The man, who was a customer at a motor workshop, became the state of Victoria’s third work-related victim this year.

WorkSafe Victoria said: “Incidents involving heavy loads falling are common. While not always resulting in a fatality they can lead to dreadful, often permanent, injuries.”

In 2006 more than half of the 29 deaths reported to WorkSafe involved crushing.

“Workplace deaths and injuries do not have to happen. The working and business community has to put down its foot,” said WorkSafe Victoria’s executive director John Merritt.

He added: “After 29 deaths in 2006, an increase on the 18 of 2005, the community needs to commit itself to making 2007 the year of safety.”