatalities last year:

Nine occurred in November, making it the worst month for workplace deaths in more than a decade

The youngest worker killed was 19 and the oldest was 86

19 of the fatalities were men

11 of the fatalities were in Melbourne and nine were in regional Victoria

Industries with the highest number of fatalities were agriculture (seven deaths) and construction (six deaths).

According to Ms Williams, the agriculture and construction sectors would remain a priority for WorkSafe in 2016.  

“Farming and construction are high-risk industries but while fatality numbers are dropping, we continue to see workers in these sectors overrepresented in fatality and serious injury statistics year after year,” she said.

With many businesses across all sectors re-opening for the New Year, Ms Williams urged employers and workers to keep safety front of mind.

“Our message to all Victorians as we head into a New Year is a simple one – everyone has a part to play in making the workplace safe so make workplace safety your priority,” she said.

Fatalities in 2015


20 February: A 41-year-old carpenter died after falling from a partially constructed extension at Fitzroy North.


4 March: A 19-year-old man died when a trench collapsed on top of him at a building site in Cranbourne East.


11 April: A 60-year-old garbage truck driver died after he was crushed between his vehicle and a pole at Footscray.


3 May: A 49-year-old diesel mechanic died when a tractor he was working on rolled forward and crushed him at Edenhope in western Victoria.

7 May: An 81-year-old cattle farmer died after being thrown off his quad bike at Kergunyah, in the state’s north-east near Wodonga.


14 June: An 86-year-old man died after falling off his quad bike on a dirt track at Wyelangta in south-west Victoria.

29 June: A 33-year-old man died after an industrial oven being removed from a truck fell on him at Pakenham.


1 July: A 26-year-old female track rider died after falling from a horse at Caulfield.

30 July: A 50-year-old truck driver fell from his vehicle when securing a load at Campbellfield and died the next day.


5 August: A 53-year-old man suffered serious injuries when hit by a car in Williamstown while loading a boom lift and died several days later in hospital.


26 October: A 45-year-old farmer was crushed between a ride-on mower and a pole when attempting to jump-start the vehicle at Princetown in the state’s south-west.


4 November: A 76-year-old farm worker was electrocuted on a farm at Anakie, near Geelong.

9 November: A 64-year-old worker died following an explosion in a trench at a housing development site in Harkaway in Melbourne’s south-east.

10 November: A 76-year-old cattle farmer was struck by his tractor after it rolled down an embankment at Loch in South Gippsland.

12 November: A 25-year-old male refrigeration mechanic was electrocuted while undertaking maintenance on an air conditioner on a factory roof in Braeside.

12 November: A 29-year-old worker was crushed when a piece of equipment from a forklift fell on him at a business in Keysborough.

19 November: A 42-year-old plumber undertaking maintenance work on a two-storey home fell from a ladder to his death at Hamlyn Heights in Geelong.

20 November: An 82-year-old man in the hands of a carer died when his wheelchair fell down stairs at Chelsea.

22 November: A 49-year-old farmer died after he was struck by a quad bike at South Purrumbete in the state’s south-west.

30 November: A 41-year-old worker died after he was struck by a forklift at a poultry farm in Lethbridge near Geelong.

*Note: data can be subject to change pending investigation outcomes