Time to breakdown the latest workplace health and safety statistics for Australia. Every year Safe Work Australia publishes its key workplace health and safety statistics report, and for those of you like me who do like to digest some statistics, it makes for interesting reading. For those of you that get bogged down in this type of thing, I’ll try and breakdown some of the key takeaways for you. You can read the actual report here:


In this post, we will consider fatalities. Before we do a good question to ask is, why would we want to look at statistics, particularly in relation to something as sad as workplace fatalities. For me, the answer is that these statistics really help inform where we want to focus our efforts on in our proactive work health and safety strategies.

What are the raw numbers and trends?

The good news is that we are continuing to see a reduction in the number of people who are fatally injured at work. This rate has decreased by 53% from a peak in 2007. The bad news is that there are still nearly 200 (183) people killed every year in Australia due to workplace accidents, and this number has risen from around 150 in the previously measured year.

Who is it happening to?

There is a large difference in gender, with men having a significantly higher risk or fatalities at work compared to females. There is also a gradual rise in the likelihood of fatalities in the workplace with age.


As far as occupations are concerned, machinery operators and drivers have the highest rate of fatalities in Australia, followed by laborers and surprisingly after that managers. The managers is one I find interesting. It is impossible to be sure, but I suspect supervisors may take higher risk jobs from time to time.

What are the causes of injury?

By far the main cause of injury was vehicle collision. Other mechanisms such as falls from height, being hit by falling and moving objects were all similar as the second most likely cause. You can see all the mechanisms in the graph below.

As usual, there is more detail in the full report, but hopefully this gives you a nice overview and can help you to consider if your work health and safety strategies are focusing on the right areas.