The agriculture, forestry and fishing industries recorded the highest fatality rate in 2019 with 9.1 fatalities per 100,000 workers – which is still 35 per cent lower than the five-year average of 13.9 fatalities per 100,000, according to new Safe Work Australia statistics.
The second-highest fatality rate was in the transport, postal and warehousing industries with 8.7 fatalities per 100,000 workers (16 per cent higher than the five-year average of 7.5 fatalities per 100,000 workers).
The third highest fatality rate in 2019 was in electricity, gas, water and waste services. While this industry had a much lower fatality rate than the top two industries, at 3.8 fatalities per 100,000 workers in 2019, this was 27 per cent higher than the five-year average for these industries.
Safe Work Australia’s Work-related Traumatic Injury Fatalities Australia 2019 report, which provides the latest detailed national statistics on all workers and bystanders fatally injured at work, also found the number and rate of work-related fatalities have been gradually decreasing.
In 2007, the fatality rate was 3 fatalities per 100,000 workers, while in 2019, this rate has decreased by 53 per cent to 1.4 fatalities per 100,000 workers.
There were 183 worker fatalities in 2019 due to injuries sustained in the course of a work-related activity.
While there has been an increase in fatalities between 2018 and 2019, overall the number of fatalities has been trending downward since 2007.
The highest number of work‑related injury fatalities was recorded in 2007 when there were 310 deaths.
Similarly, the fatality rate (the number of fatalities per 100,000 workers) has decreased by 53 per cent since the highest rate recorded in 2007.
In 2007 the fatality was 3 fatalities per 100,000, and this has decreased to 1.4 fatalities per 100,000 workers in 2019.
This is slightly higher than the lowest recorded fatality rate of 1.2 fatalities per 100,000 workers in 2018.
In 2019, 97 per cent (177 of the 183 fatalities) of workers killed were men.
Despite the slight increase in fatality rate between 2018 and 2019 (from 2.1 fatalities per 100,000 male workers to 2.6), overall the fatality rate for male workers has been declining.
In 2007 the fatality rate for male workers was 5.0 fatalities per 100,000 male workers.
Over the same period, the fatality rate for female workers has also decreased, from 0.5 fatalities per 100,000 female workers in 2007 to 0.1 fatalities per 100,000 female workers in both 2018 and 2019.