Work-related injury numbers down

The number of people experiencing a work-related injury or illness has continued to decline, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The number of people experiencing a work-related injury or illness has continued to decline, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). 

Of the 12.5 million persons who had worked at some time in the last 12 months, 4.3 per cent first experienced their most recent work-related injury or illness during that same period. The majority (85 per cent) of the 531,800 persons who experienced a work-related injury or illness continued to work in the job where their injury or illness occurred, while approximately seven per cent had since changed jobs.

In 2013-14, approximately 43 persons experienced a work-related injury or illness in the last 12 months per 1,000 persons who had worked at some time in the last 12 months, a decrease from the 2009-10 estimate (53 people per 1000 persons).

61 per cent of work-related injuries or illnesses occured to males. In 2013-14, 4.961 per cent of males who worked in the last 12 months experienced a work-related injury or illness, down from 5.561 per cent in 2009-10. The proportion of females who experienced a work-related injury or illness in the last 12 months was 3.661 per cent, down from 5.161 per cent in 2009-10.

The highest work-related injury or illness rate by age group was in the 50-54 year age group, with 52 per 1,000 persons who had worked at some time in the last 12 months, followed by the 15-19 year age group with 50 per 1,000 persons. Persons aged 65 years and over recorded the lowest rate of work-related injury or illness with 25 per 1,000 persons. Meanwhile, the younger age group (15-19 years) experienced an increase in the rate of work-related injuries or illnesses compared with 2009-10 (50 per 1000 persons in 2013-14 compared to 47 per 1000 persons in 2009-10).

“Today's figures confirm that work-related injury rates have continued to fall,” said Stephen Collett from the ABS. “Similar to previous years, men had a higher rate of work-related injuries than women. In 2013-14, this was driven by the large number of injuries sustained by men working in the manufacturing and construction industries.

“For women, the largest number of injuries occurred in the healthcare and social assistance industry, and in the accommodation and food services industry.

Collett said the most commonly reported problems were sprains and strains, which accounted for one in three injuries, followed by joint or muscle conditions at one in five. These injuries most commonly occured when lifting, pushing, pulling, or bending; or by hitting or being hit by an object.

The ABS found that about 60 per cent of injured workers received some form of financial assistance, just over half of which was workers' compensation. 

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