Fatal Injury Numbers Improving in Australia

The chairman of Safe Work Australia, Tom Phillips, said the 2010-2011 report shows compensated workplace fatalities continue to decline.

Releasing the Fourteenth Edition of the Comparative Performance Monitoring report summarizing Australia's workers' compensation outcomes for 2010–11, Safe Work Australia Chair Tom Phillips said the fatality totals continue to drop since the launch of the National OHS Strategy 2002-2012. "Although Australia continues to have a reduction in workplace fatalities, there were still 169 compensated fatalities in Australia in 2010-11," he said. "Furthermore in 2010-11, 11 out of every 1,000 workers were injured seriously enough to require one week or more off work.

"One fatality is too many. To continue to reduce work-related death, injury, and disease, Australians must stay committed to improving work health and safety," Phillips added.

The report concluded the rate of serious injuries has fallen by 28 percent since 2002, encouraging but still short of target set in the National OHS Strategy of a 40 percent reduction in the rate by 2012. Other key findings in the report:

  • The injury and disease rates in the transportation and warehousing, manufacturing, agriculture, forestry, and fishing industries are still nearly twice as high as the national average.
  • Australian workers' comp schemes spent more than $7 billion, 55 percent of which was paid directly to injured workers in compensation for their injury or illness; 23 percent was spent on medical and other services.
  • Employers are now paying 1.49 percent of payroll in workers' comp premiums compared to 1.79 percent in 2006–07.

The report was issued just ahead of Safety Work Australia Week, taking place Oct. 21-27. "Safe Work Australia Week encourages all working Australians to focus on improving health and safety in their workplaces to reduce death, injury and disease not just during the week but every week of the year. It is not too late to get involved," Phillips said. "There is still time to register as a Safety Ambassador, organize activities in your workplace, or attend activities run by your state or territory work health and safety regulator."

For information about the week, visit www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au.

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