Workers’ compensation data
A detailed analysis of workers’ compensation claims for injuries or illnesses incurred while working can be found in the Compendium of Workers’ Compensation Statistics. Key statistics are available in the below documents
- Claims for serious injury in Australia: Number and incidence rates by detailed industry, time series 2001–01 & 2011-12p (preliminary) ( XLSX | PDF )
- Claims with one week or more time lost: frequency rates by detailed industry ( XLSX | PDF )
- Claims for serious injury in large jurisdictions: Incidence rates by industry, 2010–11 ( XLSX | PDF )
Workers’ compensation statistics do not cover all occurrences of occupational injury and disease for the following reasons:
- Temporary disability occupational injuries and diseases that result in absences from work of less than one working week are not always claimed as workers’ compensation;
- Occupational injuries and diseases occurring on a journey to or from work (commuting claims) are not covered by all state and territory workers’ compensation schemes;
- While the majority of employees are covered for workers’ compensation under general Commonwealth, state and territory workers’ compensation legislation, some specific groups of workers are covered under separate legislation. Every effort has been made to compile data from all groups of employees but it is known that currently, claims lodged by police in Western Australia and military personnel within the Defence Forces are excluded;
- Most occupational injuries to the self-employed are excluded because such workers generally are not covered for workers’ compensation;
- Not all cases of occupational disease are reported in workers’ compensation statistics. This is because many diseases result from long-term exposure to agents or have a long latency period, making the link between the occupational disease and work more difficult to identify.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimated that 685 000 workers suffered a work-related injury or illness in 2005. Many of these workers did not seek compensation for their injury due to the injury being minor.
Data held by Safe Work Australia shows there are around 135 000 claims accepted each year involving one week or more off work, a permanent incapacity or fatality. This equates to 370 claims for serious injury per day. This figure does not include injuries sustained while travelling to or from work.
An estimate of the proportion of work-related injuries that are claimed through workers’ compensation can be found at Comparison of compensation data with all incurred work-related injuries.
The reasons why some employees do not apply for compensation can be found at Factors affecting applications for workers’ compensation and in the report Work Related injuries in Australia: Who did and didn't receive workers compensation 2009-10.
View the Feature Article - Journey Claims, an article on compensated claims for journeys to and from work - (This is the feature article from the 2006-07 Compendium)
View the Feature Article - Time Away From Work, an article analysing claims by time lost from work (This is the feature article from the 2005-06 Compendium)
Workers' Compensation: Classifications
National Data Set for Compensation-based Statistics (NDS)
The National Data Set for Compensation-based Statistics (NDS) is a standard set of data items, concepts and definitions for inclusion in workers’ compensation systems operating in Australia. The NDS has been implemented in workers’ compensation-based collections administered by state, territory and Australian government agencies to enable the production of national and nationally comparable workers’ compensation-based data.
The first edition of the NDS (NDS1) was published in April 1987 but is not available electronically. The first data produced under this system relate to the 1991–92 reference period. The second edition of the NDS (NDS2) which includes changes to the scope and some of the definitions and classifications was published in May 1999 with the first year of reporting being the 2000–01 reference period. Due to the changes to the scope, the data between these series are not comparable. Some minor amendments were incorporated into this document in June 2002 National Data Validation System (NDVS) Second Edition - Revision 1, June 2002.
A major review of the NDS was undertaken in 2004 to include additional data items. The National Data Set for Compensation-based Statistic 3rd edition has been progressively implemented into the Australian workers’ compensation system since 1 July 2005.
Technical Manual for the National Data Set for Compensation-Based Statistics has also been developed to assist data suppliers.
Types of Occurrence Classification System
The Type of Occurrence Classification System (TOOCS) was developed for use in coding details of workers' compensation cases reported to workers' compensation agencies. Employers may also use the System for coding workplace injury and disease occurrences. Separate codes are available within TOOCS for recording the nature, bodily location, mechanism, breakdown agency and agency of the injury or disease involved in the incident.
The first edition of TOOCS was published in December 1990 (not available electronically). The type of Occurrence Classification System, Second Edition - July 1999coincided with the introduction of NDS2 to be used from 2000-01. This was subsequently revised with Type of Occurrence Classification System, Second Edition - Revision 1 (2.1) May 2002 introduced from the 2002-03 reference period.
The third edition of TOOCS (TOOCS3) was developed to align with the International Classification of Diseases – 10th Revision, Australian Modified version. This edition is associated with the introduction of NDS3. Similar to NDS3, TOOCS3 has been progressively implemented into the Australian workers’ compensation system since 1 July 2005.
Some minor amendments were then made in May 2008 with the release called TOOCS3.1. See TOOCS3.1 Manual Updates - Summary Document for details of these changes.