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Safe Work Australia - Worker fatalities Australia 2013 Jul 15th, 2014

Data has been released by Safe Work Australia. The aim of this report was to highlight the number of people who died in 2013 from injuries that arose through work-related activity.

In 2013, 191 workers were fatally injured at work. This is 16% lower than the 228 deaths recorded in 2012 and 39% lower than the highest number of worker deaths recorded in the series in 2007. Most of the decrease from 2012 to 2013 was due to a decrease in the number of workers killed in vehicle crashes on public roads (68 down to 43).

The 191 fatalities in 2013 equates to a fatality rate of 1.64 fatalities per 100 000 workers. This is the lowest fatality rate since the series began 11 years ago. The highest fatality rate was recorded in 2004 (2.94).

Notable characteristics of worker fatalities in 2013 include:

- 176 of the 190 fatalities (92%) involved male workers. The fatality rate for male workers was 10 times the rate for female workers.

- Self-employed workers have much higher fatality rates than employees. In 2013, self-employed workers had a fatality rate of 4.39 fatalities per 100 000 self-employed workers, which was over three times the rate for employees of 1.32. The fatality rate for employees has fallen consistently over the past six years but there has been no improvement in the rate for self-employed workers. Perhaps highlighting the difficulties reaching small enterprises. Small enterprises often have limited resources to prioritise these risks and to improve the working environment, and they often have difficulties in complying with legislation.

- Fatality rates increased with age from 0.98 fatalities per 100 000 workers aged less than 25 years to 7.73 for workers aged 65 years and over. However if self-employed workers are removed then the fatality rate for older workers is substantially lower (4.56).

- Truck drivers accounted for 20% of worker fatalities over the past 11 years with 51 truck drivers killed on average each year. In 2013, 39 truck drivers were killed.

- Farm workers accounted for 18% of worker fatalities in 2013. This includes 24 farm managers and 11 farm labourers killed while working.

These are just some of the findings in the new Safe Work Australia report: Work-related traumatic injury fatalities, Australia 2013.

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