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Worker Fatalities Continue To Decline, Says SafeWork Annual Report

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November 20 2019

By Nicholas Hartman

Workplace fatalities are continuing to decline, with only 1.1 worker fatalities per 100,000 workers, according to the most recent report release by Safe Work Australia.

The Work-related Traumatic Injury Fatalities Australia 2018 Report also reveals that three industry groupings are responsible for more than two-thirds of worker fatalities, and that vehicle collisions alone count for 44 out of the 144 fatalities that occurred last year.

Key findings of worker fatalities in 2018 include:

  • Fatality rate of 1.1 per 100,000 workers
  • 144 workers were fatally injured at work
  • 94 per cent of workers killed were men
  • Workers aged 55 to 64 years had the highest number of fatalities
  • The proportion of young worker fatalities aged 25 years and younger has increased from 8 per cent in 2017, to 13 per cent in 2018

The report also showed that 69 per cent of fatalities were from three industries, with 38 per cent being from transport, postal and warehousing, 37 per cent from agriculture, forestry and fishing and 24 per cent from construction.

Fatalities relating to vehicles were also 89 percent of the fatalities recorded, and 77 per cent of bystander fatalities were due to a vehicle collision.

In terms of location, almost half of fatalities occurred in New South Wales, followed by 39 per cent in Queensland and 32 per cent in Victoria.

In total, the 144 worker fatalities in 2018 is the lowest recorded number since the series began in 2003. In 2007 when the highest number of fatalities were recorded, there was almost a third of the rate recorded.

“While the downward trend in work-related fatalities is encouraging, it is not a cause for celebration. Every work-related fatality is a tragedy, and there’s a lot more work to be done” Safe Work Australia CEO, Michelle Baxter said according to Safe Work Australia.

There are a number of steps an employer can take to ensure a safe workplace, which include proper training of all employees, identifying hazards, assessing and controlling risks as well as reviewing control measures.

It is important to note that workplace health and safety obligations for employers vary widely depending on the type of work conducted by the business.

Creating a safe and healthy workplace never stops, and there is always room to review and evaluate regularly to always try and improve.