Safe Work Australia unveils 2023 report on national work health and safety statistics

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Image credit: SafeWork NSW

Safe Work Australia has released the 2023 report titled, “Key Work Health and Safety Statistics Australia,” providing an overview of work health and safety in the country. 

The report noted that in 2022, 195 individuals lost their lives in work-related incidents in Australia, representing an increase from the previous year when 172 fatalities were recorded. 

However, the report highlighted a long-term trend of declining fatality rates since 2007. Additionally, it revealed that there were 6.5 serious workers’ compensation claims per million hours worked during the 2021-22 period.

“While the trends are encouraging, the statistics are still too high. Every work-related fatality is a tragedy, and there’s a lot more work to be done to ensure that everyone gets home safely,” Safe Work Australia CEO Michelle Baxter said.

She added, “We know that work-related fatalities, injuries, and disease have a devastating impact on workers and their families.

“This report brings together key data that will help inform improved WHS policy and practice to make Australian workplaces safer and healthier,” Baxter said.

In the year 2022, Australia witnessed a tragic toll of 195 individuals who suffered fatal injuries while at work, according to the report. 

These statistics shed light on the ongoing concerns surrounding workplace safety. Although there has been a 30 per cent decrease in traumatic injury fatalities among Australian workers since 2012, the figures remain alarming. 

A notable gender disparity exists, with 93% of worker fatalities being male. Moreover, an alarming 42 per cent of all worker fatalities involved vehicles, emphasising the importance of safety measures in transportation-related industries. 

The occupation with the highest number of fatalities was machinery operators and drivers, with a total of 74 fatalities. 

The agriculture, forestry, and fishing industries recorded the highest worker fatality rate at 14.7 per 100,000 workers.

On a related note, workers’ compensation claims in 2021-22 reached a substantial figure of 127,800 serious claims in Australia. The leading cause of these claims was attributed to body stressing, accounting for 32.6 per cent of cases. 

Equally concerning is the increase in mental health-related claims, constituting 9.2% of the total claims for the year 2021-22. 

This percentage has significantly risen over the past decade, from 6.5 per cent in 2011-12. Furthermore, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is evident, with a substantial increase in accepted serious workers’ compensation claims, jumping from 400 claims in 2020-21 to a staggering 9,500 claims in 2021-22. 

Despite these concerning statistics, it is noteworthy that the age group with the lowest frequency rate of claims remained workers aged 35-44 years, with 5.4 serious claims per million hours worked. 

To download the report, you may visit this link.