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Employers and workers told "get the basics right"

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The fifth Victorian workplace death in a week has led WorkSafe to call on workers and business operators to go "back to basics".

A 64-year-old man has died after falling more than four metres from a second storey balcony on a house under construction in Gissara Court, Wonga Park, in Melbourne's east.

WorkSafe's preliminary investigation has identified inadequate fall protection as a contributing factor.

Ten people have died in incidents reported to WorkSafe this year.

WorkSafe's executive director, John Merritt, said most workplace deaths and injuries were the result of known risks that had not been acted on.

"Workplace deaths are not 'freak accidents'. They are, in general, the result of basic safety issues not being attended to.

"There is little difference between the incident that someone walks away from and the one that leaves a family and workmates grieving. The dangers of all workplaces can be identified through a basic risk assessment carried out by employers and workers.

"It is not good enough to say 'we're too busy’ or 'we've always done it this way and nothing's ever happened’.

"The reality is that dangers can lie just below the surface and may never emerge, but when they do through a combination of factors, the results are devastating."

Mr Merritt said ensuring people were properly trained, supervised, have the right equipment and that they use it is vital. Workers need to understand their job, how they are going to do it and work in a safe way.

"There are very few 'freak accidents'. Most people die or are hurt at work as a result of foreseeable factors," Mr Merritt said.

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