08:35 am, Monday 19 July, 2010
WorkSafe Victoria has announced that 26 fatalities had been recorded in the 2009/10 financial because of breaches in workplace safety.
Among those who died, all but one was male – a female vineyard worker in Woori Yallock died when a falling a branch struck her during heavy storms in June.
Nine deaths were reported in Melbourne, while 17 were in regional Victoria.
Regional deaths included the double fatality of a father and son at Rainbow, who were electrocuted after the windmill they were transporting hit an overhead powerline.
The 09/10 death toll was one lower than the year before, where 27 workplace deaths were tallied.
“The workplace fatality toll serves as a continual reminder to employers and workers that health and safety can be a life or death matter,” WorkSafe’s Strategic Programs Director Trevor Martin said.
“We know the overwhelming majority of deaths and workplace injuries can be predicted and therefore prevented – however, complacency and simple mistakes are still killing people needlessly.”
A third of the workplace deaths for 09/10 took place in farms, compared to seven in the previous financial year. Five of the nine farm fatalities in 09/10 involved tractors.
“Farmers are greatly over-represented in workplace fatalities – this is something we’re aware of and have discussed with the farming community.
“It’s why WorkSafe has just launched a campaign of inspector visits to farms across Victoria over the next 12 months. Inspectors will be targeting the most common causes of serious injury and death, with a particular focus on tractor safety,” Mr Martin said.
The death toll for 09/10 included three falls from heights ranging from a little over two metres to 20 metres. Five workers were electrocuted after contact with exposed wires on machinery, and striking underground and overhead power lines. Four people died after being struck by sheets of glass, a bag of salt, computer equipment that fell from a forklift, and a tree branch.