WorkSafe is urging employers to make sure they do everything they can to protect their workers in 2019 after 23 people died as a result of workplace incidents last year.

Tragically, seven of these deaths were workers aged 25 and under.

The number of workplace deaths last year was four less than in 2017, but still five more than in 2012, which had the lowest number of deaths in the past decade.

Most of the deaths in 2018 occurred in the construction and agriculture sectors, which recorded nine and eight respectively.

Already five workers have lost their lives in workplace incidents in 2019.

WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said failure to identify and manage hazards was an ongoing concern, especially on farms and where vehicles and plant were involved.

"We urge every employer to consult with their workers about health and safety and to do all they can to make their workplace a safe one in 2019," Ms Nielsen said.

“Twenty-three families last year suffered the heartbreak of losing a loved one in a workplace incident that should never have happened. Many others have been dramatically affected through avoidable injuries at work.”

Ms Nielsen said high-risk sectors, including construction and agriculture, would continue to be the target of WorkSafe inspectors, who made more than 48,000 visits to workplaces across the state in 2018.

"WorkSafe will not hesitate to prosecute those who fail to adhere to these life-protecting laws," she said.

Additional information

Of the 23 workplace fatalities last year:

  • Seven were workers aged between 15 and 25, up from zero in the previous year.
  • 21 occurred in regional Victoria and seven in metropolitan Melbourne.
  • A 12-year-old boy run over by a tractor towing a spreading attachment on a farm near Leitchville was the youngest.
  • The oldest was a 77-year-old man run over by a trailer at a property at Ouyen.
  • Nine occurred in construction and eight on farms.
  • Nine involved machine and mobile plant, including cranes, excavators, tractors, spreaders and trucks and three involved trench incidents, including two collapses.
  • All but two were male.

Total workplace fatalities 2009-18 (by year)

Year Fatalities
2009 30
2010 23
2011 25
2012 18
2013 21
2014 23
2015 19
2016 26
2017 27
2018 23

Workplace fatalities in 2018 (by age)

Age Fatalities
0 – 14 1
15 – 24 6
25 – 34 6
35 – 44 1
45 – 54 4
55 – 64 4
65+ 1

2018 Fatalities

January 4: A 58-year-old stock agent died after he was trampled by an animal on a cattle farm at Georges Creek near Tallangatta.

January 28: A 17-year-old girl working as a stable hand died after falling from a horse at a property at Tyaak near Broadford.

January 29: A 29-year-old man was electrocuted while working on a live switchboard at a factory in Dandenong.

February 6: A 55-year-old truck driver died after his tip truck trailer made contact with overhead powerlines on a property at Kergunyah, south of Albury.

February 14: A 34-year-old groundskeeper died when an overhead tree branch fell and struck him on the head at a school in Melbourne’s east.

March 21: A 34-year-old man died when a trench collapsed on him at a Delacombe worksite in Ballarat.

March 22: A 21-year-old man died in hospital from crush injuries sustained in a trench collapse at a Delacombe worksite in Ballarat on March 21.

March 28: A 31-year-old man died after his fertiliser spreader truck rolled on a steep hill north-east of Warragul.

April 6: A 24-year-old man died after he struck by a tractor attachment at a property at Carwarp near Mildura.

May 8: A 77-year-old man died after he was run over by a trailer at a property near Ouyen.

May 30: A 24-year-old man died after he became entangled in conveyor belt at a Benalla timber mill.

June 25: A 50-year-old man died in hospital after he received serious head injuries when he was struck by a mobile piling rig at a West Gate Tunnel project site on June 14.

July 23: A 56-year-old man died in an incident involving a tractor on a farm at Barjarg, near Mansfield.

August 10: A 60-year-old DELWP employee died after his vehicle rolled on private property at Cheshunt, 70km north of Mansfield.

August 16: A 32-year-old man died after falling into a deep trench at a housing estate construction site at Wallan.

August 18: A 44-year-old man died in hospital after falling through a stair void at a Rosebud housing construction site on August 17.

September 6: A 49-year-old woman died when she was run over by a prime mover carrying an excavator at a Donvale property.

September 6: A 48-year-old man died after he was struck by a kibble full of concrete which detached from a tower crane and fell into a pit he was working in at a Box Hill construction site.

September 21: A 25-year-old man died after he was caught in a conveyor belt at a concrete pipe manufacturing facility in Shepparton.

September 30: A 12-year-old boy died after he was run over by a tractor towing a spreading attachment at a property near Leitchville.

October 4: A 20-year-old man died after he was overcome by fumes while argon welding inside a tanker at a Cranbourne West business.

November 13: A 54-year-old man died in hospital from serious burns when a high voltage circuit breaker exploded at the Yallourn Power Station on November 12.

November 30: A 21-year-old man died in hospital after falling from a ladder at a residential property in Bendigo.

2019 Fatalities

January 2: A two-year-old boy died in an incident involving a spreader attachment on a farm at Naringal, in Victoria’s south-west.

January 11: A 63-year-old man died in hospital as a result of injuries sustained in an incident involving a scissor lift at Derrimut in December 22.

January 15: A 19-year old worker, believed to have been electrocuted while installing an air conditioner on the roof of a home in Plumpton.

January 24: A 55-year old truck driver died after being struck by his own truck while collecting a hire rubbish skip bin at a workplace in Kew.

February 1: A 69-year-old man died after he fell about six metres while cleaning a refrigeration unit at a business in Mordialloc.