WorkSafe in­spec­tor ab­sence in re­gion shock­ing, says MP

Pilbara News - - News - Rourke Walsh and Tom Zaun­mayr

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.

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