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Safe Work Australia compiles the National Dataset for Compensation-based Statistics which comprises information on workers' compensation claims provided by each of the jurisdictional workers' compensation authorities.
Data in this report refers to serious claims only. Serious claims relate to where the compensated injury or disease resulted in one week or more off work. Data for 2017-18 is preliminary (denoted by a ‘p’) and therefore is subject to revision in subsequent years as further claims are finalised.

Serious claim numbers are rounded to the nearest five and as such the figures may not add to the total. Further explanatory notes on the data can be found in the Explanatory notes for Safe Work Australia datasets.

Serious claims overall statistics, 2017–18p*

This infographic shows that there were 107,335 serious claims, the frequency rate was 5.5 serious claims per million hours worked, the median time lost was 5.8 weeks and the median compensation paid was 1,300 per claim.

*preliminary data subject to revision in subsequent years as further claims are finalised.

Trends in the rates of serious claims, 2016-17 the Australian serious claim frequesncy rate dropped by 29%

*preliminary data subject to revision in subsequent years as further claims are finalised.

Serious claims by gender, 2017–18p*

This infographic shows that males had a higher serious claims frequency rate (claims per million hours worked) and more median compensation paid when compared to females. However females had a slightly higher median time lost from work when compared to males.

Gender Number of serious claims Frequency rate
(serious claims
per million hours
worked)
Incidence rate
(serious claims per
1,000 employees)
Female 39,235 4.8 6.9
Male 68,100 6.0 11.2
Total 107,335 5.5 9.1

*preliminary data subject to revision in subsequent years as further claims are finalised.

Serious claims by age group, 2017–18p*

This infographic compares two age groups with the highest and lowest serious claims frequency rates (claims per million hours worked).

Age group (years) Number of serious claims Frequency rate
(serious claims per
million hours worked)
Incidence rate
(serious claims per
1,000 employees)
Under 20 3,775 6.2 5.5
20-24 9,780 5.3 7.7
25-29 11,085 4.4 7.6
30-34 10,460 4.3 7.4
35-39 10,420 4.5 8.0
40-44 11,435 5.2 9.2
45-49 13,540 5.9 10.6
50-54 13,420 6.7 12.0
55-59 12,410 7.2 12.5
60-64 7,870 7.7 12.2
65 and over 3,145 5.9 8.1
Total 107,335 5.5 9.1

*preliminary data subject to revision in subsequent years as further claims are finalised.

Serious claims by mechanism of incident, 2017–18p*

This infographic shows that body stressing accounted for the highest proportion of serious claims, followed by falls, trips and slips (36% and 23% respectively).

This graph shows that body stressing accounted for the highest proportion of serious claims, followed by falls, trips and slips (36% and 23% respectively).

Mechanism of incident Serious claims Per cent
Body stressing 38,770 36
Falls, trips and slips of a person 24,890 23
Being hit by moving objects 17,160 16
Mental stress 7,685 7
Hitting objects with a part of the body 7,485 7
Other mechanisms of incident** 6,440 6
Vehicle collisions*** 2,580 2
Heat, electricity and other environmental factors 1,485 1
Chemicals and other substances 835 1
Total 107,335 100

* preliminary data subject to revision in subsequent years as further claims are finalised.
** other mechanisms of incident include biological factors, sound and pressure, other multiple mechanisms of incident, roll over, slide or cave-in and unspecified mechanisms of incident.
*** Vehicle collisions include claims where the injury was the direct result of a vehicle crash. Vehicles include not only road vehicles such as cars and trucks, but also machines such as aircraft, boats, loaders, tractors and quad bikes.

Serious claims by nature of injury/disease, 2017–18p*

This infographic shows that traumatic joint/ligament and muscle/tendon injury accounted for 41% of serious claims.

This graph shows that traumatic joint/ligament and muscle/tendon injury accounted for 41% of serious claims.

