Work-related injuries methodology

Latest release
Reference period
2021-22 financial year


The Work-related Injuries (WRI) Survey has been run every fourth financial year since 2005-06 as a topic on the Multipurpose Household Survey (MPHS). The MPHS is conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) as a supplement to the monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS) and is designed to collect statistics for a number of small, self-contained topics.

Prior to 2005-06, the Work-related Injuries (WRI) Survey was first conducted as a supplement to the LFS in September 2000

The Work-related Injuries survey provides a range of information about the people who experienced a work-related injury or illness in the 12 months prior to interview.

Additional information about survey design, scope, coverage and population benchmarks relevant to the monthly LFS, which also applies to supplementary surveys, can be found in Labour Force, Australia, Methodology.

Descriptions of the underlying concepts and structure of Australia’s labour force statistics, and the sources and methods used in compiling the estimates, are presented in Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods.

Reference period

The reference period for the Work-Related Injuries survey is the 2021-22 financial year.

Scope and coverage

The scope of the LFS is the civilian population aged 15 years and over, excluding:

  • Members of the permanent defence forces
  • Certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments
  • Overseas residents in Australia 
  • Members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependants) stationed in Australia.

The following additional exclusions apply to the MPHS

  • Very remote parts of Australia and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
  • People living in non-private households such as hotels, university residences, students at boarding schools, patients in hospitals, inmates of prisons and residents of other institutions (e.g. retirement homes, homes for people with disabilities)

In the LFS, coverage rules are applied, which aim to ensure that each person is associated with only one dwelling, and hence has only one chance of selection in the survey. See Labour Force, Australia, Methodology for more details.

Collection method

The Work-related injuries topic is collected within the Multi-Purpose Household Survey (MPHS), a supplement to the monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS).

Each month, a sample of households are selected for the MPHS from the responding households who are in the last of their 8 months in the LFS. In these households, after the LFS had been fully completed for each person, a usual resident aged 15 years and over is selected at random to complete the questionnaire.

Data are collected via personal interviews by either telephone or in person at selected households.

For more details, see the MPHS chapter in Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods.


Sample Design

This survey is based on the new sample introduced into LFS in July 2018. The new sample design has adopted the use of the Address Register as the sampling frame for unit selection, and the sampling fractions for selection probabilities within each state have been updated to reflect the most recent population distribution based on results from the 2016 Census of Population and Housing. As with each regular sample design, the impacts on the data are expected to be minimal. For more information, see the Information Paper: Labour Force Survey Sample Design.

Sample Size

The sample is pooled from data collected each month across the financial year. The sample size of the 2021-22 Work-related Injuries survey (after taking into account the scope, coverage and sub-sampling exclusions) was approximately 23,000.

For 2021-22, there were no WRI surveys conducted during October 2021 due to the Post Census Review Survey.

Weighting and estimation

Population benchmarks

Survey weights are calibrated against population benchmarks to ensure that the survey estimates conform to the independently estimated distribution of the population, rather than the distribution within the sample itself.

When calibrating the weights, the survey sample is grouped into categories based on the following characteristics:

  • State or territory
  • Capital city or rest of state
  • Sex
  • Age
  • Employed full-time, part-time, unemployed or not in the labour force.

The Labour Force Survey estimates are calculated in such a way as to sum to the independent estimates of the civilian population aged 15 years and over (population benchmarks). These population benchmarks are updated quarterly based on Estimated Resident Population (ERP) data. See Labour Force, Australia, Methodology for more information.

From August 2015, Labour Force estimates have been compiled using population benchmarks based on the most recently available release of ERP data, continually revised on a quarterly basis.

The Work-related Injuries benchmarks were based on a 12-month average of the LFS estimates for the June to July financial year, as reported in the November 2022 issue of Labour Force, Australia. This approach is used to remove the seasonality from the employed, unemployed and not in the labour force benchmarks and to improve coherence between the two publications.

Estimates from previous surveys back to 2005-06 have also been revised using this method, with benchmarks based on the same population series (as at November 2022). 

