Key Work Health and Safety Statistics Australia

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					Key Work Health and Safety
    Statistics, Australia

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ii ... Safe Work Australia
 Key Work Health
     and Safety
Statistics, Australia

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Key work health and safety statistics   1
National OHS Strategy 2002–2012         2
Injury and musculoskeletal claims       2
Fatalities                              3
Aspirational target                     3
Industry                                5
Types of workers’ compensation claims   6
Work-related fatalities                 8
Occupational disease indicators         10
Mesothelioma                            11
Jurisdictional comparison               12
Premium rates                           13
Sources                                 14
Key work health and safety statistics
•      In 2008–09, there were 133 485 workers’ compensation claims
       for serious1 work-related injuries or illnesses. This equates to an
       incidence rate of 13.5 serious claims per 1000 employees.
•      Preliminary data for 2009–10 show there were 127 620 serious
       workers’ compensation claims, which equates to 12.6 serious
       claims per 1000 employees. While the final number of accepted
       claims for this year is likely to be around 3% higher, this will still
       represent an improvement from 2008–09.
•      Male employees experienced nearly twice the rate of serious injury
       or disease compared with female employees.
•      Incidence rates of serious workers’ compensation claims increase
       with employee age.
•      The highest incidence rates were recorded by Labourers & related
       workers, over double the rate for all occupations.
•      The Transport & storage, Manufacturing and Agriculture, forestry
       & Fishing industries recorded the highest incidence rates of all
       industries, all with nearly twice the rate for all industries.
•      A typical serious workers’ compensation claim involves four weeks
       absence from work.
•      One-quarter of serious claims required 12 or more weeks off work.
•      One in five serious claims involved an injury to the back.
•      The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Work Related Injury Survey
       showed 53 out of every 1000 workers experienced an injury
       or illness in the workplace in 2009–10. However, half of these
       incidents involved less than one day or shift absent from work.
•      In 2009–10, 216 workers died due to an injury incurred at work.
       This equates to 1.9 deaths per 100 000 workers.
•      Work related injury and illness were estimated to cost $60.6 billion
       in the 2008–09 financial year. This represented 4.8% of GDP.

1 Serious claims involve a death, a permanent incapacity or a temporary incapacity requiring an absence
from work of one working week or more

                                               Key Work Health and Safety Statistics 2012 … 1
National OHS Strategy 2002–2012

Injury and musculoskeletal claims
Target: 40% reduction in the incidence of work-related injury by 30 June
2012 with 20% improvement required to meet the 2006–07 interim
Result: There was a 25% decrease in the injury incidence rate up to
2009–10 (Figure 1). A much greater rate of improvement is required to
meet the 2012 target.

Figure 1 Incidence of serious claims: achieved versus reduction required to
                                meet target
Claims per 1000 employees






                                  base 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12

        Actual                   14.78   14.39    14.16   13.82       12.90     12.40      12.10      11.62   10.77
                                         Actual                   Reduction required to meet target                   Projection

2 ... Safe Work Australia
Target: 20% reduction in the incidence of compensated work-related
fatalities by 30 June 2012 with 10% improvement required to meet the
2006–07 interim target.
Result: A 42% decrease was recorded up to 2009–10 which is twice the
desired result. However, as Figure 2 shows, the volatility in this measure
means that consistent improvement is still required to ensure the 2012
target is achieved.

                                 Figure 2 Incidence of fatalities: achieved versus reduction required to
                                                               meet target
 Claims per 100 000 employees



                                          base 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12
                                Actual   2.44    2.30        2.09   2.07     2.14      2.09       2.22         1.88   1.34
                                                    Actual                 Reduction required to meet target                 Projection

Aspirational target
Target: Australia to have the lowest work-related traumatic injury fatality
rate in the world by 2009.
Result: While the gap between Australia and the better performing
countries has reduced, Australia remains in seventh place and did not
meet this aspirational goal.

                                                                           Key Work Health and Safety Statistics 2012 … 3
                            Figure 3 Comparison of Australia’s work-related injury fatality rate with the best performing countries



4 ... Safe Work Australia



                            Fatalities per 100 000 workers

                                                                    2001-2003   2002-2004   2003-2005     2004-2006    2005-2007    2006-2008   2007-2009

                                                                                Australia        Sweden               UK                Denmark
                                                                                Finland          Norway               Switzerland       New Zealand
                                                 •    In 2009–10, four industries ( Agriculture, forestry & fishing; Transport & storage; Manufacturing and
                                                      Construction) had incidence rates substantially above the all industries rate of 12.6 serious claims per
                                                      1000 employees (Figure 4). These industries, with the addition of the Health & community services
                                                      industry, were identified as priority industries under the National OHS Strategy 2002–2012.

