Australia: Workers’ Comp Statistics Released

March 16, 2009
The Australian Safety and Compensation Council (ASCC) recently announced the release of a detailed analysis of compensated work-related injury and disease among employees in Australia, which shows a trend in declining workplace fatalities.

The report, the Annual Compendium of Workers' Compensation Statistics 2006-07, is the sixteenth report released as part of the Compendium series.

According to ASCC Chairman Bill Scales, the report’s preliminary data showed that in 2006-07, there were 236 compensated fatalities and 132,055 serious workers’ compensation claims in Australia. This equates to 2.5 fatalities per 100,000 employees and 14 serious workers’ compensation claims per 1,000 employees.

“Even one work-related death is one too many,” Scales said. “However, as a nation, we are continuing to reduce workplace fatalities.”

According to Scales, the number of workplace fatalities fell 21 percent, from 320 down to 254, over the period 2000-01 to 2005-06. In this period, incidence rates also fell by 29 percent, from 4 fatalities per 100,000 employees down to 2.8.

Some key findings of the compendium include:

  • The majority (73 percent) of the serious claims involved injury (95,910 claims) and the remaining 27 percent (36,145 claims) were disease related. The most common injury leading to a serious claim was sprains and strains of joints and adjacent muscles, which accounted for 41 percent of all serious claims.
  • Men accounted for 68 percent of all serious workers’ compensation claims with incidence rates, almost twice that of women.
  • Over the period 2000-01 to 2005-06, the number of serious claims decreased 6 percent from 144,740 claims to 136,575. All industries recorded falls in incidence rates over this period, though the wholesale trade industry only recorded a 1 percent fall. The electricity, gas and water supply industry recorded the greatest percentage improvement, a 43 percent fall, followed by the mining industry with a 36 percent fall.
  • The construction industry recorded the highest number of fatalities (50) followed by the transport and storage industry with 45 fatalities (of which 31 were in road freight transport).
  • Vehicle accidents were the most common cause of death, resulting in one third of the 236 fatalities. Thirty-one deaths occurred as a consequence of long-term contact with chemicals or substances.

Scales said that upon the release of this compendium, he would like to implore workers and managers to continually be vigilant in relation to workplace safety.

“We all have a responsibility for safety in our workplaces. And with a continued focus by workers, employers and governments we can continue to reduce death, injury and disease in Australian workplaces,” he said.

The Annual Compendium of Workers' Compensation Statistics 2006-07 report is available at http://ascc.gov.au.

About the Author

Laura Walter

Laura Walter was formerly senior editor of EHS Today. She is a subject matter expert in EHS compliance and government issues and has covered a variety of topics relating to occupational safety and health. Her writing has earned awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE), the Trade Association Business Publications International (TABPI) and APEX Awards for Publication Excellence. Her debut novel, Body of Stars (Dutton) was published in 2021.

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