Workplace death statistics demonstrate need for more action on workplace safety
The experience of a serious workplace injury or death is surely one of the worst experiences that can occur to a business and the individuals involved. Beyond the immediate impact to the worker involved and their family is the emotional trauma for other employees and business owners. For the business itself such a traumatic event can often be more than it can recover from.
So far in 2015 Australia has seen 37 workplace deaths recorded across 19 industry sectors. Many of these could have been prevented with the right safety frameworks and adherence to policies.
Recognising this need, over the past few years Safe Work Australia has worked towards developing and improving workplace health and safety frameworks and policies in order to reduce the number of worker deaths across both high risk industries and workplaces generally.
Agribusiness is an example of a sector of particularly high risk with 46 worker deaths recorded for this sector in 2014, making up around 26% of the total 185 workplace deaths for that year.
The workplace death statistics show that sectors with workers who work with vehicles are more likely to suffer a workplace injury or death next to workers involved in the transport industry.
Industries such as Transport, Postal & Warehousing, Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing, Construction and Mining accounted for up to 70% of worker deaths recorded in 2013 and 2014.
Lessons for Employers
The key takeaway from these statistics is the ongoing need for high risk industries, and workplaces generally, to take seriously their obligations to provide a safe workplace and the resources, policies and training necessary to keep their workers as safe as possible.
Publications such as the Queensland Government’s ‘Work Health and Safety Laws – Get Ready Guide for Queensland’s Rural Industry’ is an important starting point when looking for information relating to the Workplace Health and Safety obligations expected of employers along with other resources specifically designed to provide key information, data, guidance and more to employers.
For more information and to access helpful resources, visit Safe Work Australia at www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au.
Please do not hesitate to contact Clifford Gouldson Lawyers for individual specialised advice from one of our workplace lawyers should you require advice on Workplace Health and Safety. We can also assist with policy development and implementation and create tailored safety training programs for your Workplace.