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WA Worker Deaths Rise To Nation's Worst

WA had the highest workplace death rate in Australia last year including a sharp jump from 2014.

The work fatality rate per 100,000 in WA worsened from 1.6 in 2014 to 2.6 in 2015, or from 22 to 35 deaths.

It was also the only state or territory in Australia where the work fatality rate worsened in 2015, according to SafeWork Australia data.

Tasmania was the next highest at 2.5.

The most recent death was last week, when 27-year-old German backpacker Marianka Heumann fell to her death from a Perth apartment development.

It was worrying that the long-term trend for work fatalities in WA was not improving, with the average rate over 13 years from 2003 to 2015 at 2.6, UnionsWA secretary Meredith Hammat said.

"There have been funding cuts to WorkSafe, including a cut in funds for WorkSafe inspectors," she said.

"WA has among the weakest penalties for workplaces that break work health and safety laws."

The West Australian economy relied on industries that were inherently dangerous such as construction, mining, transportation and agriculture, she said.

Commerce Minister Michael Mischin said the rate was falling, including a 46 per cent reduction since 2000-01 and a downward trend for the five-year average.

The fatality rate had been above 2015's 2.6 for five of the last 13 years including a high for WA of 4.0 in 2007.


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