Safework australias latest fatality figures


The construction industry has once again come in the top 3 highest risk industries for workplace fatalities, according to the latest Safe Work Australia figures.

According to Safe Work Australia, 120 Australians have lost their lives at work in 2017.

The industry with the highest number of workplace deaths was the transport, postal & warehousing industry with 47 fatalities followed by the agriculture, forestry & fishing industry with 27 fatalities. The construction sector came in third with 23 fatalities.

The construction sector is one of the most high risk industries across all states which is one of the reasons the federal government has mandated the White Card – general construction induction safety training to ensure everyone working on a construction site is aware of the hazards associated with this work and how to work safely on a construction site.

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Weekend Workplace Incidents

Two men were killed in workplace incidents over one weekend and another suffered critical head injuries.

Three separate incidents on one weekend highlighted the need to pay more attention to safety.

One man died on Saturday when a quad bike he was riding overturned on a property in East Gippsland.

In another incident, a man in his fifties died after a load of steel fell on him from a forklift and crushed him in South Gippsland.

The third incident happened in Mornington Peninsula when a man in his sixties suffered head injuries after falling 4 metres at a construction site at Merricks North. The man was painting at the time.

Sadly these incidents prove that safety isn’t always the main priority, especially when we consider that all these risks were well known, yet nothing was done to negate them.

Marnie Williams, WorkSafe’s Executive Director of Health and Safety said these incidents prove that appropriate systems that should be place to ensure risks are reduced or eliminated are being neglected.

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Vic Workplace fatalities this year reach 11

So far this year fatalities on Victorian worksites have reached 11, this following the death of a 20 year old worker when part of the building he was working on collapsed onto him.

Co-workers and passers-by tried frantically to lift the rubble and remove the young man and co-worker who was also trapped by the debris during the collapse. The other worker was saved however the 20 year old man did not survive.

This post from has more:

WorkSafe is on site of an incident in Caulfield South, where it appears that part of a building has collapsed.

A 20-year-old man has died at the scene and a second man has been taken to hospital with leg injuries.

WorkSafe investigators are on site and a comprehensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident is now underway.

This takes the number of workplace fatalities in Victoria this year to 11.

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Emergency crews and WorkCover investigators spent the day at the scene but will not speculate on the cause of the collapse until investigations are complete.

With workplace fatalities in Vic reaching 11 and the high serious injury rate and fatality in other states, particularly in the construction sector now more than ever employers, site controllers, supervisors, management, principal contractors, construction workers and construction firms need to focus on construction site safety.

There has been an abnormally high number of collapses recently and construction workers aren’t the only ones at risk. Earlier this year a teenage brother and sister were killed when a wall collapsed in Melbourne, they were just passing by when the bricks and debris collapsed onto them, killing them instantly.

Construction workers are faced with these types of risks every day, in addition to numerous others. It is for this reason that we need to focus more on construction safety rather than solely concentrating on productivity and the bottom line. Construction safety is afterall in the best interest of everyone involved, the construction firm, workers and the client. If workers are safe, they are healthier and happier resulting in less time off work which means a higher level of productivity and that benefits the employer and the customer.

So how do construction firms ensure that safety is being prioritised? Firstly by ensuring that each and every worker on site, whether permanently employed or temporary workers, experienced or simply a trainee have completed the general construction safety training, The White Card. Each worker must be in possession of their White Card and proof of their completion of the course should be kept on site in case inspectors visit and ask to see it. Without it not only is the worker’s safety being jeopardised but other workers on site are also being placed at risk. It is important that we remember that construction tasks are interrelated and the actions of one can have severe even deadly consequences for others on site.


White Card Course ACT: Improving Building Site Safety

This post takes a look into the progress made in the construction industry since last year in order to determine how far we’ve come and how far still need to go before workers can come to work without the fear of being injured or killed on the job.

Last year the building union (CFMEU) described the Canberra civil construction industry as “a time bomb”. Almost every month a worker was being killed because of a serious of workplace accident. This The CFMEU called a wake-up call to the industry.  (Read more:

The incidents which begun last year had everyone in the industry as well as The ACT’s Work Safety Commissioner, Mark McCabe scrambling to improve safety. He made a number of visits to construction sites attempting to bring attention to issue.

