Graphic Safe Work Australia fatality statistics

Safe Work Australia has published the 2021 Work-related Traumatic Injury Fatalities Australia report, providing the latest detailed national statistics on fatal injuries while at work.

Although Australian workplaces are becoming safer, there is still work to be done. The report gives vital insights to all those responsible for safety in the workplace to help understand risks, trends, and the types of injuries in specific industries that have the highest fatality rates.

The report includes workers who died, irrespective of how they were engaged (including unpaid volunteers, family workers, and persons who died as a result of someone else’s work activity (bystander fatalities).

There were 169 worker fatalities in 2021 due to injuries sustained in the course of work-related activity.

Worker fatalities in Australia

Overall, the number of fatalities has decreased by 57% since the highest rate recorded in 2007.

Trends in worker fatalities showing downward trend.

96% of workers killed from work-related activities are men, with around 2.5 fatalities per 100,000 male workers in the past 5 years while female workers account for 0.1 fatalities per 100,000.

Fatalities by gender graphics - 96% male, 4% female.

Workers aged 55-64 years accounted for more deaths in 2021 than any other age group (25%), with those aged 65 and over having the highest fatality rate at 4.5 fatalities per 100,000 workers.

Worker fatalities by age group.

The most common causes of worker fatalities were:

  • Vehicle collisions (38%)
  • Being hit by moving objects (14%)
  • Falls from a height (11%)

Worker fatalities by type.

7 out of 10 fatalities involved a vehicle in 2021. This means that a vehicle was principally involved in the incident leading to a worker fatality and includes collisions and being hit by moving objects. Vehicles include not only road vehicles such as cars and trucks, but also machines such as aircraft, boats, loaders, tractors and quad bikes. Of these fatalities, 66% were single-vehicle accidents.

The actions of a worker contributed to the deaths of 57 members of the public (referred to as bystanders) in 2021. Almost half of these (49%) were due to a vehicle collision.

Fatalities of bystanders,49% vehicle crashes, 21% falling from heights.

Understanding the causes of injury and the industries most affected can help reduce work-related fatalities.

The report details that almost two-thirds (64%) of worker fatalities occurred in the following industries:

  • Transport, postal and warehousing (52 fatalities)
  • Agriculture, forestry and fishing (33 fatalities)
  • Construction (24 fatalities)

Safe Work Australia, fatalities by industry

Fatality statistics, industry of employer.

In regards to the location of the highest worker fatalities, NT has the highest at 3.1 fatalities per 100,000 workers, while the ACT is the lowest at .4 per 100,000 workers.

Fatalities by state

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