Report Shows Australia's Reducing Injuries, Fatalities

Safe Work Australia Chair Tom Phillips said the results are good but cautioned that injury and illness rates in the transport and storage, manufacturing, agriculture, forestry, and fishing industries are still nearly twice as high as the national average.

Safe Work Australia has released the Thirteenth Edition of the Comparative Performance Monitoring report on Australia's health and safety and workers' compensation outcomes for 2009–10, with the numbers showing a 20 percent reduction in compensated injury fatalities by 2012 will be achieved.

Safe Work Australia Chair Tom Phillips said the results are good but cautioned that injury and illness rates in the transport and storage, manufacturing, agriculture, forestry, and fishing industries are still nearly twice as high as the national average.

“While this is a good result, there were still 194 compensated fatalities recorded in Australia for 2009–10, and each year, 13 out of every 1,000 workers continue to be injured seriously enough to require a week or more off work," Phillips said. "To continue to see a decrease in injury and disease in the workplace, we must stay committed to work health and safety and set high targets to ensure safer workplaces for all Australians. Since the start of the National OHS Strategy 2002-2012, there has been a 25 percent improvement. However, this report shows that considerably more work is required if the target of a 40 percent reduction in the rate of injuries is to be achieved by 2012."

The report shows 75 percent of injured workers successfully return to work within eight to 10 months of sustaining their injury. Australian workers' comp schemes paid more than $7 billion, 56 percent of which was paid directly to injured workers as compensation for their injury or illness; while 22 percent was spent on medical and other services.

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