WorkSafe inspector absence in region shocking, says MP
A worker has been killed on the job in WA every month on average this financial year.
Since last July, nine people have lost their lives at work, according to WorkSafe statistics.
Four of the deaths since July 1 were in the construction industry.
The electrical, gas, water and waste-disposal industry has had two deaths and the mining industry and accommodation and food industry one each.
Twenty-two people died in each of the past two financial years.
Labor Mining and Pastoral MLA Kyle McGinn has been a long-time advocate for boosting WorkSafe resources in the Pilbara.
Mr McGinn said there were a lot of fatalities and injuries in Pilbara industries, which could have been avoided.
“As I have said since I have been up here in the Pilbara, I have been astonished there is no WorkSafe inspector in the region,” he said.
“I believe that after a lot of investigation, it was due to lack of funding.
“One of the biggest shortfalls in the way it currently operates is the only resource the employee has is to call a hotline to report an incident, accident or fatality.”
Mr McGinn said those following up incidents were too often left to apply for freedom of information requests.
WorkSafe WA commissioner Lex McCulloch said all work deaths were tragic. Most were preventable but the overall trend indicated they were becoming less common.
“Every single death is one too many,” Mr McCulloch said.
“It’s pretty much impossible to speculate on the reasons for the fluctuations from year to year, but the trend line has been heading down.”
Mr McCulloch said while the responsibility for safety in workplaces rested with employers, it was important workers were aware of their responsibilities.
“Everyone in the workplace needs to keep safety at the top of their minds,” he said.
“Employers must provide adequate training and instruction, and employees have an obligation to follow instructions and work according to the training.
“Every employee has the right to stop work if they believe they are in an unsafe situation.”
WorkSafe prosecutes about 20 employers in WA each year but Mr McCulloch said workplace safety had improved dramatically in the past 30 years.
Mining and Pastoral MLA Kyle McGinn.