Nature of injury/disease Serious claims Per cent
Traumatic joint/ligament and muscle/tendon injury 43,880 41%
Wounds, lacerations, amputations and internal organ damage 16,815 16%
Musculoskeletal and connective tissue diseases 15,320 14%
Fractures 11,765 11%
Mental disorders 8,095 8%
Other injuries** 3,435 3%
Digestive system diseases 2,070 2%
Intracranial injuries 1,795 2%
Burn 1,685 2%
Nervous system and sense organ diseases 1,105 1%
Total*** 107,335 100%

*preliminary data subject to revision in subsequent years as further claims are finalised.
**Other injuries includes those related to poisoning, electrocution, air pressure, weather conditions, unspecified injuries and injuries not classified elsewhere.
***Injuries or diseases accounting for less than 1% of serious claims are not included separately but are included in the total

Serious claims by bodily location of injury, 2017–18p*

This infographic shows that 25% of injury or disease occurred on arms/upper limbs, while 23% occurred on lower limbs.

Body location of injury/disease Serious claims Per cent
Arms/upper limbs 26,420 25%
Lower limbs 25,040 23%
Back 19,880 19%
Neck and shoulder 13,090 12%
Non physical locations 8,090 8%
Other locations*** 4,970 5%
Chest/abdomen 4,610 4%
Head 3,565 3%
Total** 107,335 100%

*preliminary data subject to revision in subsequent years as further claims are finalised.
**claim numbers are rounded to the nearest five. Claims where the bodily location was unknown are not included separately, but are included in the total.
*** Other locations include multiple locations, systemic locations, and trunk excluding chest and abdomen

Serious claims by occupation, 2017–18p*

This infographic shows that the three occupations with the highest frequency rate of serious claims were labourers (16.8 serious claims per million hours worked), community and personal service workers (11.1  serious claims per million hours worked), and machinery operators and drivers (10.4  serious claims per million hours worked).

*preliminary data subject to revision in subsequent years as further claims are finalised.

Occupation Number of serious claims Frequency rate
(serious claims
per million
hours worked)
Incidence rate
(serious claims
per 1,000
employees)
Labourers 27,140 16.8 24.1
Community and personal service workers 18,895 11.1 14.1
Machinery operators and drivers 15,280 10.4 20.3
Technicians and trades workers 17,330 5.9 11.3
Sales workers 6,390 4.3 5.6
Professionals 10,960 2.2 3.8
Clerical and administrative workers 4,355 1.7 2.7
Managers 4,405 1.6 3.2
Total** 107,335 5.5 9.1

*preliminary data subject to revision in subsequent years as further claims are finalised.
**claim numbers are rounded to the nearest five. Claims where the occupation was unknown are not included separately, but are included in the total.

Serious claims by industry, 2017–18p*

This infographic shows that the three industries with the highest frequency rate of serious claims were agriculture, forestry and fishing (8.6 serious claims per million hours worked), manufacturing(8.1  serious claims per million hours worked), and transport, postal and warehousing (7.7  serious claims per million hours worked).

 

*preliminary data subject to revision in subsequent years as further claims are finalised.
**‘Other industries’ includes all other industries excluding the top seven industries by number of serious claims.

Industry Number of serious claims Frequency rate
(serious claims per
million hours worked)
Incidence rate
(serious claims per
1,000 employees)
Agriculture, forestry and fishing 3,560 8.6 16.7
Manufacturing 12,925 8.1 15.2
Transport, postal and warehousing 8,515 7.7 14.7
Construction 13,855 7.5 15.0
Health care and social assistance 17,345 7.2 10.5
Wholesale trade 4,660 7.0 13.2
Arts and recreation services 2,120 6.8 8.6
Administrative and support services 4,880 6.8 10.8
Public administration and safety 8,305 6.6 11.0
Accommodation and food services 5,985 5.3 6.6
Retail trade 8,190 4.6 6.4
Mining 2,140 4.3 9.7
Other services 2,890 4.2 7.1
Education and training 6,685 4.2 6.4
Electricity, gas, water and waste services 1,120 3.9 7.6
Rental, hiring and real estate services 1,050 2.9 5.1
Information media and telecommunications  470  1.3 2.2
Professional, scientific and technical services 1,905 1.1 2.0
Financial and insurance services 655 0.9 1.5
Total** 107,335 5.5 9.1

*preliminary data subject to revision in subsequent years as further claims are finalised.
**claim numbers are rounded to the nearest five. Claims where the industry was unknown are not included separately, but are included in the total.

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