As well as these statistics, the report provides data on the industries in which these incidents occur, causation factors, and other demographic information like the age and gender of the workers involved. These data sets paint a comprehensive picture of the work-related traumatic injury fatalities in Australia.
Here are some of the key findings and statistics:
Total fatalities and fatality rate
The report’s most notable finding is that worker fatalities increased, with 183 worker fatalities in 2019 due to injuries sustained during a work-related activity. 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 fatality rate refers to the number of fatalities per 100,000 workers. The 2019 fatality rate was 1.4, up by 0.3 from 2018. This figure shows an increase from 1.1 (fatalities /100 000 workers) in 2018 and a significant drop (62%) since the 2007 peak of 3.0 deaths per 100 000 workers recorded.
Of the 183 total worker fatalities in 2019, 6 were female, and 177 were male.
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. Some of the listed sectors (such as Manufacturing, Accommodation and Food Services, Health Care and Social Assistance, and Public Administration and Safety) have low fatality rates but high non-fatal injury rates. Accordingly, the priority industries are as follows:
- Transport, Postal and Warehousing
- Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
- Community and Personnel Service Workers
- Machinery Operators and Drivers
The Transport, Postal and Warehousing, Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing, and Construction industries were the three main areas in which fatalities occurred, with 62% of all fatalities occurring in these industries. According to Safe Work Australia, many deaths in these industries could not be attributed to their size. Those figures suggest that the work’s nature/conditions/environment is responsible for the disproportionately high fatalities in these areas.
- Transport, Postal and Warehousing
The road transport industry (including postal and warehousing) had 58 worker fatalities in 2019.
The majority of these fatalities were due to vehicle collisions, followed by workers being hit by moving objects.
The agriculture industry (including forestry and fishing) had 30 worker fatalities in 2019. Within this number, 27% of worker fatalities are caused by vehicle collisions, 16% caused by workers being hit by moving objects, and 9% driven by falls from a height.
The construction industry had 26 worker fatalities in 2019. These fatalities’ leading cause fell from a height (buildings or ladders), followed by workers hit by falling objects, followed by vehicle collisions.
- Vehicles: the common thread
Overall, 43% of the worker fatalities in 2019 were related to vehicles; 79 out of the 183 total fatalities were attributed to this.
Occupation of workers
In 2019, workers in the following occupations killed:
- 72 Machinery operators and drivers (39% of all fatalities)
- 29 Labourers (16% of all fatalities), including farm, forestry and garden workers
- 28 Technicians and Tradespeople (15% of all fatalities)
- 25 Managers (13% of all fatalities).
Thirty-nine bystanders were killed due to the actions of another worker or a fault in a workplace in 2019. 46% were due to a vehicle collision, and 18% were due to a worker hit by a moving object.
This article’s data drawn from the Safe Work Australia’s Work-related Traumatic Injury Fatalities Report 2019. Infographic from Safe Work Australia Work-related Traumatic Injury Fatalities Report.
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 www.workcover.nsw.au
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