In this broadcast, Kris Garred, Director of Evidence at Safe Work Australia, discusses the Work-related traumatic injury fatalities 2016 report, the statistics within it and the powerful role this data can have on improving safety in Australian workplaces.

This virtual seminar also highlights some key findings from this report and what they mean for work health and safety in Australia.

This video is primarily intended for the organisations and people who influence and implement work health and safety practice in Australia. It will also be of interest to employers, supervisors and workers who work in safety critical industries.

About the presenters

Mr Kris Garred is the Director of the Evidence Team at Safe Work Australia. As part of this role, among other things, Kris is responsible for overseeing the compilation and reporting on key national work health and safety and workers’ compensation data. Prior to joining Safe Work Australia, Kris spent six years at the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department working on critical infrastructure security and resilience issues, and eight years working on workplace relations, labour market and economic analysis at the Commonwealth Department of Employment. Kris holds a Bachelor of Economics and Masters of International Relations.

Additional resources


Work-related traumatic injury fatalities 2016

Kris Garred:

At Safe Work Australia, we work with government, industry, and business to try and help and improve the health and safety of all workers. An important part of this is about providing quality data and evidence so that people can understand not only the importance, but also the impact of health and safety at work. Each year, we report on work-related fatalities in Australia, and that includes information around the nature and circumstances of the fatalities. As part of this, we try and highlight what the most common causes are of those fatalities, but also the industries and occupations where they most commonly occur. These statistics not only provide data on all workers that are killed in a work-related incident, whether that be an employee, or a self-employed worker, or a volunteer, but also includes information on bystanders who were killed as a result of someone else's work activity.

I think data can be a really powerful tool. The aim, really, of publishing these statistics is so that leaders, employers, workers, regulators, and others can better understand where the greatest risks are, and to be able to then use that and share that, those learning’s, to further their commitment to improve safety at the workplace. Well, the positive news is that the rate of worker fatalities in Australia has almost halved since 2007. In 2016, the fatality rate in Australia was at its lowest level in the 14 years of data that we have available, and I think that provides an indication that the work, health, and safety laws, policies, and strategies here in Australia are having a positive impact. But while the improvement over the last 10 years is certainly pleasing, the latest statistics do show that there were still 182 workers who were killed in work-related incidents in Australia in 2016.

In 2016, 50% of worker fatalities occurred in just two industries, the transport, postal and warehousing industry, and the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry. I think by understanding where the fatalities most commonly occur, and also what the main causes of fatal injuries are, it enables us to better focus our efforts to try and ensure that these tragic incidents are avoided in the future. What the data shows is that, certainly, vehicles are a big factor in worker fatalities. In 2016, more than half of worker fatalities involved a vehicle in some way. In 2016, the main cause of worker fatalities was vehicle collisions, with more than half of those involving a truck. Workers falling from a height was the next most common cause, and almost half of those, or just under half of those, involved workers falling from a ladder or a roof, and then that was followed by workers being hit by a moving object such a vehicle or machinery.

Compiling, sharing, and analysing the statistics are an important way in which we try and raise awareness, and to provide a national picture of work, health, and safety outcomes in Australia. I encourage people to share this video and to use the data in it in order to raise awareness, but also to help improve the health and safety of workers in their workplaces.

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