Australian workers’ compensation statistics 2019-20

Safe Work Australia has published the Australian workers’ compensation statistics 2019-20 report, which provides the latest national statistics on accepted serious workers’ compensation claims.

Key findings in 2019-20 include:

  • There were 120,355 serious workers’ compensation claims.
  • 31% of serious claims were for illness and diseases. Of these, mental health conditions were the most common. 
  • The 3 occupations with the highest frequency rate of serious claims were:
    • labourers
    • community and personal service workers
    • machinery operators and drivers.
  • The 3 industries with the highest frequency rate of serious claims were:
    • agriculture, forestry and fishing
    • manufacturing, and 
    • transport, postal and warehousing.
  • 69% of serious claims were for injuries. The 3 most common injury types were:
    • traumatic joint/ligament and muscle/tendon injuries (38% of all serious claims)
    • musculoskeletal and connective tissue diseases (18%)
    • wounds, lacerations, amputations and internal organ damage (16%).

Key findings from the trend analysis to 2018–19 include:

  • The number of serious claims fell 13% from 133,041 claims in 2000–01 to 115,707 claims in 2018–19. 
  • The median time lost for a serious claim was 7 working weeks. The median compensation paid was $14,500.
  • While a relatively low proportion of claims relate to occupational violence, such injuries are on the rise. Serious claims for Being assaulted by a person or persons have more than doubled since 2000–01 (up by 128%). 

This report complements and provides additional detail to the Key Work Health and Safety Statistics published on 25 October.

These statistics should be considered in the broader context of the COVID-19 pandemic when comparing data over previous periods. The potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on this data is explored in the COVID-19 and Safe Work Australia data report.