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Victorian workplace deaths push employers to take greater care for their employees

26 February 2019
The Victorian Government has urged employers to take note of the state’s 2018 workplace death toll of 23, and four deaths in January 2019, as a reminder to comply with their Occupational Health and Safety obligations.

Alarmingly, seven of the 2018 deaths were of workers aged 25 and under, suggesting that employers need to take better account of the demographics of their workforce, especially inexperienced and young employees.

Although circumstances of the deaths vary, common themes among the tragedies were fundamental failures of hazard identification and consequent risk management. The industries of highest risk continue to be construction and agriculture.

The Victorian Government has been working on establishing industrial manslaughter laws in a movement to follow the ACT and, most recently, Queensland.  An implementation taskforce is currently at grassroots level, with the Victorian Government in talks with unions, businesses and academics to introduce the new laws.  Accompanying this development is the prospect of a harmonised industrial manslaughter law if the Federal ALP wins national government this year. 

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