Spate of workplace fatalities

Safe Work Australia has reported that the number of Australians killed while working has risen sharply, with 16 work-related fatalities reported to the state & territory safety regulators in June, up from 13 in May. Five of the 16 deaths involved vehicle incidents on public roads, 3 workers died after being trapped in machinery, 3 were fatally struck by moving objects (other than vehicles) and 2 were killed by falling objects.

a collapse of a tower crane boom at the new National Art Gallery site on 30 Sep 13, a collapse of scaffolds at a multi-storey factory in Toa Payoh on 2 Oct 13 & a dangerous occurrence with the toppling of a crawler crane at Defu Lane on 8 Oct 2013. Eight workers were killed in the months of Sep & Oct 2013. The total number of construction fatalities reported now stands at 27 (Jan-Oct), 1 more compared to the total number of construction deaths seen for the whole of 2012.

The Singapore regulator provides motivation for effective fatality prevention programs reporting that:

  • In 2008-2009, the economic cost of injuries & illness in Australia’s construction sector was A$ 6.4 billion, equivalent to 23.2% of operating profit before tax of A$27.6 billion. The Nicoll Highway collapse in 2004 saw insurance claims amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars.
  • In Singapore average insured incident costs accounted for 0.15%, average uninsured accident costs of 0.1% & average total accident costs 0.25% of the contract sum of a construction project.
  • Consequences of economic losses due to construction incidents include: Direct costs including payments for hospital, physician & allied services. Indirect costs refer to victim productivity losses, employer productivity losses & administrative cost associated with an incident; Quality of life costs including the value attributed to the pain and suffering of victims & their families

How effective are your fatality prevention programs?

Article by: Julie Armour –

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