Each year, Safe Work Australia (SWA) produces national work health and safety statistics, providing important evidence on the state of work health and safety in Australian states and territories.
The most recent figures published by SWA show that the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry sector had the highest worker fatality rate of any industry sector.
The figures are published in the Key Work Health and Safety Statistics, Australia 2022 report, which provides an overview of national work-related fatality data for 2021 and workers’ compensation claims data for 2020-21. Overall, across all sectors, 169 people were fatally injured at work in 2021.
The report revealed that vehicle collisions accounted for 38 per cent of all worker fatalities and that machinery operators and drivers had the highest number of fatalities by occupation (68 fatalities). Vehicle collisions included claims where the injury was the direct result of a vehicle crash. Vehicles included machines such as aircraft, boats, loaders, tractors and quad bikes.
The Safe Work Australia report also included information on serious injury claims during 2020-21.
The number of serious claims in agriculture, forestry and fishing was recorded at 4,159 for the period, which was the highest frequency rate (11.1 claims per million hours worked) of any industry sector and the highest incidence rate (20.2 claims per 1000 employees). The next highest frequency rates were in health care and social assistance (10.2), manufacturing (9.6) and construction (8.8).
Understanding the causes and the industries most affected can help reduce work-related fatalities, injuries and disease which have a devastating impact on workers, their families and the community.
Other key findings of the report include the fatality rate of workers in Australia which demonstrated a decrease by 35 per cent in the last 10 years and that 96 per cent of worker fatalities were male.