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6324.0 - Work-Related Injuries, Australia, 2009-10 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/12/2010   
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SUMMARY OF FINDINGS


OVERVIEW

Of the 12 million people who had worked at some time in the last 12 months, 5.3% experienced a work-related injury or illness during that same period. The majority (88%) of the 640,700 people who experienced a work-related injury or illness continued to work in the job where their injury or illness occurred. Approximately 5.2% had changed jobs and the remaining 6.9% were not employed in the reference week.

More than half of people who experienced a work-related injury or illness were men (55.6%). This can be partly attributed to the nature of their work and to the fact that a larger proportion of those who worked at some time in the last 12 months were men (54%). However, even after this factor is removed, men were still more likely than women to experience a work-related injury or illness. In 2009-10, 5.5% of men who worked in the last 12 months experienced a work-related injury or illness, down from 7.4% in 2005-06. The proportion of women who experienced a work-related injury or illness in the last 12 months was the same as 2005-06, at 5.1%.


WORK-RELATED INJURY OR ILLNESS RATES

In 2009-10, approximately 53 people experienced a work-related injury or illness in the last 12 months per 1,000 people who had worked at some time in the last 12 months, a decrease from the 2005-06 estimate (64 people per 1000 people).

Both men and women experienced the highest work-related injury or illness rates in the 45-49 year age group with 72 per 1,000 people who had worked at some time in the last 12 months (74 per 1,000 men and 70 per 1,000 women), followed by the 20-24 year age group with 63 per 1,000 people (69 per 1,000 men and 57 per 1,000 women). People aged 65 years and over recorded the lowest rate of work-related injuries/illnesses with 30 per 1,000 people (28 per 1,000 men and 34 per 1,000 women). The younger age groups (15-19 years) experienced a decline compared with 2005-06 figures (47 per 1000 people in 2009-10 compared with 78 per 1000 people in 2005-06). In 2009-10, females had a higher rate of work-related injuries or illnesses than men in the 15-19 years and 55 years and over age groups, a contrast to 2005-06 where males had higher rates than females in all age groups.

Work-related injury/illness rate, By age and sex - 2005-06 and 2009-10
Graph: Work-related injury/illness rate, By age and sex—2005-06 and 2009-10


The Northern Territory had the highest work-related injury/illness rate (61 per 1,000 people who had worked at some time in the last 12 months), followed by Queensland (59 per 1,000 people). Western Australia recorded the lowest rate, with 40 per 1,000 people who had worked in the last 12 months.


DETAILS OF THE JOB WHERE THE WORK-RELATED INJURY OR ILLNESS OCCURRED

Of the 640,700 people who experienced a work-related injury or illness in 2009-10:
  • 90% (578,500) were employees (excluding owner managers of incorporated enterprises) in the job where they experienced the injury or illness;
  • 10% (62,200) were owner managers;
  • 28% (180,000) were working under shift arrangements; and
  • 82% (522,400) had received occupational health and safety training in the job prior to their work-related injury or illness occurring.

In comparison, of all employed persons:
  • 82% were employees (excluding owner managers of incorporated enterprises);
  • 18% were owner managers, of whom 30% were working on a contract basis; and
  • 16% were working under shift arrangements.


OCCUPATION AND INDUSTRY OF JOB WHERE WORK-RELATED INJURY OR ILLNESS OCCURRED

The occupation groups with the highest rates of people who experienced a work-related injury or illness were Labourers (88 per 1,000 employed people), Machinery Operators and Drivers (86 per 1,000 employed people), Community and Personal Service Workers (84 per 1,000 employed people) and Technicians and Trades Workers (78 per 1,000 employed people).

Work-related injury or illness rate(a), By occupation groups
Graph: Work-related injury or illness rate(a), By occupation groups


Of the 356,500 men who experienced a work-related injury or illness in the last 12 months:
  • 30% were Technicians and Tradeworkers, 19% were Labourers and 15% were machinery operators and drivers when the injury or illness occurred; and
  • 17% were employed in the Manufacturing industry, 16% in Construction and 10% in Transport, Postal and Warehousing when the injury or illness occurred.

