Sadly, as at 2 August, 110 Australian workers have been killed at work this year. Overall, that number is up by eight deaths when compared to the same period in 2016.

The Transport, Postal and Warehousing sector remains at the top of the table with the most recorded workplace deaths, with the majority being vehicle-related. Considering truck driving is described statistically as the most dangerous job in Australia, that comes as no surprise.
Unfortunately, the sector has recorded 10 more workplace deaths than at the same time last year. In the previous year the industry recorded 60 deaths and already has reached 46.
However, the industry is working hard to improve the safety of workers by introducing new chain of responsibility safety laws that address the areas of fatigue, speeding, load restraint, mass and maintenance.

The construction industry, which involves many high-risk tasks, has recorded five more deaths than at the same time in 2016, up to 18.
The farming sector (agriculture, forestry and fishing) has recorded a drop of six in the number of fatalities so far this year compared to 2016 (down to 23). Farm Week, which focuses on safety in the industry, and a large and ongoing campaign on quad bike safety, could be having a positive impact on workers and managers.

The mining sector, which has for some time been in a leader in implementing worker safety, has recorded two fatalities so far this year, down one on last year’s figures.

In which sector do your employees work? Regardless of whether they are involved in high-risk or lower risk work, are you doing everything practicable to keep your workers safe? Maybe some recent injuries or near-misses indicate that there are some processes you could be doing better? Perhaps there are some things you haven’t thought of that could be incorporated into policies to protect workers.

The full report, Year-to-date 2017: Preliminary worker deaths by industry of workplace, is available at the Safe Work Australia website. 

(Jeff Salton, Editor, Health & Safety Bulletin)

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