NSW pushes for 30% reduction in workplace fatalities

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New South Wales has revised its targets and commits to reduce work-related fatalities by 30 per cent, and injuries and illnesses by 50 per cent within five years.

Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean explained, “Even one death or injury is one too many, and that’s why we are refreshing the roadmap.”

In 2016-17, nearly 33,000 serious injury and illnesses claims were made with one week or more time lost from work in NSW, excluding fatalities.

This was achieved despite exceeding the national targets during the first year of the Berejiklian Government: workplace-related fatalities have fallen by about 28 per cent, and serious injury and illnesses by 25 per cent.

But state targets have been set higher to reduce fatalities and serious injuries further.

“This isn’t just about numbers. This is about people – and we’re doing everything we can to ensure they return home to their families after work each day,” Kean said.

Kean referred to the Liberal National Government’s initiatives as “the most ambitious in Australia” in improving the state-wide statistics.

By 2022, the state aims to collaborate with industries and workers to address the impact of falls from heights, forklifts and poorly guarded machinery; reduce workers’ exposure to priority hazardous chemicals and materials by 30 per cent; and ensure high-risk workplaces meet compliance standards, among other key areas.

Some of the initiatives that have already been launched include a $55 million ‘mentally healthy workplaces strategy’, a $3.7 million increase in funding to the ‘quad bike safety program’ and a $3.2 million workplace safety awareness campaign and laws enhancement around working with hazardous chemicals.

Kean said, “We have the programs and resources in place to continue the good progress we’ve already made, and to reach these targets.

“I am confident that with the support of business, industry and workers, and with this refreshed roadmap, we can do even more to improve safety in the workplace.”