                                                                               Figure 4 Incidence rates of serious claims by industry, 2009–10p

                                                                      Transport and storage                                                            24.0
                                                                              Manufacturing                                                            21.9
                                                            Agriculture, forestry and fishing                                                          21.5
                                                                                Construction                                                           19.6
                                                               Personal and other services                                                             18.2
                                                                                      Mining                                                           14.9
                                                            Health and community services                                                              14.2
                                                                             Wholesale trade                                                           13.5
                                                     Government administration and defence                                                             13.0
                                                      Accommodation, cafes and restaurants                                                             10.0
                                                          Cultural and recreational services                                                            9.4
                                                                                 Retail trade                                                           8.5
                                                            Property and business services                                                              7.7
                                                           Electricity, gas and water supply                                                            7.0
                                                                                   Education                                                            6.6
                                                                   Communication services                                                               6.3
                                                                      Finance and insurance                                                             2.7
                                                                                                0     5            10          15         20      25

Key Work Health and Safety Statistics 2012 … 5
                                                                                                          Serious claims per 1000 employees
                            Types of workers’ compensation claims
                            •    In 2009–10, injury or poisoning accounted for 72% of serious workers’ compensation claims, with
                                 disease claims accounting for the balance. However, the number of disease claims is likely to be
                                 underestimated due to difficulties associated with linking the disease to workplace exposure.
                            •    The most common work-related injuries were sprains and strains (43% of all serious claims).

6 ... Safe Work Australia
                                              Figure 5 Serious claims: percentage by nature of injury or disease, 2009–10p

                                  Sprains and strains of joints and adjacent muscles                                                 43.0
                                                                            Fractures                                                8.2
                                     Open wound not involving traumatic amputation                                                   7.6
                                Contusion with intact skin surface excluding fractures                                               6.2
                                 Disorders of muscle, tendons and other soft tissues                                                 6.1
                                     Dorsopathies - disorders of the spinal vertebrae                                                5.8
                                                                     Mental disorders                                                5.5
                                                                            Deafness                                                 4.1
                                                                               Hernia                                                2.5
                                                                                Burns                                                1.4
                                                                          Dislocation                                                1.3
                                                                        Other injuries                                               4.6
                                                                       Other disease                                                 3.6
                                                                                         0%   10%       20%          30%       40%
                                                                                                Percentage of serious claims
                                                 •	   Body stressing, Falls, trips & slips of a person and Being hit by a moving object were the mechanisms of
                                                      work-related injury or illness responsible for 75% of serious workers’ compensation claims in 2009–10
                                                      (Figure 6). These mechanisms, together with Hitting objects with part of the body, were identified as
                                                      priority mechanisms in the National OHS Strategy 2002–2012. There has been little change in the
                                                      proportion of claims due to these mechanisms since the Strategy began.

                                                              Figure 6 Serious claims: Percentage by mechanism of injury/disease, 2009–10p

                                                                                     Body stressing                                                   40.8
                                                                   Falls, trips and slips of a person                                                 20.9
                                                                      Being hit by moving objects                                                     13.6
                                                            Hitting objects with a part of the body                                                   6.8
                                                                                      Mental stress                                                   5.3
                                                                               Sound and pressure                                                     4.2
                                                      Other and unspecified mechanisms of injury                                                      2.0
                                                                                   Vehicle incident                                                   1.4
                                                                    Heat, radiation and electricity                                                   1.0
                                                                  Chemicals and other substances                                                      4.0