According to the latest Notifiable Fatalities Monthly report, March 2013 was a good month for construction safety. No worker deaths were reported anywhere in The ACT or Oz during this period, although 3 members of the public were killed. The 3 pedestrians were killed when a wall collapsed in Melbourne and killed them as they were walking pass. had this to say about the latest report:

There were 25 work-related notifiable fatalities reported during March — 17 male workers, 2 female workers, 2 male bystanders and 4 female bystanders. For further details see the Notified Fatalities Monthly Report March 2013.

The monthly notifiable fatality report provides a national summary of work-related traumatic fatalities that were notifiable to Australian work health and safety jurisdictions. Besides providing an estimate of the number of work-related deaths, the report also includes details of the types of incident involved; the industry of the workplace at which the fatalities occurred; and the industry of the decedent’s employer. The December 2011 and December 2012 reports have are also retained to show the figures over previous months.


Although March was a good month for the construction industry in general because there were no fatalities, the injury rate in the sector remains troublingly high, particularly in the ACT.

In fact according to figures released by Safe Work Australia, there has been a 17 per cent increase in serious accidents on worksites in the state between 2011-2012.

When accidents requiring 12 weeks or more off work are tallied, the ACT leads the nation with 9.5 accidents for every 1000 workers in 2010-11. The ACT’s construction workforce has remained fatality-free for the past 12 months but the injury rate remains stubbornly high.

Inspectors in the ACT are still on a blitz, visiting sites across the state, checking on a number of issues. One of the issues for which inspectors will be issuing on-the-spot fines is workers without a White Card. Working without a White Card is one of the reasons why so many accidents are occurring- workers aren’t aware of the hazards and how to overcome them, something they will learn during the White Card course.

Builders need to check that their workers are in position of the white card and employees need to ensure that they have completed this general construction safety training or face the consequences.


USA Demolition Project results in Six Fatalities

An excavator operator was accused of drug related manslaughter charges after an incident in the USA which left 6 people dead. According to the UK Daily Mail (08/06/2013) an excavator crane operator is accused of being high on marijuana when the incident happened that resulted in the collapse of a building.

Although this tragedy happened on the other side of the world it highlights the danger of drinking and drug taking when engaging in construction work, particularly high risk construction work such as excavator operation.

Read what this post on explains what happened:

collapsebuildingusaSean Benschop is facing six counts of involuntary manslaughter, 13 counts of recklessly endangering another person and one count of risking a catastrophe.

Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison told The Associated Press that a toxicology report showed evidence that Mr Benschop was high on marijuana. Mr Benschop had samples of his blood and urine tested at a hospital about two hours after the collpase.

Local Mayor Michael Nutter said.

‘We can do much better. We will not accept the status quo in the face of this tragedy.’

Planned reforms for construction sites include random drug testing on “heavy equipment operators”. The mayor also pledged to adopt tougher background requirements for demolition contractors, including information about each worker’s experience, and frequent site inspections.

Construction engineers said the store should have been evacuated during the demolition project taking place next to it.


This kind of problem is not unique to The USA, the culture of drugs and booze is rife in the construction industry in Oz, as a study of the Brisbane construction industry recently found.

According to researchers at the Queensland University of Technology, the transient nature of construction work, the high wages coupled with a macho culture all contribute to the problem. The majority of participants were male, with an average age of 35 – this group tends to make up the majority within the construction sector.

The research entitled The Safety Impacts of Alcohol and Other Drugs in Construction study analysed the responses of nearly 500 construction workers from areas of the industry across Oz and involved both surveys and interviews, spanning over a 2 year period.

From the study it was deduced that over 50 per cent of workers in the building industry consumed alcohol at “hazardous” levels and a further 15 per cent were at “significant risk of harm”. 16 per cent of the respondents admitted to using cannabis.

Construction workers need to keep in mind that part of their legal duty on a construction site is to conduct themselves in a manner that does not endanger themselves or their co-workers in any way – occupational health and safety regulation dictates it. So taking drugs and engaging in construction work is not only irresponsible but dangerous and illegal, as the incident above demonstrates. In order to engage in such high risk activity it’s crucial workers be in the correct state of mind, mind altering drugs can affect the short term health and safety of workers and also affect their health in the long run.