Lowest number of work-related deaths in 11 years

Australian workplaces have recorded the lowest number of fatalities in 11 years according to data released by Safe Work Australia today in the report Work-related Traumatic Fatalities, Australia 2014.

The annual report found that 191 workers died from injuries received at work in 2013.

Distressingly, the fatality rate for self-employed workers (4.39 deaths per 1000 000 self-employed workers) was three times higher than the fatality rate for employees (1.31). This is partly due to the high fatality rates in the Agriculture, forestry and fishing and Transport, postal and warehousing industries, both of which also have a higher than average proportion of self-employed workers.

In releasing the report Safe Work Australia’s Acting Chief Executive Officer, Michelle Baxter urged all workers whether employed by a business or self-employed to make work health and safety a priority.

“While we have seen a 16 per cent reduction in work-related deaths since 2012 (228), this does not mean workers should become complacent about reducing and eliminating risks while working,” said Ms Baxter.
“In particular it is alarming to see the fatality rate for self-employed workers is so much higher than for employees.
“This report serves as a reminder that self-employed workers still have the same legal requirements as an employer to ensure their own health and safety is maintained while at work, as well as the safety of people entering their workplace.
“Even if a worker is conducting a business in their own right, they should not ignore their own health and safety.”

Other key findings from the report include:

  • The decrease in the number of work-related deaths from previous years can be attributed to fewer crashes on public roads, particularly involving workers in cars.
  • The worker fatality rate in 2013 was 1.64 fatalities per 100 000 workers. Male workers had a fatality rate of 2.80 while female workers had a rate of 0.28.
  • Over the 11 years of the series, one-third of workers who were killed while working died in vehicle collisions on public roads, one-third in vehicle incidents at workplaces and the remaining one-third of fatalities did not involve a vehicle.
  • The Agriculture, forestry and fishing industry recorded the highest number of fatalities in 2013 (48) followed by the Transport, postal and warehousing (46), and Construction (19) industries.
  • 66 members of the public died as bystanders to someone else’s work activity in 2013.

The report is available at www.swa.gov.au. Some of the resources developed by work health and safety regulators to assist self-employed workers and small business is attached.


Safe Work Australia media enquiries
0434 664 294

WHS Regulator Resources

Work health and safety regulator Activity
Work Cover NSW

WorkCover NSW provides safe solutions to assist selfemployed workers through their small business portal.

The information provided on the small business portal provide self-employed workers with information, tools and guides to help workers understand their role regarding work health and safety laws and provide a healthy and safe work environment.

For more information visit www.smallbusiness.workcover.nsw.gov.au.

Victorian WorkCover Authority

Victorian WorkCover Authority (VWA) provides a number of resources and information for self-employed workers including information for small businesses and sole traders. VWA also offer Victorian small businesses with limited work health and safety information and knowledge with an opportunity to register for the VMA OHS Essentials Program, a free safety consultation service to learn more about your safety obligations and receive tailored advice on managing safety in your workplace.

For more information visit www.worksafe.vic.gov.au.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland provides a small to medium enterprises program to help manage health and safety within a business. The program includes safety workshops, access to presentations and information sessions, a suite of resources, information, tools and support, and access to a safety advisor to meet with you for free to provide one-on-one consultation to discuss your health and safety issues.

For more information visit www.dehir.qld.gov.au/workplace.

WorkSafe Tasmania

WorkSafe Tasmania provide a free work health and safety advisors program that can help self-employed workers and small businesses make the workplace safer through practical tools, implementation of solutions that are practical and affordable and provide ongoing support.

For more information visit www.worksafe.tas.gov.au.

SafeWork SA

SafeWork SA’s seven step guide and checklist will assist self-employed workers and small businesses to consider work health and safety, including how it currently rates and how it can be improved.

For more information visit www.safework.sa.gov.au.

WorkSafe WA

WorkSafe WA is in the process of developing a new suite of resources for the small business sector including self-employed workers. Subscribe to WorkSafe WA’s email alerts at www.commerce.wa.gov.au/worksafe to receive notification when this information becomes available

WorkSafe ACT

WorkSafe ACT’s small business portal provides free information sessions that are relevant to the ACT work health and safety laws, guidance material, a small business toolkit and a risk management approach to manage work health and safety.

For more information visit www.worksafe.act.gov.au.


    Questions should be emailed to info@swa.gov.au.

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