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Safe Work Australia compiles the Work-Related Traumatic Injury Fatalities data collection, a comprehensive data set that includes detailed information on all work-related traumatic injury fatalities in Australia.

The work-related traumatic injury fatalities data provides statistics about people who die each year from injuries caused by work-related activity. It includes fatalities that result from an injury sustained in the course of a work activity (worker fatality) and as a result of someone else’s work activity (bystander fatality). Data inclusions and exclusions are outlined below.

Data collected includes

The scope of this collection includes everyone:

  • who was fatally injured
  • whose injuries resulted from work activity or exposures
  • whose injuries occurred in an incident that took place in Australian territories or territorial seas.

The report includes everyone killed:

  • while working including unpaid volunteers and family workers, carrying out work experience, and defence force personnel killed within Australian territories or territorial sea or travelling for work (worker fatalities)
  • as a result of someone else’s work activity (bystander fatalities).

Data collected excludes

The collection specifically excludes those who died:

  • of iatrogenic injuries—the worker died due to medical intervention
  • due to natural causes such as heart attacks and strokes, except where a work-related injury was the direct cause of the heart attack or stroke
  • as a result of diseases, such as cancers
  • by self-inflicted injuries (suicide).

People who died of injuries caused by someone else’s work activity while they are classified as a worker rather than a bystander.

Year-to-date 2020: Preliminary worker deaths by industry of workplace

As at 19 November, there have been 147 Australian workers killed at work in 2020. 

In 2019, 183 Australian workers were fatally injured while working, compared with 144 workers in 2018.

The 2020 and 2019 figures listed in the table below are based mainly on initial media reports and is a preliminary estimate of the number of people killed while working. Once the appropriate authority has investigated the death, more accurate information becomes available from which Safe Work Australia updates details of the incident. Updated information is used to publish Safe Work Australia’s annual Work-related Traumatic Injury Fatalities report which includes finalised work-related fatalities from 2003 onwards.

Industry of workplace Preliminary worker deaths year-to-date, 19 November 2019 Preliminary worker deaths year-to-date, 19 November 2020
Transport, postal & warehousing 

55

49

Agriculture, forestry & fishing

26

30

Construction

18

27

Public administration & safety

8

14

Manufacturing

10

12

Mining

9

5

Other services

4

3

Accommodation & food services

2

2

Administrative & support services

4

1

Arts & recreation services

5

1

Retail trade 

0

1

Wholesale trade

6

1

Education & training

2

1

Electricity, gas, water & waste services

6

0

Financial & insurance services

0

0

Health care & social assistance

0

0

Information media & telecommunications

0

0

Professional, scientific & technical services
 

1

0

Rental, hiring & real estate services

1

0

Total worker deaths

157

147

  • The table is ranked in descending order according to 2020 figures, and then in alphabetical order for industries with no fatalities.
  • The 2020 and 2019 figures are still preliminary and numbers will be updated when more information about these fatalities becomes available.

 

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