A 53-year-old man died after falling about three metres on a construction site in Copelen St, South Yarra, Melbourne.

The Mornington man fell through a penetration in the floor and died last week (January 6) at the Alfred Hospital.

WorkSafe is investigating the incident, the first workplace fatality of 2005.

The incident came a short time after WorkCover Minister Rob Hulls called on Victorian employers and workers to carry out safety checks in their workplaces and to eliminate potential risks.

WorkSafe’s acting executive director Rob Sheers said the incident provided a timely warning to the construction industry that great care was needed when working at height and that penetrations must be adequately guarded.

“Construction deaths were the second highest, after farming, in 2004. Of the seven construction deaths last year, one involved a fall, but in 2003, five men died in construction-related deaths.

“As the working year begins for many people, now is the time to undertake risk assessments. Identify potential hazards and ensure they’re removed. Regular checks are needed to ensure changes in the workplace are accommodated.

“By working together, the 32,000 injury claims on Victoria’s employer-funded workplace insurance scheme can be reduced, and with it a lot of permanent pain and suffering.”

WorkSafe investigated 29 deaths in Victorian workplaces in 2004.