There were 194 compensated fatalities recorded in Australia for the 2009–10 period, according to Safe Work Australia’s latest Comparative Performance Monitoring report on work health and safety and workers’ compensation outcomes.
There has been a 25 per cent improvement in compensated fatalities since the start of the National OHS Strategy 2002-2012, according to Safe Work Australia Chair, Tom Phillips.
However, he said considerably more work is required if the target of a 40 per cent reduction in the rate of injuries is to be achieved by 2012.
“While some areas are recording a reduction in incidents and deaths, we still need to make sure this is consistent in all areas,” said Phillips.
“Each year 13 out of every 1000 workers continue to be injured seriously enough to require a week or more off work.”
Return to work following an injury improved slightly from last year, with 75 per cent of injured workers successfully returning to work within eight to 10 months of sustaining their injury.
The report also found that injury and disease rates in the transport and storage, manufacturing and agriculture, forestry and fishing industries are nearly twice the national average.
Furthermore, body stressing continued to be the injury/disease that accounts for the greatest proportion of claims at 41 per cent.
The report noted that employers are now paying 1.53 per cent of payroll in workers’ compensation premiums compared to 2.01 per cent in 2005–06.
Australian workers’ compensation schemes expended more than $7 billion, of which 56 per cent was paid direct to injured workers in compensation for their injury or illness and 22 per cent was spent on medical and other services.