Among the 284,300 women who experienced work-related injuries or illnesses:
  • 24% were Professionals, 21% were Community and Personal Service Workers and 14% were Sales Workers; and
  • 23% were employed in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry, 13% in Retail Trade and 13% in Education and Training when the injury or illness occurred.

Note that the distribution of work-related injuries or illnesses across the different occupations and industries will be influenced to some extent by the total number of men and women who work in those particular occupations and industries.

The industries with the highest work-related injury or illness rates were Accommodation and Food Services (84 per 1,000 employed people), Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services (79 per 1,000 employed people), Arts and Recreation Services (77 per 1,000 employed people), and Transport, Postal and Warehousing (74 per 1,000 employed people).

The industries with the lowest rates were Financial and Insurance Services (23 per 1,000 employed people), Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (24 per 1,000 employed people), Other Services (30 per 1,000 employed people) and Information Media and Telecommunications (31 per 1,000 employed people).

Work-related injury or illness rate(a), By industry



MOST RECENT WORK-RELATED INJURY OR ILLNESS SUSTAINED

Of the 640,700 people who experienced a work-related injury or illness, the most common types of injuries or illnesses sustained were sprains or strains (30%), followed by chronic joint or muscle conditions (18%), and cuts or open wounds (16%). Men had higher incidences of cuts or open wounds than women (19% and 12% respectively), while proportionally more women experienced chronic joint or muscle conditions (21% of women compared with 15% of men). This may be at least partly due to differences in the occupations and industries that men and women tend to work in.

Most recent work-related injury or illness sustained, By sex
Graph: Most recent work-related injury or illness sustained, By sex


The work-related injury or illness most commonly reported across the majority of occupation groups was sprains/strains, with the exception of Technicians and Trades Workers who reported cuts/open wounds as the most common injury or illness sustained.

Sprains/strains were also the most commonly reported work-related injury or illness sustained across the majority of industries, followed by cuts/open wounds and chronic joint or muscle conditions.

Of the 640,700 people who experienced a work-related injury or illness, 27% (175,000) sustained their injury through lifting, pushing or pulling an object, 25% (157,300) by hitting, being hit or cut by an object, 13% (84,700) through falls on the same level and 8% (50,200) through repetitive movements.

How the most recent work-related injury or illness occurred, By sex
Graph: How the most recent work-related injury or illness occurred, By sex



SOURCES OF FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

Of the 640,700 people who experienced a work-related injury in the last 12 months, 388,400, or 61%, received some sort of financial assistance. Of those who received financial assistance, 59% received workers' compensation, 36% did not apply for workers' compensation and 5% applied for and did not receive workers' compensation.

There was an increase in 2009-10 in the number of people who received workers' compensation as a proportion of the total number of people who experienced a work-related injury or illness in the last 12 months (35.9%), compared with 2005-06 figures (31.3%).

Of those who did not apply for workers' compensation, approximately 50% reported that the main reason for not applying for workers' compensation was that their injury or illness was minor/not considered necessary, 10% said they were not covered or not aware of workers' compensation, and 10% did not think they were eligible.

MAIN REASON DID NOT APPLY FOR WORKERS' COMPENSATION, By sex
Graph: MAIN REASON DID NOT APPLY FOR WORKERS' COMPENSATION, By sex


Of employees (excluding owner managers of incorporated enterprises) with paid leave entitlements, who experienced a work-related injury or illness in the last 12 months, 69% received financial assistance compared to 50% of employees without any paid leave entitlements.


ABSENCES

Of the 640,700 people who experienced a work-related injury or illness:
  • 56% had some time off work (54% of men and 57% of women). Approximately 7% took part of a day or shift and 22% took one to four days off (22% of both men and women);
  • 24% had 5 days or more off work and 3% had not returned to work since the injury or illness occurred;
  • 45% did not have any time off. The injuries or illnesses most often experienced by this group were sprains and strains (31%) and cuts/open wounds (20%); and
  • 12% were no longer working in the job in which the work-related injury or illness occurred. Of these, 38% left because of their workplace injury or illness.
Days or shifts absent from work due to most recent work-related injury or illness, By sex
Graph: Days or shifts absent from work due to most recent work-related injury or illness, By sex



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