                                                                                                        0%   10%    20%         30%          40%

Key Work Health and Safety Statistics 2012 … 7
Work-related fatalities
•     Preliminary data for 2009–10 shows there were 194 accepted
      workers’ compensation claims for work-related deaths, down from
      the 254 recorded for 2008–09.
•     Two thirds of compensated fatalities were due to injury (134 in
      2009–10), with the remainder due to disease.
•     However, workers’ compensation data do not include fatalities
      where there are no dependants to lodge a claim or where the
      worker was self-employed. Therefore, workers’ compensation data
      underestimate the total number of work-related fatalities.
•     The Work-related Traumatic Injury Fatalities report combines
      information on fatalities from a number of sources. The 2009–10
      report showed there were 216 worker fatalities, 79 commuting
      fatalities and 42 bystanders killed as a result of someone else’s
      work activity. This is the lowest number of work-related fatalities
      since the series began in 2003–04.
•     Table 1 shows that the Transport, postal & warehousing industry
      had the highest number of fatalities in 2009–10 (51 deaths) with
      the Agriculture, forestry & fishing industry recording the highest
      fatality rate (11.4 deaths per 100 000 workers).
•     More recent data on work-related fatalities can be found in the
      Notified	Fatalities	Statistical	Report for 2010–11. This report only
      includes those deaths notified to work health and safety authorities
      and generally does not include work-related deaths due to traffic
      incidents on public roads. This report shows that the number of
      notifiable worker fatalities fell from a series high of 151 in 2008–09
      to a series low of 111 in 2009–10, but then increased slightly in
      2010–11 to 120 fatalities.

      Based on these data it is expected that when the Work-related
      Traumatic Injury Fatalities figures are compiled for the 2010–11
      period they will also show an increase. However, because of the
      more comprehensive methodology used when compiling this
      report, the figures for 2010–11 will differ from those presented in
      the Notified	Fatalities	Statistical	Report.

8 ... Safe Work Australia
    Table 1 Worker fatalities: number and fatality rate (fatalities per 100 000
                               workers), 2009–10

Industry                                                           Number            Fatality Rate
Agriculture, forestry & fishing                                           42                 11.4
Transport, postal & warehousing                                           51                  8.8
Construction                                                              39                   3.9
Mining                                                                      6                  3.5
Rental, hiring & real estate services                                       5                  2.7
Administrative & support services                                           9                  2.4
Manufacturing                                                             24                   2.4
Electricity, gas, water & waste services                                    3                  2.3
Wholesale trade                                                             6                  1.4
Arts & recreation services                                                  2                  1.0
Public administration & safety                                              5                  0.7
Retail trade                                                                8                  0.7
Health care & social assistance                                             6                  0.5
Other industries                                                            9                  0.2
All industries                                                          216                    1.9
Source: Work-related Traumatic Injury Fatalities, 2009–10

•       The total number of work-related disease fatalities has been
        conservatively estimated to be at least 2000 deaths per year2.
•       In 2007, there were 551 registered deaths attributed to
        mesothelioma: an increase on the 486 deaths registered in 2006.
        It has been estimated that the numbers will not peak until after

2 Kerr et al. 1996. Best Estimate of the Magnitude of Health Effects of Occupational Exposure to Hazardous
Substances, Worksafe Australia Developmental Grant Final Report, April 1996.
3 Clements et al. 2007. Actuarial projections for mesothelioma: an epidemiological perspective. Presented to
the Actuaries of Australia XIth Accident Compensation Seminar.

                                               Key Work Health and Safety Statistics 2012 … 9
Occupational disease indicators
•      Safe Work Australia has identified eight priority occupational
       disease groups to receive attention. These disease groups have
       been chosen because they have a high attribution to the work
•      Workers’ compensation data are complemented, where
       possible, by information from the other sources4 to better identify
       occupational disease trends.
•      Table 2 presents the trends in the incidence of occupational
       disease between 2000–01 and 2008–09. Decreasing trends were
       observed for five of the eight priority disease groups. Noise-
       induced hearing loss; Respiratory diseases and Occupational
       cancers did not display a clear overall trend of increase or

    Table 2 Occupational disease indicators: trend from 2000–01 to 2008–09
            Trend over time                       Occupational Disease

                                                 Musculoskeletal disorders

                                                 Mental disorders

                      è                           Noise-induced hearing loss

                                                 Infectious and parasitic diseases

                      è                           Respiratory diseases

                                                 Contact dermatitis

                                                 Cardiovascular diseases

                      è                           Occupational cancers

4 National Hospital Morbidity Database, National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System, National Cancer
Statistics Clearing House

10 ... Safe Work Australia
•                         Data on the number of new cases of mesothelioma are collected
                          nationally by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
•                         The number of new cases of mesothelioma diagnosed increased
                          from 156 in 1982 to a peak of 668 in 2007. In 2008, 661 cases
                          were diagnosed. Based on a number of projections, the incidence
                          of mesothelioma is not expected to peak until after 2014.
•                         The age standardised rate of new cases of mesothelioma has
                          increased from 1.1 new cases per 100 000 population in 1983 to
                          2.9 in 2008.
•                         The majority (80–90%) of mesothelioma cases involve males.

