Summary

  • Some industries are more dangerous than others.
  • In 2013, 196 people in Australia died due to work-related accidents.
  • WorkSafe Victoria aims to prevent injuries and deaths at work and enforces Victoria's occupational health and safety laws.
  • Safe Work Australia helps develop national policies to improve work health and safety and workers’ compensation for Australians.

The number of work-related deaths in Australia decreased overall between 2003 and 2013. Safe Work Australia compiles statistics on work-related injuries and deaths in Australia. These statistics come from a range of sources, including files from the coroner’s office, workers' compensation data and the media.

Deaths caused by diseases, natural causes and suicide are not included in these statistics. 

Number of deaths

In 2013, 196 Australians lost their lives in work-related accidents. Of these, 180 were men and 16 were women. This equates to 1.70 deaths for every 100,000 workers. 

The most dangerous industries

Some industries are more dangerous than others. The number of deaths and death rates per 100,000 workers for the most dangerous industries is outlined in the table below.

 Industry  Number of deaths
Percentage of deaths Deaths per 100,000 workers 
Agriculture, forestry & fishing
 49  25 %  16.33
Transport, postal & warehousing
 45  23 %  7.59
Arts & recreation services
 7  4%  3.37
Mining
 8  4%  3.00
Electricity, gas, water & waste services
 4  2%  2.72
Construction
 22  11%  2.18

Source: Safe Work Australia, 2015

The most dangerous occupations

Some occupations are more dangerous than others. The average annual death rate per 100,000 workers was:

  • Machinery operators and drivers – 8.12 deaths
  • Labourers – 3.55 deaths
  • Managers – 1.99 deaths
  • Technicians and trades workers – 1.68 deaths
  • Community and personal service workers – 1.23 deaths
  • Sales workers – 0.56 deaths
  • Professionals – 0.47 deaths
  • Clerical and administrative workers – 0.06 deaths.

Common causes of death

The most common causes of work-related injuries leading to death include:

  • vehicle accidents
  • being hit by moving or falling objects
  • falling from a height
  • electricity
  • a non-road vehicle rolling over
  • being trapped by moving machinery
  • being assaulted by one or more people.

Where to get help

Things to remember

  • Some industries are more dangerous than others.
  • In 2013, 196 people in Australia died due to work-related accidents.
  • WorkSafe Victoria aims to prevent injuries and deaths at work and enforces Victoria's occupational health and safety laws. 
  • Safe Work Australia helps develop national policies to improve work health and safety and workers’ compensation for Australians.
  • Key work health and safety statistics, Australia, 2015, 2015, Safe Work Australia. More information here.

More information

Safety

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Content Partner

This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by: Department of Health and Human Services - HSP&A - Health Workforce

Last updated: September 2011

Content on this website is provided for education and information purposes only. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or other registered health professional. Content has been prepared for Victorian residents and wider Australian audiences, and was accurate at the time of publication. Readers should note that, over time, currency and completeness of the information may change. All users are urged to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.