DATA released by Safe Work Australia shows the lowest number of Australian worker fatalities in eight years.

The Work-related Traumatic Injury Fatalities, Australia 2010–11 report found that 374 people died from a work-related traumatic injury in 2010–11. Of these 220 workers (59 percent) died from injuries incurred at work; 110 workers (29 percent) died from an incident while travelling to or from work and 44 people (12 percent) died as a bystander to someone else’s work activity.

Safe Work Australia Chair, Tom Phillips AM emphasised that while it was encouraging to see worker fatalities decrease, employers and workers should continue to remain vigilant of work health and safety issues.

“There has been significant reduction in the number of worker deaths since Safe Work Australia first began collecting these data in 2003–04 however more can still be done to improve work health and safety,” Mr Philips said.

“While the worker fatality rate of 1.93 deaths per 100 000 workers is at the lowest it has been in many years, a single death is still one too many.”

Other key findings of the report include:

  • Two thirds of the work-related fatalities in 2010–11 involved vehicles. Half of these incidents occurred on a public road while the other half occurred at a worksite.
  • More than a quarter of workers who died were working in or around a truck.
  • Australian workers aged 65 years and over had the highest fatality rate. There were 10.54 deaths per 100 000 workers aged 65 years or over. This was nearly six times the rate of for all workers.
  • Younger workers aged under 25 years had the lowest fatality rate of all age groups. There were 0.88 deaths per 100 000 workers in this age group. This was the lowest rate recorded for this age group in eight years.
  • The Agriculture, forestry and fishing industry had the highest number of fatalities with 60 deaths in 2010–11. This was followed by the Transport, postal and warehousing industry with 42 deaths and the Construction industry with 39.
  • Close to one quarter (24 percent) of all worker fatalities occurred while working on a farm.

“I encourage all working Australians to continue to make improvements to health and safety in their workplace,” Mr Phillips said.