                                Figure 7 The number of new cases of mesothelioma by sex and
                                               year of diagnosis, 1982 to 2008
    Number of new cases
               ew case





                                                          Year of diagnosis

                                                       Key Work Health and Safety Statistics 2012 … 11
Jurisdictional comparison
•     In 2008–09 the lowest incidence rate of serious workers’
      compensation claims was recorded by the Australian Government
      (Figure 8) with Queensland and Tasmania recording the highest
      rates. The preliminary data for 2009–10 show a similar pattern.
            Figure 8 Incidence of serious claims: jurisdiction by year
                           Serious claims per 1000 employees






                                                                     Qld    Tas    NSW    ACT    SA     NT     WA     Vic
        2008–09                                                      17.0   16.9   14.8   13.2   13.3   12.3   12.7   10.3   8.0
        2009–10p                                                     15.5   15.4   14.2   13.1   12.5   11.9   11.5   9.5    7.5
        Aus Avg 2009–10                                              12.6   12.6   12.6   12.6   12.6   12.6   12.6   12.6   12.6

•     Long term claims are those involving 12 or more weeks of
      compensation. The lowest rate of long term claims in 2008–09
      was recorded by the Australian Government. The highest rate was
      recorded by the Australian Capital Territory (Figure 9). Preliminary
      data for 2009–10 should be used with caution as they are likely to
      increase as claims already lodged are accepted by the jurisdictions.

           Figure 9 Incidence of long term claims: jurisdiction by year
             Long term claims per 1000 employees





                                                                     ACT    SA     Qld    Tas    WA     NSW    Vic    NT
        2008–09                                                      4.1    3.9    4.0    3.9    3.8    3.6    3.3    2.9    2.2
        2009–10p                                                     3.8    3.7    3.5    3.3    3.1    2.9    2.9    2.4    1.9
        Aus Avg 2009–10                                              3.1    3.1    3.1    3.1    3.1    3.1    3.1    3.1    3.1

12 ... Safe Work Australia
Premium rates
•      The standardised average premium rate5 in Australia has decreased
       29%, from 2.15% of payroll in 2004-05 to 1.53% in 2009–10.
•      Standardised premium rates across the jurisdictions range from
       0.93% of payroll in Australian Government to 2.76% in South

           Figure 10 Standardised premium rates by jurisdiction, 2009–10
                 Percentage of payroll



                                                       ACT                                                Aus
                                               SA               NT     NSW    Tas    Vic    WA     Qld
                                                      Private                                             Gov
          2009–10                              2.76    2.03     1.82   1.82   1.40   1.39   1.22   1.12   0.93
          2009–10 Aus avg                      1.53    1.53     1.53   1.53   1.53   1.53   1.53   1.53   1.53

5 Standardisation takes into account differences in remuneration, employer excess and journey claim
coverage. Figures include self-insurers.

                                                                  Key Work Health and Safety Statistics 2012 … 13
All workers’ compensation statistics regarding claims have been sourced
from the National Dataset for Compensation-based Statistics (NDS).
Safe Work Australia produces an annual comprehensive statistical
bulletin, the Compendium of Workers’ Compensation Statistics,
Australia, in which many of the national statistics in this booklet can
found. Additional information on fatalities can be found in the reports
Work-related Traumatic Injury Fatalities and Notified	Fatalities	Statistical	
Jurisdictional data, workers’ compensation scheme data and more
information on progress towards the National OHS Strategy 2002–2012
targets is available in the Comparative Performance Monitoring (CPM)
Information on occupational disease can be found in the publication,
Occupational Disease Indicators.
Information on Mesothelioma can be found in the publication
Mesothelioma in Australia.
Information on the cost of occupational injury and disease can be found
in the report The Cost of Work-related Injury and Illness for Australian
Employers, Workers and the Community.
All of these reports can be found on the Safe Work Australia website at

14 ... Safe Work Australia
Safe Work Australia
GPO Box 641
Canberra ACT 2601

Phone:   02 6121 9256

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