Key stats from Safe Work Australia

Despite advancements in workplace health and safety measures, the latest Safe Work Australia statistics reveal a persistent problem with serious injuries, fatalities, and illnesses arising from work in Australia.

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The ‘Key Work Health and Safety Statistics’ report by Safe Work Australia presents alarming data, highlighting that despite efforts to bolster workplace health and safety, Australia still faces a substantial challenge with work-related injuries, fatalities, and illnesses.

Over the last decade, more than 1,850 workers have tragically lost their lives due to work-related traumatic injuries, while over 1.14 million have submitted serious workers’ compensation claims for injuries requiring them to take more than a week off work.

The report highlights the leading causes of these incidents, including body stressing, falls, slips, trips, and being hit by moving objects, alongside a notable rise in work-related mental health conditions.

These findings underscore the critical need for ongoing improvements in workplace safety measures to protect workers from harm.

Work-related injury fatalities

Key stats fatalities

195 lives were lost in the reporting period, predominantly due to vehicle incidents and impacts from moving objects.

Worker fatalities by most common mechanism of incident

Graphic most_common_mechanism_of_incident

Trends in worker fatalities since 2003

key stats whs

While there has been a general downward trend in the number and rate of fatalities since 2007, there was a 13% increase in fatalities from the previous year. Over the past five years, the average fatality rate was 1.4 per 100,000 workers, with an average of 180 fatalities annually, with the lowest fatality rate of 1.1 per 100,000 workers recorded in 2018.

Worker fatalities by State/Territory

Key stats country

Serious claims by occupation

The serious claims frequency rate was highest for persons employed as labourers (24.8 claims per million hours worked), followed by community and personal service workers (15.6), machinery operators and drivers (11.5), and technicians and trades workers (7.4).

Key stats from Safe Work Australia

Serious claims by most common mechanism

The most common work-related injuries in Australia result from body stressing, falls, slips, trips, and being struck by moving objects.stats_serious_claims_by_most_common_mechanism

Every worker is entitled to a safe and healthy work environment. Yet, the reality is that work-related injuries and illnesses can occur across any industry or occupation, impacting not just the individuals involved but also their families and the wider community.

These statistics serve as a sobering reminder of the importance of maintaining and enhancing safety standards to protect workers across Australia.


Note: The latest statistics Key Work Health and Safety Statistics Australia 2023 covers the finalised statics for the year ending 2022. Figures are updated only once all the appropriate authorities have investigated the deaths and more accurate information becomes available. Only then does Safe Work Australia include the incident in their statistics and publish a final report. For preliminary data for 2023 and 2024, visit

Safety Dimensions safety training courses are available for executives, frontline leaders and frontline staff.

Browse our safety training topics to find out more about our key programs which include:

The Executive Level Masterclass (1 day program) provides executive level due diligence, values and belief alignment and skill building to enhance the executive team’s engagement and influence over the cultural maturity of the organisation.

This program helps our students build an understanding of the value of role modeling safety behaviours, identifies the difference between LEAD and LAG indicators when creating a safe workplace and explains ways to embed LEAD indicators as well as accurately review and interpret LAG indicator statistics. Our short courses clarify legal obligations relating to health and safety, discusses values alignment to create consistent messaging and introduces key concepts and ideas within the Safety Leadership Foundation program for Frontline Leaders and the MATES program for frontline staff.

Your team of Frontline Leaders plays a crucial role in the management of HSE risk, and of course set the tone for the culture at the frontline. This award winning nationally recognised program, endorsed by the Office of the Federal Safety Commissioner, has been deemed in Industry as a benchmark for all leaders who hold a safety-critical position.

This program provides tangible skills to leaders and will engage their hearts and minds, clarify the required safety leadership behaviours, challenge their current beliefs and values about safety, their own risk tolerance, and how they can make a difference through influencing others to make safer choices, build consultative behaviours (conversations that matter) and develop effective ways to resolve workplace difficulties and challenges.

The core foundation of the M.A.T.E.s program is that everyone is a leader of safety, and we can each make a difference if we speak up and get involved. To ensure frontline leaders and workers are aligned in relation to their safety beliefs – that each individual is mindful of their own personal safety, and has ownership of the safety systems and processes in place, this requires a focus on the frontline team members, for whom safety comes to life every minute they are working.

This program challenges the frontline team member to think about what they can do to support a safe organisation. It allows each person to connect meaningfully with safety, and ensures everyone has personal approaches they bring to work every day.

This program tackles some of the likely questions, such as Why does it apply to me?, I’m not a manager, is it really my job?, How do I manage myself, and talk with others if all harm really is preventable? The program reinforces your organisation’s safety and wellbeing philosophy and provides tools for anyone to have peer-level conversations to reinforce safe practices and lift risk awareness, particularly in routine tasks.

