Site Information and assistance

On this page:

Safe Work Australia produces several reports that provide information on the circumstances of work-related deaths in Australia:

  • The most comprehensive source of information on work-related injury fatalities is compiled in the Work-related traumatic injury fatalities data set. This data set and associated reports are based on information from a number of sources (workers’ compensation data, coronial information, notifiable fatalities and the media), and provide statistics about people who die each year from injuries caused by work-related activity.
  • The most up-to-date data we compile is the preliminary media-based Online worker fatality count. As this data is based on initial media reports they are only a preliminary estimate and subject to revision, as work-related status and other key information cannot be confirmed until the death is investigated by the appropriate authority.
  • The Monthly notifiable fatality reports provide a summary of work-related traumatic fatalities that were notifiable to Australian work health and safety jurisdictions.

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.

  • In the 13 years from 2003 to 2015, 3,207 workers lost their lives in work-related incidents.
  • In 2015, there were 195 worker fatalities, equating to a fatality rate of 1.6 fatalities per 100,000 workers—the lowest rate since the series began in 2003 (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Worker fatalities: number of fatalities and fatality rate, 2003 to 2015

  • In 2015, almost half (47%) of worker fatalities occurred within the Transport, postal and warehousing and Agriculture, forestry and fishing industry (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Worker fatalities: proportion by industry of employer, all years (2003 to 2015 combined) and 2015

  • Over the period from 2003 to 2015, 65% of worker fatalities involved vehicles, of which over 40% were due to a vehicle collision on a public road (Table 1).

Table 1: Worker fatalities: number by mechanism of incident, 2003 to 2015 (selected years, sorted by 2015 fatalities)

Mechanism of incident 2003 2005 2007 2009 2011 2013 2015 % of 2015 fatalities % of total fatalities
Vehicle collision 108 103 129 112 78 69 53 27% 39%
Being hit by moving objects 40 29 38 31 19 24 27 14% 12%
Falls from a height 27 26 32 29 22 24 26 13% 11%
Rollover of non-road vehicle 9 11 12 12 11 15 13 7% 4%
Being trapped between stationalry and moving objects 9 12 11 7 13 7 12 6% 4%
Being trapped by moving machinery 6 11 11 11 13 10 9 5% 4%
Contact with electricity 13 13 13 13 10 8 8 4% 4%
Drowning 4 2 5 8 3 4 5 3% 2%
Explosion 3 2 1 1 5 1 5 3% 1%
Being assulted by a person or persons 12 7 8 4 3 6 4 2% 2%
Being hit by an animal 1 2 2 2 6 2 1 1% 1%
Other mechnisms 12 15 24 13 14 6 11 6% 5%
Total* 259 258 310 258 224 201 195 100% 100%
  • Over the 13 years of the series, the oldest (65 years and over) and youngest (14 and under) age groups accounted for the highest proportion of bystander fatalities, 22% and 18% respectively (Table 2).

Table 2: Bystander fatalities: numbers and proportions by age group, 2003 to 2015 (selected years)

Age group 2003 2005 2007 2009 2011 2013 2015 Total
14 and under 8 10 21 13 2 10 6 147
15-24 8 9 9 15 5 7 3 94
25-34 9 10 11 6 9 12 7 103
35-44 4 7 6 6 4 6 6 90
45-54 10 5 12 4 8 9 8 97
55-64 10 11 3 6 8 10 10 99
65 and over 8 13 13 3 27 12 9 173
Total* 57 65 75 53 63 66 49 803

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 waters.

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 waters 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 2017: Preliminary worker deaths by industry of workplacea

As at 20 July, 100 Australian workers have been killed at work in 2017.

The number of worker deaths listed in this table is based 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 Total deaths 2016 Deaths 1 Jan 2016 to 20 July 2016 Deaths 1 Jan 2017 to 20 July 2017
Transport, postal & warehousing

64

32

42

Agriculture, forestry & fishing

41

28

21

Construction

30

12

18

Arts & recreation services

8

7

5

Miningb

7

2

2

Electricity, gas, water & waste services

7

5

3

Other services

4

2

0

Administrative & support services

3

0

0

Public administration & safety

3

1

3

Manufacturing

3

0

4

Information media & telecommunications

2

2

0

Retail trade

1

0

1

Wholesale trade

1

0

0

Health care & social assistance

1

1

1

Professional, scientific & technical services

1

1

0

Accommodation & food services

1

1

2

Education & training

1

0

0

Financial & insurance services

0

0

0

Rental, hiring & real estate services

0

0

1

Total worker deaths

178

94

103

  • a Ranked in descending order, and then on alphabetical order for industries with no fatalities.
  • b Mining fatalities include fatalities that occur in the coal mining, oil and gas extraction, metal ore mining, gravel and sand quarrying, and services to mining sectors.
  • c Includes notifiable fatalities that occurred overseas.

Monthly notifiable fatalities

The monthly notifiable fatality report provides a national summary of work-related traumatic fatalities that were notifiable to Australian WHS jurisdictions.

Besides providing an estimate of the number of work-related deaths, the report includes details of the types of incident involved, the industry of the workplace where the fatalities occurred, and the industry of the decedent’s employer.

As well as the most recent report, the December 2015 report has been retained since it includes previous monthly counts. Comparisons between yearly monthly counts, however, should be made with caution.

This site is undergoing constant refinement. If you have noticed something that needs attention or have ideas for the site please let us know.

Last modified on Tuesday 2 May 2017 [6431|49476]