The holidays are over and it’s almost time for most of us to get back to work which is why WorkSafe WA has issued a reminder to everyone returning to work to ensure safety when doing so after the long festive break.

Unfortunately this time of the year is usually one filled with workplace accidents, possibly due to the complacency people tend to show towards safety as they return from their holiday. But WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch is urging employers and workers not to become complacent.

McCulloch pointed out that this financial year we have seen way too many fatalities – nine to precise. Nine Australians have died in work related accidents this financial year already and even one death is one too many.

The Commissioner said that people who return to work after the holidays should be mindful of workplace risks and even appealed to people at work to “remain vigilant and aware” of the risks associated with their work.

WorkSafe also warned management and safety and health representatives to begin conducting pre-start inspections of workplaces and construction sites that were shut down over the festive period. This is to ensure that risks are minimised and no hazards are missed.

McCulloch also mentioned the tendency of many workers to “remain in holiday mode” even after returning to work from the festive break. Sometimes workers demonstrate this by not paying the proper attention to the task at hand, particularly on high-risk sites such as building sites. He warned that the consequences of such an attitude toward safety could be fatal.

McCulloch appealed to every employer and worker in the state to “reacquaint” themselves with the safe methods of work that apply to their workplace and the tasks they undertake before beginning the new year.

We want to start the year off well and hope for it to be a prosperous and safe year which is why we need to keep safety in mind especially when working in the construction industry because losing focus and averting our attention from safety can be deadly.

According to McCulloch in 2010/11 in WA there were 21 traumatic work related fatalities and in 2011/2012 it dropped to just 17. In 2012/2013 the number of fatalities was at 18, this is in addition to the 18,000 Western Australian workers who are injured each year and subsequently take time off work.

It is also important that as construction sites reopen, we are all aware of the importance of adequate training. It is the duty of employers as well as individual workers to ensure that they have completed general construction industry induction training and obtained their White Card as proof of doing so. Without this training they cannot legally work on any construction site, anywhere in Oz. They will also be more vulnerable to workplace injuries and accidents because of a lack of knowledge about general construction site safety.

So if you haven’t yet completed the training, make sure you start the year off right and get your White Card!

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