Not getting improvements in your safety leadership culture or safety statistics?  It’s highly likely your organisation has failed to engage your people at the ‘hearts and minds’ level required to create and sustain a strong safety culture.

Research shows unsafe acts (behaviours) contribute to 80% of accidents or incidents, whilst unsafe conditions contribute to 20% of accidents or incidents (Hollnagel 1993, Reason 1990).

Frighteningly, this shows that people’s behaviours are more responsible for accidents than unsafe environments. The statistics highlight that organisations can have the most stringent safety processes and procedures in the world, yet still have a high incident rate through a failure to engage workers’ values, beliefs, mindsets and attitudes – the keys to changing behaviour.

Safety Dimensions has developed a two-day ‘Engaging Hearts and Minds – Creating And Sustaining A Strong Safety Culture’ program, which blends two safety approaches:

1. Engaging the mind through Behavioural Based Safety (BBS) focused on changing behaviour by understanding the mechanics behind our behaviour and;

2. Engaging the heart through Values Based Safety (VBS) which focuses on what drives behaviour at a deep internal level by aligning safety with the values and beliefs of the individual.

 When blended together, Safety Dimensions’ approach captures the hearts and minds of a workforce to ensure sustainable behaviour change is achieved over time.

We all have an obligation to do our jobs without our judgement or behaviour being impaired. This is called being ‘fit for work’ and is the focus of this program.

While we must all understand what is expected of us in terms of being ‘fit for work’, our approach is to prevent impaired judgement and behaviour through education and support, so no one has to experience being told they are unfit for work.

Within this program we discuss what is expected in terms of safety and drugs and alcohol, yet, just as importantly, we will discuss the warning signals that indicate judgement or behaviour may be impaired, what action to take and support to access.

This module refines and enhances the skills and capabilities of leaders in the areas of hazard identification, risk analysis, and identification and implementation of appropriate risk controls.

This focus will ensure that leaders all understand the vital role those doing the work have, in ensuring risk assessments are completed in a manner that meets your required standards, and with regard to the real risks and hazards in the workplace.

It introduces a way of thinking about hazard identification and risk management as an everyday activity. This program is applicable to all areas of safety risk management. The program has a heavy emphasis on understanding the whole of the safety management system and what is required from each role.

Providing independent design, data collection and analysis of an organisation’s safety maturity is critical in determining gaps, creating solutions to improve and recommendations for implementation.

Consisting of surveys and focus groups and one-on-one discussions, Safety Dimensions consultants’ partner with companies on their safety leadership maturity journey to ensure organisations can benchmark their maturity prior to an intervention, and importantly evaluating success.

Ensuring new staff or contractors ‘live’ your safety leadership values, expectations and behaviour is critical to minimising harm in any workplace or work site. Safety Dimensions designs face-to-face and online safety inductions for projects, offices and organisations that not only focus on the ‘what’ is required, but also importantly expected behaviours, the ‘how’ in order to keep themselves and others safe.

Often organisations need to change procedures and policies which require different behaviours from staff members and contractors. Emailing out a new procedure or policy will not guarantee it will be followed – quite the opposite.

Whether the change relate to incident investigation, drug and alcohol testing, risk assessments, contractor management or communication and consultation, Safety Dimensions specialises in creating a series of short, informative and engaging sessions for organisations who need to remove resistance, increase compliance and, ultimately change behaviour so necessary and needed procedures can be adhered to because staff ‘want to’ rather than ‘are told to’.

Ensure effective management of WHS site risks and performance through learning how to effectively select, manage and monitor the complex and difficult world of contractors.

An organisation’s safety culture is at its strongest when it aligns its approach to contractors and its permanent workforce. This program covers the WHS obligations regarding contractors and has been designed to step through the various stages of effective contractor management including assessing, evaluating health and safety history, attitude and managing expectations of performance and reporting. Blending these concrete steps with the skills required to effectively manage others not directly in your employment, Contractor Management is one of our most popular and requested programs.

This highly interactive program gives participants the mindset and skill set to undertake or assist in incident investigations. The program demonstrates how to undertake a rigorous investigation in a way that is not based on assumption or blame.

The objective of the course is to help individuals create engagement, build shared understanding and cooperative identification and agreement on how to manage or eliminate the causal factors in order to reduce or nullify the likelihood of a similar occurrence in the future.

Leaders of all levels will enhance their ability to be involved and to ensure the reports they are sighting match what a ‘good’ investigation process finding will show. The program also clarifies personal and organisational responsibilities of those leading or assisting in an incident investigation process.