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Machinery operators, drivers faced highest number of workplace fatalities in 2019


Safe Work Australia has released updated work health and safety statistics, which compiles national data on all workers and bystanders injured at work.

Throughout October , Safe Work Australia has conducted Safe Work Month, to support workplace health and safety.

It has also released its key work health and safety statistics report, about work-related injury and disease between 2018 and 2019, and work-related injury fatalities statistics for 2019.

Australia’s work-related fatality rate has decreased by 53 per cent from its 2007 peak exceeding 300 fatalities. However, the numbers of death have increased from just below 150 fatalities in 2018 to 183 fatalities in 2019.

Mining had seven fatalities in 2019 and construction had 26 fatalities in the same period.

A total of 43 per cent of workplace fatalities were caused by vehicle collision, while 11 per cent were caused by falls from heights and another 11 per cent from being height by falling objects. The “other mechanisms” category accounted for 16 per cent of fatalities.

Machinery operators and drivers had a rate of 8.3 fatalities per 100,000 workers, followed by labourers at a rate of 2.3 per 100,000 workers and managers at 1.6 per 100,000 workers.

Workers aged 65 and over saw the highest fatality rate of 5.4, compared to workers in the 25-34 age bracket who experienced 0.8 fatalities per 100,000 workers.

Of the 183 fatalities recorded, New South Wales had the highest number of worker fatalities occur in 2019 (62). It was followed by Queensland (41)Victoria (34), Western Australia (20), South Australia (14), the Northern Territory (6), and Tasmania (6).

However, the Northern Territory recorded the highest frequency of fatalities per 100,000 workers (4.6), followed by Tasmania (2.4), South Australia (1.6), Queensland (1.6), Western Australia (1.5), New South Wales (1.5) and Victoria (1.0).

The Australian Capital Territory recorded zero fatalities in 2019.

The report also found there were 114,435 serious workers’ compensation claims in Australia in 2018-19.

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