By Andrew Starke

WorkSafe is investigating the death of a 54-year-old man who was taking delivery of beer kegs at the Royal Mail Hotel in Birregurra.

The man is believed to have succumbed to gas fumes at about 7.30am yesterday (Mar 11).

WorkSafe is investigating the possibility of a carbon dioxide leak in the cellar.

A delivery worker from Colac Wettenhalls tried to rescue the pub worker but was also affected by the gas. He was later treated by paramedics.

Police said the dead man had been a regular employee at the hotel for several years.

WorkSafe’s investigation is at an early stage, but acting executive director, Stan Krpan, said the incident was a tragic reminder of the risks of working in confined spaces with little ventilation.

“With or without a gas leak or chemical exposure, limited means of entry and exit, poor air circulation, and working in confined spaces, is risky,” he said. “Employers need to understand these risks and develop appropriate controls.

“This is an issue across industry, not just hotels,” he continued. “It is essential that appropriate controls and training are in place to manage these risks, because if they aren’t, the risk of death or serious injury is high.”

WorkSafe’s website has information on working in confined spaces.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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