Workplace Safety Statistics in Australia

Here are work health and safety (WHS) trends by the numbers from Safe Work Australia.
workplace safety statistics

One of the core functions of Safe Work Australia (SWA) is to develop and maintain an evidence base to inform WHS and workers’ compensation policies and practices.

Yearly, it publishes key work health and safety (WHS) figures that present an overview of the latest national work-related injury, disease and fatality statistics.

Update:

The 'Key Work Health and Safety Statistics Australia 2023' data is outhttps://data.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/insights/key-whs-stats-2023

key whs statistics 2023 australia

For the most up-to-date WHS data, please refer to the SWA's August 2023 launch of https://data.safeworkaustralia.gov.au, where "data to analyse and research work health and safety and workers' compensation trends across Australia" are compiled in an interactive format.

Disclaimer: The key statistics and images below are directly taken from and attributed to SWA under Creative Commons 4.0. No copyright infringement is intended.

 

Work-related fatalities

In 2022:

Overall, documented fatalities due to occupational causes have been decreasing since the 2007 peak, but are slowly rising again since the 2018 trough:

australia work fatalities 2022

(Excludes work-related fatalities resulting from diseases, natural causes and suicides)

From 2016 to 2021, way more males suffered work-related deaths than females.

2021:

2020 2019 2018 2017 2016

 

The highest number of work-related deaths were recorded in New South Wales.

2021:

australia worker fatalities by state

2020 2019 2018 2017 2016

 

Most deaths were the result of vehicle collisions (eg. car, truck, aircraft, boat, loader, tractor, quad bike etc.). From 2016 to 2021, the third leading cause of death was falls from heights (except in 2019, when it was tied with “being hit by moving objects” as the second leading cause of death).

2021:

2020 2019 2018 2017 2016

 

Most fatality victims were machine operators and drivers or, essentially, those who work with or near vehicles (top cause of death, see the previous figure).

2021:

2020 2019 2018 2017 2016

 

“Agriculture, forestry and fishing” remain the industries where most fatalities were recorded.

2021:

2020 2019 2018 2017 2016

 

Work-related injuries and diseases

Here are the 2022 figures from SWA based on preliminary estimates.

 

There were significantly more serious claims filed compared to the preceding years:

2020 - 2021
2019 - 2020
2018 - 2019
2017 - 2018
2016 - 2017

 

“Body stressing” and “falls, slips and trips” have remained the top two mechanisms of incident since 2016.

2021:

2019 - 2020 2018 - 2019 2017 - 2018 2016 - 2017

 

Roughly 7 out of 10 serious claims filed resulted in injuries, most of which were classified as traumas to the joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons.

2021:

2019 - 2020 2018 - 2019 2017 - 2018 2016 - 2017

 

The injuries were still mostly to the upper and lower limbs.

2021:

2019 - 2020 2018 - 2019 2017 - 2018 2016 - 2017

 

In terms of occupation, those who filed for serious claims were mostly labourers, followed by community and personal service workers and machinery operators and drivers.

2019 - 2020 2018 - 2019 2017 - 2018 2016 - 2017

We'll continue to monitor the SWA’s release of updated information and amend the figures accordingly. Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter below so you don’t miss the update.