Don’t rush or you risk becoming a workplace statistic
As Victoria enters a dangerous time of year, WorkSafe is encouraging employers and workers to focus on safety.
According to WorkSafe statistics, more Victorian workers die in the weeks leading up to Christmas than at any other time of year. Over the past decade, almost 25 per cent of all workplace fatalities occurred in November and December.
WorkSafe executive director of health and safety Marnie Williams says there was only one fatality in the November-December period last year – on 30 November – but in previous years the death toll had been horrendous.
“While there was only one fatality in this period last year, in 2015 there were nine workplace deaths, and the year before that there were seven,” says Marnie.
“One death is still one too many. It is horrifying to think that over the past decade 50 workers have died in the lead-up to Christmas.”
Marnie says there were a number of reasons why this period was a dangerous time of year for workers.
“With Christmas just around the corner we know many employers and employees are rushing to meet deadlines and complete projects,” Marnie says.
“The construction sector is hard at work as builders, contractors and tradies push to complete projects before the Christmas shutdown, and the manufacturing sector is busy finalising last minute orders.
“We also know that many people are eagerly looking forward to their upcoming holidays and Christmas celebrations, so maybe they are getting distracted from the tasks at hand.
“That is why it is so important for everyone to put safety first, to take care and stay safe at work.”
In the past week, a young worker has died and two other young workers have been seriously injured in workplace incidents.
Marnie says it was important that employers and employees took the time to think about safety first with whatever job they were doing.
“For employers, this may mean factoring in a little extra time to do the job, or paying for extra resources and staff to get the job done safely,” Marnie says.
“For workers, it may mean spending a little more time assessing each task before starting. The cost of rushing or taking shortcuts could be someone’s life.”
Marnie says a WorkSafe public awareness campaign would begin shortly to raise awareness of the dangers associated with working at this time of year.
“It is simply horrific to think that while Victorian families are preparing for their Christmas break, summer holidays and special time with family, the statistics suggest that, in the weeks ahead, some families will instead be mourning the loss of a loved one at work.
“Please focus on safety in your workplace and make sure everyone gets home safely, and gets to enjoy Christmas with their loved ones.”