Warning issued over safety in lead up to Christmas

Tuesday, 8 November, 2016 - 11:00
Industry news


Workers are more likely to die in November and December than any other time of the year, according to WorkSafe Victoria.

As such, the regulator urged workers and employers to put safety first in the busy lead-up to Christmas to prevent workplace fatalities.

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

It was critical that employers and employees understood the risks associated with the busy pre-Christmas period and worked together to prevent a workplace fatality, said WorkSafe executive director health and safety, Marnie Williams.

“It is a tragic reality that this time of year is deadly for Victorian workers,” Williams said.

“Our statistics show almost 25 per cent of workplace fatalities occur in the final eight weeks of the year.

”Safety is everyone’s responsibility, so it’s up to all employers and workers to work together to make sure fatalities do not happen.”

Williams said while the final two months of the year were a busy time for most workplaces, it should never compromise safety.

“We know that the lead-up to Christmas is traditionally busy with employers and employees rushing to meet tighter deadlines and complete projects,” Williams said.

“In agriculture, it’s farmers harvesting crops or hay.

“In the construction sector, its builders, tradesmen and contractors trying to finish projects, and in manufacturing, its factories and warehouses trying to finalise and complete orders before the holiday shutdown.

“But no deadline is worth someone’s life. Last year we saw 19 workers lose their lives and eight of those alone were during this dangerous time of year.”

Williams said employers needed to talk to their workers about the strategies that needed to be put in place to ensure deadlines were met without risking an employee’s life.

“The safest workplace is the one where employers and workers stop and take the time to think about the work they will be doing, and plan to do it as safely as possible,” she said.

“This could mean bringing in more resources or factoring in extra time. Yes, it may cost a little more but the cost of a fatality or serious injury far outweighs the cost of missing a deadline safely. It really could make the difference between life and death.”