Workplaces urged to do more after horror 2016

Victorian workplaces must do more in 2017 to prioritise safety following a horror year in which 26 people lost their lives at work.

Shape
Published: 09 January 2017

The warning from WorkSafe Victoria follows the worst year for fatalities since 2009.

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.”

Ms Williams said inspectors made more than 46,000 visits to workplaces across the state last year and would continue to target high-risk sectors in 2017. This will include the agriculture and construction sectors, which last year accounted for almost 58 per cent of fatalities.

But she said occupational health and safety laws were clear that keeping workers safe was the responsibility of every Victorian employer.

“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."

Ms Williams said the safest workplaces were those where employers and employees discussed - and acted upon - safety issues as part of their daily tasks.

“As Victorians begin a new working year, every employer and employee must do everything they can to keep their workplace safe,” Ms Williams said.

“Employers need to constantly reassess the work their employees are undertaking to ensure what they are doing and how they are doing it is safe. Employees need to do the same thing, and speak up if they see something that concerns them.

“If everyone does this, together we can strive to make 2017 a fatality-free year.”

Workplace fatalities in 2016

Date
(Click to sort descending)
Gender
(Click to clear sorting)
Age
(Click to clear sorting)
Description
(Click to clear sorting)

05/01/2016

Male

24

Electrician was electrocuted while working on external lights on the roof of a retail shop in Dallas

06/01/2016

Male

21

Dairy farmer was electrocuted while working on a submersible pump in a drainage pit at Yarroweyah

09/01/2016

Male

67

Man died after the tractor he was driving slid down an embankment into a dam at Kialla West

05/02/2016

Male

59

Farmer fell off a ladder while doing repair work on gutters of a farm shed at Major Plains

15/02/2016

Male

53

Construction worker fell 20m down a service riser shaft in Melbourne CBD

01/03/2016

Female

30

Worker died after the dump truck she was driving fell into a quarry at Nyora

29/03/2016

Male

70

Worker fell from a front end loader while undertaking maintenance work at Dimboola

06/04/2016

Male

42

A member of the public was seriously injured during treatment in a hyperbaric chamber in South Yarra and later died in hospital

09/04/2016

Male

34

Worker died after being caught in a bailing machine at a recycling plant in Dandenong South

13/04/2016

Male

48

Driver died after being run over by his concrete pumping truck at Apollo Bay

06/05/2016

Male

29

Worker died after being struck by a Bobcat at a transfer station in Grovedale

20/05/2016

Male

61

Farmer died after becoming entangled in a feed bin mixer on a farm at Echuca

21/05/2016

Male

49

Farmer died when he became entangled in a large air drill/seeder being towed by a tractor at Marnoo

23/05/2016

Male

61

Worker died after the dump truck he was driving fell into a quarry at Rockbank

29/05/2016

Male

73

Farmer died after being run over by a backhoe at Navarre

31/05/2016

Male

66

Man died after a brick fence he was repairing collapsed in Belmont

10/06/2016

Male

39

Diving student drowned during a lesson at Mornington

10/06/2016

Female

40

Dive instructor drowned during a lesson at Mornington

26/06/2016

Male

69

Farmer died after becoming trapped under the quad bike he was operating at Pomborneit East

28/06/2016

Male

70

Man died after being struck while training a race horse at Bunyip

11/08/2016

Female

94

Resident in an aged care facility died after falling from a lifting machine while being assisted from her bed at Forest Hill

14/08/2016

Male

55

Worker struck on the head by an excavator bucket and knocked to the ground at Elliminyt. He died several days later in hospital

18/08/2016

Male

33

Worker crushed by metal at a steel fabrication plant at Wodonga

31/08/2016

Male

26

Apprentice electrician was electrocuted while installing an alarm system on the roof of a house in Camberwell

26/10/2016

Male

54

Worker crushed while operating a boom lift at a construction site at South Wharf

30/11/2016

Male

67

Farmer crushed in a hay baler at a farm at Mt Duneed. He died several days later in hospital

Workplace fatalities in 2016 (by age)

Age
(Click to sort descending)
Fatalities
(Click to clear sorting)

15 - 24

2

25 - 34

5

35 - 44

3

45 - 54

4

55 - 64

4

65+

8

Workplace fatalities 2009-16 (by year)

Year
(Click to sort descending)
Fatalities
(Click to clear sorting)

2009

30

2010

23

2011

25

2012

18

2013

21

2014

23

2015

19

2016

26

*Note: data subject to change pending investigation outcomes.