Nine deaths at work

LAST year's workplace fatalities were on par with the long-term average, but Unions Tasmania has raised concerns about the rate of construction industry deaths.

About half of the nine deaths in 2013 were directly or indirectly related to the industry.

Unions Tasmania secretary Kevin Harkins said in the past 12 to 18 months, he believed that the number of construction industry deaths had worsened.

"There has been a larger upturn in the number of fatalities in the construction industry in particular," he said.

"This has got something to do with the competitive nature of the industry at the moment, because of the shortage of work ... it's cut-throat at the moment.

"Safety is coming third, fourth or fifth priority. It should be number one."

Mr Harkins urged WorkSafe Tasmania to better understand why workplace deaths and serious injuries occurred.

He said the unions were involved with the formation of a WorkCover strategic plan, released last year, and they welcomed the plan.

"Now we need to see it used to stop workplace fatalities and serious injuries," Mr Harkins said.

"We need to make sure that the resources are made available to the inspectors and penalties are applied to employers who don't do the right thing.

"Allow prosecutions to take place if necessary," he said.

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