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Workers' compensation data: national data set for compensation-based statistics

We compile and maintain the NDS, which contains a standard set of data items, concepts and definitions included in workers’ compensation systems operating in Australia.

It has been implemented in workers’ compensation-based collections administered by state, territory and Australian government agencies in order to produce national and nationally comparable workers’ compensation-based data.

The Australian Workers’ Compensation Statistics reports provide detailed workers’ compensation statistics from the NDS, including trends over time and statistics on time lost from work and compensation paid. Data are presented by key variables such as industry, occupation, age group and sex.

The reports also include information on the circumstances surrounding work-related injuries and diseases. Statistics in the report refer to serious claims only—a serious claim is an accepted workers’ compensation claim for an incapacity that results in a total absence from work of one working week or more.

View the latest Australian workers’ compensation statistics.

For more detailed information, view Statistical Tables.

Injury and musculoskeletal disorders led to 90% of serious claims in 2014–15, with the most common traumatic joint/ligament and muscle/tendon injuries (almost 45%).

Information on compensated work-related injuries can be found in the Australian workers’ compensation statistics reports.

Diseases led to 10% of serious claims in 2014–15, with the most common mental disorders (almost 6%).

Information on compensated work-related diseases can be found in the Australian workers’ compensation statistics reports.

Time lost and compensation paid

Between 2000–01 and 2013–14, the median time lost for a serious claim rose by 33% from 4.2 working weeks to 5.6. Over the same period the median compensation paid for a serious claim rose by 94% from $5,200 to $10,100. After taking account of wage inflation over the period the adjusted median compensation paid increased by only 23%.

Serious claims: median time lost and compensation paid, 2000–01 to 2013–14

Financial year of lodgement Serious claims Median time lost (weeks) Median compensation paid Median compensation (WPI adjusted)
2000–01 133,115 4.2 $5,200 $5,200
2001–02 130,165 4.3 $5,400 $5,200
2002–03 133,625 4.2 $5,500 $5,100
2003–04 134,345 4.0 $5,100 $4,600
2004–05 135,515 4.0 $5,700 $5,000
2005–06 131,280 4.2 $5,700 $4,800
2006–07 129,480 4.4 $6,200 $5,000
2007–08 129,120 4.7 $6,800 $5,300
2008–09 125,800 5.0 $8,000 $6,000
2009–10 125,385 5.2 $8,400 $6,100
2010–11 128,170 5.5 $8,900 $6,300
2011–12 128,345 5.6 $9,500 $6,400
2012–13 120,050 5.6 $9,700 $6,300
2013–14 113,965 5.6 $10,100 $6,400

Classifications used

Limitations of workers’ compensation data

Workers’ compensation statistics do not capture all work-related injuries and diseases because:

  • Only employees are eligible for workers’ compensation, which means self-employed workers are not included in workers’ compensation statistics. Around 10% of Australian workers are self-employed.

  • Absences from work of less than one working week are excluded from the Australian Workers’ Compensation Statistics reports. This is due to different employer excess periods across Australia and the possibility that claims for injuries and diseases below these are not reported to workers’ compensation authorities.

  • 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 currently known that claims lodged by police in Western Australia and military personnel within the defence forces are excluded.

  • Diseases are significantly under-represented in workers’ compensation statistics. That is because many diseases result from long-term exposure to agents or have long latency periods, making the link between the work-related disease and the workplace difficult to establish.

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