Work Health and Safety Statistics in Australia
Not many Australians think they can be victim of a work accident until it’s too late. How safe do you feel in your workplace?
There is a wide range of accidents that can happen while on the job and these can devastate your career and impact your family. Australians even spend billions every year on medical services to recover from occupational injuries and diseases.
To monitor how much time, money and resources are spent, Safe Work Australia, the national body for occupational health, records all work-related accidents in the country. Now you can be aware if your industry, job role or location are among the most at risk.
Here are the latest figures based on the latest Key Work Health and Safety Statistics Report 2015.
1. Which industry has the highest injury rate?
Do you what is the most dangerous industry in Australia today?
The Top 6 industries with the highest incident rates of work-related claims and accidents are:
Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing leads the country with 21 out of every 1000 workers filing for a serious claim in their line of work.
This means that Forestry Workers, Farmers, Aquaculture Workers, Meat Process Workers and those in similar positions are some of the most at risk today.
Drivers, Motor Mechanics and Freight Handlers in the Transport, Postal & Warehousing Industry are the 2nd most accident-prone with more than 19 serious claims for every 1000 employees.
Health and Social Workers also have some of the highest incident rates. More than 14 serious claims are made for every 100 Aged Carers, Child Care Educators, Nurses, Psychologists, Welfare Support Workers and other related roles.
2. How much time do Aussie workers and professionals lose because of injuries?
Australians who file serious work-related claims lose a median time of almost 5 and a half weeks from work because of their injury or disease.
The down time is slightly lower for males at 5.2 weeks, while females lose 6 weeks.
This means that workers and professionals are forced to sit out for more than a month because of injuries or diseases.
Instead of earning a salary, gaining industry experience and honing their skills to advance their careers, Australians have to receive medical attention or stay at home.
3. What jobs or occupations are most frequently injured?
Are you working in one of the most dangerous jobs in Australia? The 5 job positions most prone to work-related injuries are:
Labourers file for serious work-related claims more frequently than any other occupation.
27 out of 1000 labourers have injuries or diseases because of their line of work that involve physically extensive tasks.
Community and personal service workers have the second highest incident rate. More than 24 out of a thousand welfare support workers or social workers have filed for serious claims.
Workers whose daily responsibilities involve machinery, heavy or specialised equipment, vehicles and those in the trades come next. These occupations often involve special training or licensing because of the added safety risks in their work environment.
4. Are men or women more prone to accidents?
Both genders are prone to work-related accidents, but males (61%) are responsible for a bigger percentage of serious claims made for injuries and diseases than females (39%).
5. What are the most common workplace injuries?
The most frequent causes of injury or disease in Australian workplaces are:
Muscular stress is by far the number one cause of workplace injuries.
1 out of every 3 serious claims is related to lifting, carrying or handling objects which can cause a large amount of physical stress over time and when not done properly.
Falling either from a height or even on the same level is the 2nd most common reason. These can happen when working on elevated platforms, transferring between locations or surfaces or because of obstructions in the workplace.
Mental stress is another big contributor. It may not be as visible as other causes, but work pressure, exposure to violence, bullying and harassment from colleagues can have a heavy toll on professionals as well.
6. Where are workers being injured?
Which state or territory is the safest and the most at risk? Work-related injuries happen across all states and territories, but the leaders are:
Serious claims are made most often in Queensland where almost 14 out of every 1000 workers are injured or fall ill because of their line of work. Tasmania is next with 13 serious claims.
Victoria is the safest state when it comes to work-related accidents. It currently boasts the lowest number of serious claims. Only 9 workers out of a thousand make serious claims whether because of injury or disease while fulfilling their work duties.
Northern Territory is not far behind, with a slightly higher incident rate of 9.4 claims.
What Can You Do for Safety?
Accidents, injuries and catching a disease can happen to anyone regardless of their job or industry and anywhere.
The good news is, many safety risks are now being addressed which have helped make workplaces generally safer for you over the past several years.
If you spot a potential hazard or encounter a safety risk in your workplace, alert your Safety Committee, WHS or OHS Officer immediately. You can even be a Work Health and Safety Representative yourself to initiate discussions and suggest changes to make your colleagues and other employers feel and be safe.
Be safe and be healthy because everyone wants to go home safely at the end of each day and you can help make that happen.
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