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

Of the 523 fatalities examined in this study, 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.

Healthy and safe by design is an action area of the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2022.


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