Workplace injuries falling but still hit 5.3% of workers

Fewer Australian workers are falling ill or being injured on the job, but more than 600,000 people still had a problem in 2009/2010 according to new Australian Bureau of Statistics Data.

640,700 people, or 5.3% of all employees, experienced a work-related injury or illness during 2009/2010, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS’) new study, Work-Related Injuries, Australia, 2009-10 released yesterday.

That may sound like terrible news but there’s a sweetener in the fact that those numbers are down compared to the last time the ABS published data on workplace injuries in 2005/2006, when 690,000 workers, 6.4% of all employees, reported health problems derived from the workplace.

ABS data on workplace injuries by age of employee

Men remain the most likely to be injured, accounting for up 56% incidents. One spot of good news is that injuries among young men declined faster than in any other category.

Other data points from the report include:

  • The decrease in the rates of incidence of work-related injuries were highest for young men;
  • 45-49 year olds are the most likely to be injured, with 74 men per 1000 workers and 70 women per 1,000 women injured at work
  • The most common workplace injuries are were sprains and strains (30%), chronic joint or muscle conditions (18%), and cuts or open wounds (16%);
  • Lifting and pulling objects is the main cause of workplace injuries, accounting for 27% of incidents;
  • 55% of those who experience a workplace injury take time off from work.
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