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Date PostedJanuary 5, 2014

Electrician dies on Vic site

Another fatality has occurred in Victoria, this time a 25 year old electrician has died while working on a house renovation in the town of Yallourn North in Gippsland.

The young electrician’s death occurred just 7 hours after another accident which claimed the life of a 20 year old worker on a Caulfield South site.

It is obvious that more needs to be done to protect young workers on construction sites across the state of Victoria and in fact throughout the country.  These incidents are currently being investigated by Work Health and Safety Authorities and bring the number of fatalities in the state to 12 this year.

The following excerpt from WorkSafeNews.com.au explains:

The man was working in the kitchen of a private residence when he was electrocuted at about 4.30pm. WorkSafe investigators attended the scene last night and are investigating the circumstances around the incident.

The man’s death occurred less than seven hours after a floor collapsed at a building site in Caulfield South, killing a 20-year-old worker.

WorkSafe Chief Executive, Denise Cosgrove, said the deaths of the two young workers were a terrible tragedy.

“Our thoughts are with the families, friends and colleagues of the two young men who passed away yesterday,” Ms Cosgrove said.

“This tragic news highlights the importance of keeping safety a top priority in all workplaces at all times.”

Yesterday’s incidents take the number of workplace fatalities in Victoria this year to 12.

– See more at: http://www.worksafenews.com.au/component/k2/item/338-second-young-tradesman-dies-in-less-than-seven-hours.html#sthash.Bn5QmiAH.dpuf

As it is the number of young people joining the construction sector has declined, according to statistics. Also experts have predicted that as the industry grows over the next 5 years, we may experience a skills shortage in the industry. With dismal safety records, there is little motivation for young people to join the industry. It is obvious that more needs to be done to protect young, new and inexperienced workers especially those in high risk trades.

The report entitled “Work-related injuries experienced by young workers 2009-2010” showed that young worker’s injury rate per 1000 workers was 18 per cent higher than it was for workers over 25 years of age.


But in order to do this we need to first look at what it is about young workers that makes them so vulnerable on construction sites?

Young workers require more attention and supervision than more experienced or older workers do. Apprentice and young workers require special attention on a job site because of their inexperience and naivety with regards to safety. New workers are often keen to learn and energetic however it is precisely this eagerness which makes them more vulnerable to injuries. Remember that most times when young workers are given a task they are often afraid to ask for help and would rather go at it without the appropriate skills and knowledge than ask for help if they are unsure.

One of the most important issues concerning young workers that need to be addressed is the need for adequate supervision of these workers. Often it is not enough to instruct workersthey need to be supervised especially while they are still familiarising themselves with the task and with construction work.

Peter Cutforth is a Director at Urban E-Learning, a global elearning and web strategy firm based in George St Brisbane. Peter's interests extend to training, safety and compliance, online marketing, and Mobile Apps.

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