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Workplace Fatalities – A Very Real Risk
Employers around Australia welcomed the news that Safe Work Australia recorded a drop in the number of workplace fatalities last year. The total of 191 deaths was the lowest in 11 years and was 16% lower than the 2012 toll.
In recent times, we’ve seen strict new laws that place responsibility for workplace fatalities on the shoulders of a company’s directors and officers.
So although we could see the lower toll as an increased focus on general workplace safety from management down, experts say the real reason is that most work-related deaths take place on the roads and the overall road toll is trending down.
Vehicle collisions took the lives of 90 workers in 2012, while 65 died from the same cause last year.
Safe Work Australia says men accounted for 92% of the workplace fatalities recorded last year, and two-thirds of them involved vehicles. A third of those deaths recorded over the past 11 years were as a result of accidents at the worksite – not on public roads.
The riskiest jobs, according to statistics are operating machinery and driving. These jobs caused 62 deaths last year. Of these deaths, 39 were truck drivers.
Another interesting statistic is that the rate of workplace fatalities for self-employed workers is three times higher than for employees, perhaps giving weight to the theory that self-employed people push themselves harder.
Workers in the agriculture, forestry and fishing industries need to consider their safety, with these industries accounting for 48 workplace fatalities last year. Other hazardous industries include transport, postal and warehousing (46 deaths) and construction (19 deaths).
Of the workplace fatalities last year, 24 were the result of falling from ladders and other heights and another 24 were caused by workers being hit by falling objects.
Another useful insight is that 66 workplace fatalities last year were of innocent members of the public – people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Having someone lose their life on your worksite – regardless of whether they were an employee or a stranger is a traumatic experience. The emotional toll can be more significant than any of the legal and financial issues that usually follow.
The liability for workplace fatalities arising from safety hazards is being shifted to company directors and officers, often with hefty fines and penalties attached – possibly even jail time.
These more stringent laws and regulations mean your business is at risk if an accident occurs. You need the right level of cover through a personalised insurance package.
At Adroit, we get to know your business inside and out – helping to create comprehensive and tailored cover. Talk to us today to secure the future of your business.