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The following article is a general news item provided for the benefit of members. Its contents do not necessarily reflect the views of the Safety Institute of Australia.
Date: 
Wednesday, 28 November, 2018 - 12:45
Category: 
Industry news
Location: 
National News

Of the 13.4 million Australian employees who worked at some time over the past 12 months, 4.2 per cent (563,600) experienced their most recent work-related injury or illness during that same period, according to recent Australian Bureau of Statistics research.
Of the 4.2 per cent of those who experienced a work-related injury or illness in 2017-18: 84 per cent continued to work in the job where their injury or illness occurred; 7 per cent had changed jobs; and 9 per cent were not employed in the reference week.

More than half of the people who experienced a work-related injury or illness were men (54.4 per cent).

In 2017-18, 4.3 per cent of males who worked in the last 12 months experienced a work-related injury or illness, down from 4.9 per cent in 2013-14.

However, the proportion of females who experienced a work-related injury or illness in the last 12 months increased from 3.6 per cent in 2013-14 to 4.0 per cent in 2017-18.

The highest work-related injury or illness rate occurred in the 50-54 year age group with 58 per 1000 people who had worked at some time in the last 12 months, followed by the 20-24 year age group with 55 per 1000 people (up from 41 per 1000 people in 2013-14).

The Work-Related Injuries, Australia, Jul 2017 to Jun 2018 research also found that, of the 563,600 people who experienced a work-related injury or illness in 2017-18:

  • 87 per cent (489,400) were employees, of which 76 per cent (372,300) had paid leave entitlements;
  • 10 per cent (55,900) were owner managers of unincorporated enterprises; and
  • 3 per cent (17,900) were owner managers of incorporated enterprises.

A further 61 per cent (345,500) of people who experienced a work-related injury or illness in the last 12 months were working full-time and 27 per cent (150,600) were working under shift arrangements.

Technicians, trades workers and community and personal service workers were the occupation groups with the highest rates of people who experienced a work-related injury or illness (72 per 1000 employed people and 69 per 1000 people respectively).

These were followed by machinery operators and drivers and labourers (57 per 1000 employed people).

Construction was the industry with the highest work-related injury or illness (59 per 1000 employed people), and this was followed closely by Manufacturing (58 per 1000) and healthcare and social assistance (55 per 1000).
The industries in 2017-18 with the lowest rates of work-related injuries or illnesses were the same as 2013-14: Financial and insurance services (15 per 1000 employed people); professional, scientific and technical services (22 per 1000); and rental, hiring and real estate services (24 per 1000).

Of the 306,800 males who experienced a work-related injury or illness in the last 12 months,

36 per cent were technicians and trades workers; 13 per cent were professionals; 11 per cent were machinery operators and drivers; and 15 per cent were labourers when the injury or illness occurred.

Industry-wise, 21 per cent were employed in construction, 12 per cent in manufacturing and 10 per cent in retail trade when the injury or illness occurred.

There were also 256,800 females who experienced work related injuries or illnesses, of which:

  • 28 per cent were community and personal service workers and 24 per cent were professionals when the injury or illness occurred; and
  • 29 per cent were employed in the healthcare and social assistance industry, 15 per cent in education and training and 13 per cent in retail trade when the injury or illness occurred.

Furthermore, approximately 87 per cent (493,100) of people who experienced a work-related injury reported it to someone in the workplace.

The majority (76 per cent) of those people reported their work-related injury or illness to their supervisor/line manager (72 per cent of males and 79 per cent of females), followed by 16 per cent reported to their health and safety representative (19 per cent of males and 12 per cent of females) and 15 per cent reported to their employer (18 per cent of males and 13 per cent of females).