Safe Work Australia fatalities by state

2 December 2021 posted by Recovery Partners

The data and information below is taken from the Safe Work Australia key work health and safety statistics for 2021.

Safe Work Australia compiles the Work-related Traumatic Injury Fatalities data set which provides national statistics on all workers and bystanders fatally injured at work.

Work fatalities by mechanism of incident

41% of all fatalities (80 people) for 2020 were caused by vehicle collision. Vehicle collisions include fatalities that occurred as a direct result of a vehicle crash. Vehicles include not only road vehicles such as cars and trucks, but also machines such as aircraft, boats, loaders, tractors and quad bikes.

At 13%, being hit by moving objects was the second highest cause of fatality in the workplace during 2020.

Worker fatalities by occupation

Machinery operators and drivers accounted for 67 fatalities at work during 2020.

Several other occupations with high fatality rates include:

  • Labourers: 41 fatalities
  • Managers: 35 fatalities
  • Technicians and trades workers: 26

Work fatalities by industry

Safe Work Australia identified some industries as priority areas. These are industries with high numbers and rates of fatalities and injuries or involve hazardous work.

  • Agriculture, forestry and fishing: 46 fatalities
  • Transport, postal and warehousing: 49 fatalities
  • Construction: 36 fatalities
  • Manufacturing: 19 fatalities

Are Australian workplaces becoming safer?

In short, yes, Australian workplaces are becoming safer.

Safe Work Australia began compiling this information in 2003, and the number of deaths peaked four years later, with 310 fatalities recorded in 2007. After this point, fatalities and the fatality rate began to decline.

The serious claim frequency rate has also steadily declined and decreased by 23% from 2009-10 and 2018-19.

How to mitigate risks

Recovery Partners helps both small and large Australian businesses take a more proactive approach to managing risks and hazards in your workplaces. With our assistance, you can protect your staff, meet your WHS obligations and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your WHSMS. We offer a wide range of services to help your business run safely and conscientiously. These services help to safeguard staff wellbeing, productivity and ultimately, save lives.

Learn more today about our safety services.

Recovery Partners would also like to recognise that behind these figures and statistics are grieving families, friends and colleagues. Our deepest condolences to all those affected. We will continue to strive for safer workplaces in Australia.

Read the full Key work health and safety statistics Australia 2021 report.

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Disclaimer – these articles are provided to supply general safety information to people responsible for OHS in their organisation. They are general in nature and do not substitute for legal and/or professional advice. We always suggest that organisations obtain information specific to their needs. Additional information can be found at