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New reports finds unsafe design a killer in the workplace

A new study by Safe Work Australia has found 36 per cent of workplace fatalities examined were found to be associated with unsafe design of machinery, plant or powered tools.

Safe Work Australia released the report, Work-related fatalities associated with unsafe design of machinery, plant and powered tools, (2006-2011) this morning.

Of the 523 fatalities studied, 36 per cent or 188 fatalities were found to be either definitely or possibly design-related, meaning that these fatalities would probably not have occurred if the risks of the equipment involved had been eliminated through safe design.

According to the report the most common causes of design-related deaths were:

  • inadequate guarding (21 per cent)
  • lack of roll-over protection structures/seat belts (15 per cent)
  • lack of residual current device (12 per cent)
  • lack of interlock (eight per cent), and
  • driver obstructed vision (eight per cent).

Less well-known is the number of fatal incidents involving the users of elevating work platforms being crushed against roofing and beams— with seven fatalities recorded during the period 2006-2011.

To view read the full report visit www.swa.gov.au.