Year-to-date worker deaths by industry 

By Jeff Salton on August 22nd, 2017
  1. Fire, Emergency & Incidents
  2. Incident Investigations

Sadly, as at 2 August, 110 Australian workers have been killed at work this year. Overall, that number is up by eight deaths when compared to the same period in 2016.

The Transport, Postal and Warehousing sector remains at the top of the table with the most recorded workplace deaths, with the majority being vehicle-related. Considering truck driving is described statistically as the most dangerous job in Australia, that comes as no surprise.

Unfortunately, the sector has recorded 10 more workplace deaths than at the same time last year. In the previous year the industry recorded 60 deaths and already has reached 46.

However, the industry is working hard to improve the safety of workers by introducing new chain of responsibility safety laws that address the areas of fatigue, speeding, load restraint, mass and maintenance.

The construction industry, which involves many high-risk tasks, has recorded five more deaths than at the same time in 2016, up to 18.

The farming sector (agriculture, forestry and fishing) has recorded a drop of six in the number of fatalities so far this year compared to 2016 (down to 23). Initiatives, such as Farm Week, which focuses on safety in the industry, and a large and ongoing campaign on quad bike safety, could be having a positive impact on workers and managers.

The mining sector, which has for some time been in a leader in implementing worker safety, has recorded two fatalities so far this year, down one on last year’s figures.


Industry of workplace Total deaths 2016 Deaths 1 Jan 2016 to 2 Aug 2016 Deaths 1 Jan 2017 to 2 Aug 2017
Transport, postal & warehousing 64 36 46
Agriculture, forestry & fishing 41 29 23
Construction 30 13 18
Arts & recreation services 8 7 5
Mining (incl. oil & gas extraction, quarrying) 7 3 2
Electricity, gas, water & waste services 7 5 3
Other services 4 2 1
Administrative & support services 3 0 0
Public administration & safety 3 1 3
Manufacturing 3 0 4
Information media & telecommunications 2 2 0
Retail trade 1 1 1
Wholesale trade 1 0 0
Health care & social assistance 1 1 1
Professional, scientific & technical services 1 1 0
Accommodation & food services 1 1 2
Education & training 1 0 0
Financial & insurance services 0 0 0
Rental, hiring & real estate services 0 0 1
Total worker deaths 178 102 110

In which sector do your employees work?

Regardless of whether they are involved in high-risk or lower risk work, are you doing everything practicable to keep your workers safe? Maybe some recent injuries or near-misses indicate that there are some processes you could be doing better? Perhaps there are some things you haven’t thought of that could be incorporated into policies to protect workers.

That’s where our experts can help. They’ve already done most of the hard work for you. And they know their stuff.

The Health & Safety Handbook, written in plain English by health and safety lawyers at Holding Redlich, is full of information, hints, tips, as well as downloadable templates and checklists to ensure you’re doing your best to protect your workers – while fulfilling the health and safety laws in your jurisdiction.Order your copy of the Health & Safety Handbook today on an obligation-free trial to see how you can put it to work at your business. What do you have to lose?

  • The full report, Year-to-date 2017: Preliminary worker deaths by industry of workplace, is available at the Safe Work Australia website.


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