200 work deaths while Barnett stalls on safety laws - UnionsWA

200 work deaths while Barnett stalls on safety laws

Commemorating work fatalities on Worker’s Memorial Day, UnionsWA has criticised the Barnett Government for failing to streamline and strengthen health and safety laws.

Meredith Hammat, Secretary UnionsWA said:

“The national project to simplify and strengthen health and safety laws began in 2008 yet still there has been no law reform from the Barnett Government.

“In that time, over 200 West Australians have died at work.

“On average one person dies through work every two weeks.

“Every death is a tragedy for loved ones, but the best commemoration is to recommit to greater safety.

“How many more deaths and injuries must occur before West Australians have simpler, stronger safety laws?

“Work fatalities fluctuate greatly over time and after a rise in 2007 these rates have declined.

“That is a credit to the safety-consciousness of working people, unions, governments and most employers.

“But the complacency and indecision of the Barnett Government is breath-taking and inexcusable.

“The most fatal industries in WA are, in order: agriculture, transportation, mining, manufacturing and construction.

”All working people and employers should be concerned.

“The financial cost and distress of work fatalities cannot be under-estimated.”

The worst industries in WA for work fatalities 


Fatality Incidence Rate*



Agriculture, forestry & fishing



Transport, postal & warehousing
















Sources and notes:

Work-Related Traumatic Injury Fatalities 2012 (Safe Work Australia, October 2013) is available here. Data drawn from Table 15 and 17 (Pages 18-20):

*Incidence rate is per 100,000 workers.  Note Safe Work Australia (see below) only record rates for industries with a significant number of fatalities to ensure that rates are rigorous.

**Safe Work Australia provided this figure directly to UnionsWA as, while the fatality incidence rate is WA is rigorous, nationally for the Mining Industry it was not but neither was previously published.

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