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Australian Workers’ Compensation Stats: Injuries, Causes, Trends (2000-2019)

Safe Work Australia’s Australian Workers’ Compensation Statistics publication provides detailed information on workers’ compensation claims in Australia. The intent of issuing the publication is to improve public access to information about work health and safety.

Data are presented by key variables such as industry, occupation, age group and gender. The report also includes information on the circumstances surrounding work-related injuries and diseases, time lost from work and compensation paid.

The report presents statistics in the form of “serious claims”.

What is a “serious claim”

A serious claim is an accepted workers’ compensation claim for an incapacity that resulted in a total absence from work of one working week or more. Serious claims exclude compensated fatalities.

The statistics in the most current publication are of Australian workers’ compensation claims that were lodged between 2000–01 and 2018–19. The statistics are an indicator of Australia’s work health and safety performance over the 19–year period between 2000–01 and 2018–19.

Key Findings

Key findings of the report include:

  • There were 114,435 serious Australian workers’ compensation claims in 2018-2019.
  • The main causes of serious claims (by mechanism in incident) were body stressing (36%), falls trips and slips (23%) and being hit by moving objects (16%).
  • The three occupations with the highest rates of serious claims (per million hours worked) were labourers (16.4), community and personal service workers (11.9) and machinery operators and drivers (10.4).
  • The Health care and social assistance industry accounted for 17% of serious claims in 2018–19, followed by the Construction and Manufacturing industries which both accounted for around 12% of serious claims. Together, these three industries accounted for 41% of all serious claims, while making up only around 30% of the workforce
  • Between 2000–01 and 2017–18, the median time lost for a serious claim rose by 48% from 4.2 to 6.2 working weeks. Over the same period, the median compensation paid for a serious claim rose by 193% from $4,300 to $12,600.

As well as an employer’s lawful obligations to ensure the workplace is safe and that anyone working in or visiting the workplace is not exposed to hazards or harmed by the work, getting work health and safety rights delivers many benefits to people and to organisations; greater productivity, lower absenteeism, fewer workplace injury and workers’ compensation claims and lower workers’ compensation premiums.

Whether you’re a new business or an established one, a smart place to start with your employee wellbeing management system is when a new employee commences.

Bare Bones Consulting can show you a simple, cost-effective tool to ensure your newbie understands how they contribute to your business health and safety obligations.

Like to know more? Check out our HR Compliance & Risk Management services.

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Note: Bare Bones Consulting provides HR services for employers. Employees seeking advice on workplace concerns should contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94.