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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.

Preliminary worker deaths by industry of workplace

As at 29 April, 32 Australian workers were killed at work in 2021.

In 2020, 178 Australian workers were killed at work compared with 183 workers in 2019.

The 2020 and 2021 figures listed in the table below are based mainly on initial media reports and provide 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 Worker deaths year-to-date, 29 April 2020 Preliminary worker deaths year-to-date, 29 April 2021

Transport, postal & warehousing 

22

12

Construction 

14

5

Agriculture, forestry & fishing 

11

3

Arts & recreation services

2

3

Electricity, gas, water & waste services

0

2

Manufacturing 

6

2

Other services

1

2

Accommodation & food services

1

1

Public administration & safety

11

1

Wholesale trade

0

1

Administrative & support services

1

0

Education & training

0

0

Financial & insurance services

0

0

Health care & social assistance

0

0

Information media & telecommunications

0

0

Mining

4

0

Professional, scientific & technical services

0

0

Rental, hiring & real estate services

0

0

Retail trade 

1

0

Total worker deaths

74

32

  • The table is ranked in descending order according to 2021 figures, and then in alphabetical order for industries with no fatalities.
  • The 2020 and 2021 figures are still preliminary and will be updated when more information about these fatalities becomes available.

 

 

 

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