Published: 16 January 2018
Author: Michael Burdess
Farms still a very dangerous workplace
Sadly, farm workers and older workers have dominated the workplace death toll for 2017, particularly when machinery is involved.
A recent report by WorkSafe highlights the need for constant awareness around workplace safety. This includes:
- 27 Victorians lost their lives as a result of an incident at a workplace last year - the highest toll since 2009
- 14 deaths were from incidents on farms, which is the highest number of farm fatalities since 2004
- 9 of the people who died in 2016 were over the age of 65.
Knowing the severe effects that workplace injuries or death have on the community, we support WorkSafe in urging Victorian workplaces to re-think their approach to safety following a rise in the number of fatalities at work in 2017.
The first Victorian workplace death of 2018 has already occurred on a farm. A stock agent died in an accident while drafting cattle on a farm at Georges Creek near Albury Wodonga.
The facts around the 2017 WorkSafe fatalities are especially of concern to people living in country Victoria. This includes:
- 20 in regional Victoria and seven were in greater metropolitan Melbourne
- 16 involved vehicles or mobile machinery
- All but 2 were males
- Nine were aged 65 or older
- No deaths were recorded among workers aged from 15-26.
Facts around workplace fatalities
The grim reality is that 27 people are not with us in 2018 because of workplace fatalities. The stories related to the 2017 fatalities show how some everyday tasks can be extremely dangerous, with tractor use, quad bike use, forklifts, rough terrain and work with animals the most common causes.
Workplace fatalities have been on the rise since 2012, with the exception of 2015.
- 2008: 22
- 2009: 30
- 2010: 23
- 2011: 25
- 2012: 18
- 2013: 21
- 2014: 23
- 2015: 19
- 2016: 26
- 2017: 27*
The group of people most at risk according to workplace fatalities in 2017 is aged over 65 and closely followed by 45-64. In 2017, fatalities were in the following aged groups:
- 0-15: 1
- 15-24: 0
- 25-34: 1
- 35-44: 2
- 45-54: 7
- 55-64: 7
- 65+: 9
For further information on to ensure a safe workplace visit https://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/safety.
*Note: Official toll subject to change pending investigation outcomes