Victorian employers and workers are being urged to take time, take care and stay safe at work in the lead up to the holiday season.
A new WorkSafe campaign highlighting the risk of workplace incidents towards the end of the year is underway, reminding employers not to rush workers to meet unrealistic deadlines.
Employers are responsible for the health and safety of their workers and must not risk their employees’ safety to meet deadlines.
Two people died as a result of workplace incidents in the November-December period in 2018, and statistics show the lead up to the holiday break is a dangerous time.
Over the past decade 51 people have died as a result of workplace incidents in the final eight weeks of the year, making up almost 22 per cent of all workplace deaths.
There are a number of reasons why this period can be dangerous across a range of industries.
The construction sector is hard at work as builders, contractors and tradies push to complete projects before the holiday shutdown. In agriculture, farmers are harvesting crops and hay. The manufacturing, transport, warehouse and retail sectors are also busy finalising last-minute orders.
Many people are also eagerly looking forward to their upcoming holidays and celebrations, so they can potentially get distracted from the tasks at hand.
One workplace fatality is one too many. So the fact that 20 families will already spend the holidays grieving for a loved one who died as the result of a workplace incident this year is devastating.
The Andrews Labor Government is delivering on an election commitment and making workplace manslaughter a criminal offence, under tough laws passed by the Parliament, because no person deserves to die at work.
The Labor Government also announced a $10 million package to boost WorkSafe’s investigation and enforcement capacity, with a specialist team established to lead investigations and prosecutions of workplace manslaughter.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Workplace Safety Jill Hennessy
“The holidays are a busy period for everyone – but that doesn’t mean cutting corners on employee safety.”
“Employers need to make the safety of their workers a priority, because nothing is more important than coming home to friends and family after a long day’s work.”
“We’re standing up for working people – and better protecting those touched by tragedy – because workers deserve a safe environment when they go to work each and every day.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020