There is no single source of information that captures all work-related deaths in Australia. Safe Work Australia produces several reports that provide information on the circumstances of work-related deaths in Australia.
Work Safe Australia provides online statistics of work-related fatalities based on initial media reports. This is only a preliminary estimate for the number of fatalities. Work-related status cannot be confirmed until the death is investigated by the appropriate authority.
Other work-related Fatality reports
The Compendium of Workers’ Compensation Statistics report includes a chapter on compensated fatalities. As this publication relies on workers’ compensation claims it is known to understate the actual number of workers who die from work-related activities each year but it provides a good source of information on the circumstances that result in a fatality.
The Work-related Traumatic Injury Fatalities reports provide details on the number of people who die in Australia from injuries sustained while working, while travelling to and from work and bystanders killed as a result of another person’s work activity. These reports are based on information from a number of sources: workers’ compensation data, coronial information, notified fatalities and the media. Although this is the most comprehensive and accurate estimate of work-related injury fatalities in Australia, estimates of commuting and bystander fatalities are known to be understated because of the difficulties in identifying these occurrences.
Each financial year, Safe Work Australia also produces a preliminary report covering July to December and an annual report on Notified Fatalities. These are obtained from Australian state and territory work health and safety authorities. The reports include data on sex, age, industry, occupation and causes of death and are available from 2003–04 onwards.
The Monthly Notified Fatality report provides a national summary of work-related traumatic fatalities that were notifiable to Australian work health and safety jurisdictions. Besides providing an estimate of the numbers of work-related deaths, the report also includes details of the types of incident involved; the industry of the workplace at which the fatalities occurred; and the industry of the decedent’s employer. Only the most recent report is presented — this will include any necessary revisions.
A comparison was undertaken of injury fatalities which occurred in Australia in the period 1998 to 2001 with selected countries taking into account the differences in scope and methodology. The report Fatal Occupational Injuries - How does Australia compare internationally? shows that Australia had the seventh best fatality incidence rate. An updated international comparison can be found in the Comparative Performance Monitoring Report.
A comprehensive study of coronial records was conducted to identify all work-related deaths which occurred from 1989 to 1992. A series of reports were compiled using these data. Reports on work-related traumatic fatalities that occurred during 1989–1992.