The number of people experiencing a work-related injury or illness has declined by almost 20 percent in 2009-10, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
In 2009-10, about 640,700 people (5.3 percent of the 12 million people employed at some time in the last 12 months) experienced a work-related injury or illness, compared with 690,000 (6.4 percent) in 2005-06, a fall of 17 percent.
Men were more likely to experience a workplace injury than women, of the people who worked during the last 12 months, men experienced a work-related injury or illness at 55 per 1,000 men (down from 74 per 1,000 in 2005-06) compared to women at 51 per 1,000 women (same rate as in 2005-06).
More than half of people who experienced a work-related injury or illness were men (56 percent).
The 45-49 year age group were most likely to experience a workplace injury or illness, with 74 per 1,000 men and 70 per 1,000 women. However, the decrease in the rates of incidence of work-related injuries were highest for young men.
The most commonly reported injuries or illnesses were sprains and strains (30 percent), followed by chronic joint or muscle conditions (18%), and cuts or open wounds (16%).
Around half of the most recent work-related injury or illness were sustained mostly by lifting, pushing or pulling objects (27%) or by hitting or being hit or cut by an object (25%).
More than 60% of those who experienced a work-related injury received some sort of financial assistance, and of those who received financial assistance more than half (59%) received workers’ compensation. More than 55% of those who experienced a work-related injury had some time off.
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).
An important area for improvement for small business owners is in the area of occupational health and safety training, with around 30 percent of persons who worked at some time in the last 12 months not receiving formal training in occupational health and safety risks in the workplace.