More Australian workers killed in preventable workplace incidents


More Australian workers killed in preventable workplace incidents

Terry Cook

11 July 2017

Over a seven-day period at the end of last month, industrial incidents claimed the lives of four workers in the Australian state of Victoria, highlighting the dangerous conditions across industries and workplaces.

Two farm workers were killed within 24 hours. One man in his 50s was thrown from the cabin of a spreader truck that then crushed him on a property south of Yea. A man about 40 died after falling from a stationary truck while loading manure at an egg farm near Geelong.

A carpenter in his late 60s died after falling from the first storey of a house under construction at Kalkallo, north of Melbourne and a 40-year-old hand stablehand was killed in a fall at Bendigo Racecourse.

These tragedies were followed by the death of David John Keen, 51, on July 4 at Rio Tinto’s Yandicoogina iron ore mine in the Pilbara region in Western Australia. Keen was killed in what the company termed “a serious incident” that may have involved an explosion.

The latest report released by a federal government agency, Safe Work Australia (SWA), shows that the number of deaths this year is on track to match or exceed the grim toll of 178 workers killed in 2016.

According to SWA, 95 workers died in industrial incidents from January 1 to June 28 this year compared to 87 for the same period last year.

So far, the sectors with the highest rate of deaths remain transport, postal and warehousing (38), agriculture, forestry and fishing (20), and construction (16). Last year’s fatalities across these three sectors were 64, 41 and 30 respectively.

Between 2003 and 2015, there were 3,207 industrial-related deaths, or an annual average of 247. While there has been a decline in the overall annual…

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