According to a study conducted by WorkSafe Victoria, November and December are the most dangerous periods of a year in workplaces. As a result, Assistant Treasurer Gordon Rich Phillips made an appeal to every Victorian employer and employee to take precautionary measures and extra care during the last weeks going into Christmas.
Mr. Rich-Phillips made a comment, “The festive season is about to begin and Victorians are starting to think about Christmas with their families and friends and relaxing over the summer holidays. But we know from harsh experience that when people take their minds off safety, they risk a tragedy. And we want everyone to get home safely for Christmas.”
The statistics of WorkSafe Victoria further analysed that seven individuals died between November and December. This figure is more than double the number of fatalities compared with any two-month period last 2012. Meanwhile, nine fatalities were recorded between November and December last 2011 (all within a six-week period).
Ms. Denise Grove, WorkSafe Chief Executive, believes that Australians' minds automatically turn to things other than work as the year-end approaches. It only means that work safety may be not a priority or worse, totally forgotten. She added, "We also know that many fatalities at this time of year involve experienced workers doing routine tasks, which suggests their minds may not be fully on the task at hand. Together it all adds up to a dangerous mix.”
It has become a tragic news not only for WorkSafe Australia, so Ms. Grove heightened the alert by saying, “When a worker doesn’t return home safe at the end of the day, it is a tragedy for all involved – families, friends, workmates, employers and the wider community. We want the festive season to be a happy time for everyone. So please take care.”
Recap of 2012 Occupational Injury Fatalities
Just to review the summary of the findings of WorkSafe Australia in its report "Work-Related Traumatic Injury Fatalities Australia 2012":
Injuries at work resulted in the deaths of 223 workers in 2012. This is similar to the previous two years and represents a significant fall from the 311 deaths recorded in 2007. Over the past 10 years, 2,596 workers have been killed while working. The 223 fatalities in 2012 equates to a fatality rate of 1.93 deaths per 100,000 workers. This is the lowest fatality rate since the series began 10 years ago. The highest fatality rate was recorded in 2004 at 2.95.
Over the past 10 years, 62% of fatalities occurred within three industries: Transport, postal & warehousing; Agriculture, forestry & fishing; and Construction.
The Transport, postal & warehousing industry accounted for the highest number of fatalities (65% to 29%) in 2012. This is the highest number since 2007 (70%). Within this industry, the Road freight transport sector recorded 29.09 deaths per 100,000 workers, 15 times the all industries rate.
The Agriculture, forestry & fishing industry recorded 53 fatalities in 2012, one of the lowest numbers in the series. However, this still equates to 12.74 deaths per 100,000 workers, nearly seven times the all industries rate.
The Construction industry recorded 30 fatalities in 2012, the lowest number in the 10 years and a substantial fall from the 42 recorded in the previous year.
In the past 10 years, 523 truck drivers have been killed while working, equating to 20% of all fatalities. In 2012, 47 truck drivers were killed, up from 37 recorded in the previous year but considerably lower than the series high of 73 in 2007.
The 25 farm managers killed in 2012 was the lowest in the series and a considerable improvement on the 34 killed the previous year. There were also 17 farm labourers killed in 2012, which was similar to other years in the series.
New South Wales was the location of 83 of the fatalities (37%) in 2012. This is considerably higher than the 57 recorded in the previous year.