Comparability with LFS

Due to differences in the scope and sample size of this MPHS and that of the monthly LFS, the estimates procedure may lead to some small variations between labour force estimates from this survey and those from the LFS.

Survey output

A number of spreadsheets are available from Data downloads. They present tables of estimates and their corresponding relative standard errors (RSEs).

For users who wish to undertake more detailed analysis, the underlying microdata is available in DataLab and TableBuilder. For more details, refer to Microdata: Work-related Injuries.

Survey content

The survey is designed to provide a large range of statistics on labour market dynamics across the following conceptual groups:

  • Geography
  • Demographics
  • Cultural diversity
  • Families
  • Education and Qualifications
  • Health
  • Participation and Job attachment
  • Characteristics of employment
  • Characteristics of main job
  • Employment arrangements
  • Income and Earnings
  • Work-related injury or illness
  • Characteristics of job where work-related injury occurred
  • Outcomes and financial assistance for work-related injury

For more details, refer to the Data item list

Data item list

Conceptual Framework

Persons who worked at some time in the last 12 months were asked whether they experienced a work-related injury or illness in the same period.

The survey broadly defined work-related injuries and illnesses as any injury or illness or disease which first occurred in the last 12 months, where a person suffers either physically or mentally from a condition that has arisen out of, or in the course of, employment. This includes:

  • Injuries or illnesses sustained by all categories of employed workers;
  • Injuries or illnesses that have been claimed under workers' compensation; and
  • Injuries or illnesses that have not been claimed under workers' compensation.

Work-related injuries or illnesses resulting in death are excluded.

Accuracy and quality

Reliability of the estimates

As the estimates are based on information obtained from occupants of a sample of households, they are subject to sampling variability. That is, they may differ from those estimates that would have been produced if all households had been included in the survey or a different sample was selected. Two types of error are possible in an estimate based on a sample survey - sampling error and non-sampling error.

  • sampling error is the difference between the published estimate and the value that would have been produced if all dwellings had been included in the survey.
  • non-sampling errors are inaccuracies that occur because of imperfections in reporting by respondents and interviewers, and errors made in coding and processing data. These inaccuracies may occur in any enumeration, whether it be a full count or a sample. Every effort is made to reduce the non-sampling error to a minimum by careful design of questionnaires, intensive training and effective processing procedures.

Some of the estimates contained in the tables have a relative standard error (RSE) of 50 per cent or greater. These estimates are marked as unreliable for general use. Estimates with an RSE of between 25 and 50 per cent are also marked and should be used with caution.

More on reliability of estimates


As estimates have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals.


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Geographic data are classified according to the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS), 2016 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.001)

Country of birth data are classified according to the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC), 2016  (cat. no. 1269.0).

Occupation data are classified according to the ANZSCO – Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations, 2013, Version 1.2 (cat. no. 1220.0).

Industry data are classified according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 (Revision 2.0) (cat. no. 1292.0).

Educational attainment data are classified according to the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED), 2001 (cat. no. 1272.0).

Work-related injuries data are classified according to Safe Work Australia's Type of Occurrence Classifications System (TOOCS). See Appendix for more information.


Work-related injuries data are classified according to the Type of Occurrence Classifications System (TOOCS) which was developed by Safe Work Australia for coding workers' compensation claims.

The work-related injury or illness classification used in this survey was based on the TOOCS nature of injury codes.

The classification of how work-related injury or illness occurred was based on the TOOCS mechanism of injury codes.

Nature of injury

Mechanism of injury

History of changes


  • Estimates were rebenchmarked to a 12-month average of population estimates from the Labour Force Survey (as at November 2022). Estimates from previous surveys were also re-benchmarked using 12 month averages from the same LFS population series (as at November 2022) to improve coherence and consistency in the timeseries.

  • Microdata has been released in DataLab for the first time, refer to Microdata: Work-related Injuries for more information

  • Questions related to 'Location where work-related injury or illness occurred' were modified to ask about work-related injuries that occurred while 'Working from home'. 

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