Victorian workers and businesses urged to stay safe in the weeks leading up to Christmas


WorkSafe Victoria is reminding employers and workers to focus on safety in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

According to WorkSafe statistics, more Victorians die during this time of the year than any other months.

Over the past decade, almost 25 percent of all workplace fatalities occurred in November and December.

“While there was only one fatality in this period last year, in 2015 there were nine workplace deaths, and the year before there were seven,” said WorkSafe Executive Director Health and Safety, Marnie Williams.

“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.”

Ms. Williams said there are many reasons why this period was a dangerous time of the year for workers.

“With Christmas just around the corner we know many employers and employees are rushing to meet deadlines and complete projects,” said Ms. Williams.

“In agriculture, the grain and hay harvests are in full swing, the construction sector is hard at work as builders, contractors and tradies push to complete projects before Christmas shutdown, and the manufacturing sector is busy finalizing 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.”

Ms. Williams urges employers to think about what needs to be done and how it could be done as safely as possible.

“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,” she said. “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.”

A WorkSafe public awareness campaign will soon begin. This aims to raise awareness of the dangers associated with working at this time of the 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.”

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