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National work health and safety statistics published

Each year, Safe Work Australia produces national work health and safety statistics, providing important evidence on the state of work health and safety in Australia.

Their latest publication, Key Work Health and Safety Statistics, Australia 2022, provides an overview of national work-related fatality data for 2021 and workers’ compensation claims data for 2020-21.

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.

Work-related fatalities 2021

Tragically, 169 people were fatally injured at work in 2021.

Other key findings include:

  • The fatality rate of workers in Australia has decreased by 35 per cent in the last 10 years.
  • 96 per cent of worker fatalities were male.
  • Vehicle collisions accounted for 38 per cent of all worker fatalities.
  • Machinery operators and drivers had the highest number of fatalities by occupation (68 fatalities).
  • The agriculture, forestry and fishing industry had the highest worker fatality rate (10.4 per 100,000).

Workers’ compensation claims 2020–21

  • There were 130,195 serious workers’ compensation claims in Australia.
  • Body stressing was the leading cause of serious workers’ compensation claims (37 per cent).
  • Mental health conditions account for a relatively small but increasing proportion of serious claims, rising from 6 per cent of all serious claims in 2014-15 to 9 per cent in 2019-20.
  • In 2020-21, there were 474 accepted workers’ compensation claims for COVID-19.
  • The age group with the lowest frequency rate was workers aged 35-39 years, at 5.2 serious claims per million hours worked.

More information

Read the Key Work Health and Safety Statistics, Australia 2022 report.