Lets talk about fatality rates in Australia in comparison to the United Kingdom

Written by Guy LeNoir

Australian Work-related traumatic injury fatalities

The work-related traumatic injury fatalities data provides statistics about people who die each year from injuries caused by work-related activity. It includes fatalities that result from an injury sustained in the course of a work activity (worker fatality) and as a result of someone else’s work activity (bystander fatality). Not all Data inclusions and exclusions are outlined below but can be found here. (https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/statistics-and-research/statistics/fatalities/fatality-statistics)

  • In the 14 years from 2003 to 2016, 3,414 workers lost their lives in work-related incidents.
  • In 2016, there were 182 worker fatalities, equating to a fatality rate of 1.5 fatalities per 100,000 workers Remember 4/5 jurisdictions that had WHS laws but killed more.
  • In 2017, the preliminary data show there were 187 Australian workers killed at work,
  • In 2018, As at 28 June, there have been 70 Australian workers killed at work .

Australia Labour Force Participation Rate  1978-2018 | Data | Chart

Labour Force Participation Rate in Australia decreased to 65.50 percent in May from 65.60 percent in April of 2018. Labour Force Participation Rate in Australia averaged 63.26 percent from 1978 until 2018, reaching an all time high of 65.80 percent in November of 2010 and a record low of 60.10 percent in April of 1983. (https://tradingeconomics.com/australia/labor-force-participation-rate)

How many people work in Australia?

Australia. 10,683,838 people living in the Australia in 2016 were employed, of which 62% worked full-time and 36% part-time.

United Kingdom Work-related traumatic injury fatalities

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has today (July 4 2018) released its annual figures for work-related fatal injuries for 2017/18, as well as the number of people known to have died from the asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma, in 2016. 

The provisional annual data for work-related fatal injuries revealed that 144 workers were fatally injured between April 2017 and March 2018 (a rate of 0.45 per 100,000 workers).

Although this represents an increase of nine fatalities from 2016/17, there has been a long-term reduction in the number of fatalities since 1981 and the number has remained broadly level in recent years


Labour Force Participation Rate in the United Kingdom

Labour Force Participation Rate in the United Kingdom averaged 76.59 percent from 1971 until 2018, reaching an all time high of 79 percent in February of 2018. (https://tradingeconomics.com/united-kingdom/labor-force-participation-rate)

How many People work in the United Kingdom

Between October to December 2014 and October to December 2015: UK born people working in the UK increased by 258,000 to 26.42 million. non-UK born people working in the UK increased by 281,000 to 5.06 million. So combined approximately 31.46 million people (https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/bulletins/uklabourmarket/february2016)

Guy’s Summary

Australia draws on a working population of approximately 11 million and has a fatality rate of about 1.5 fatalities per 100,000 workers

United Kingdom draws on a working population of approximately 31.5 million and has a fatality a rate of about 0.45 per 100,000 workers

So why such a large percentage disparity? These statistics are indicating you have a x3 risk of dying in an Australian workplace compared to the UK!

Are we not putting enough resources in to the Act/Regulations and the provision of FREE material such as Standards that are required by law? Continually gouging Business finances to provide the legally necessary material! Look at the current debacle of the introduction of the New Wiring Rules which will gouge hundreds of thousand dollars if not millions from businesses. That’s just one legally required Standard. There are multiple standards required by law. Talk about setting people up for failure (POV).

Is the calibre of our Workforce Management skills & commitment in question? I say yes!

Why is Australia so parochial in their laws when we are ONE country and ONE Workplace Safety law and 2 Regulations (Workplace/Mining) can cover all instead of the current fractured manner. Of concern we are meant to have harmonised WHS which it is not.

Do we take a softer approach to breaches of law and the lack of willingness to pursue Directors of larger companies? I perceive that Jurisdiction Regulators pursue the easy targets (single directors/ small business owners) but not the larger ones (to difficult and time consuming due to organisational structure). E.g Why do we have enforceable undertakings when the company personnel should be complying with the law anyway…big cop out.

Do we have a problem funding our Regulators and Prosecutory departments and not achieving the calibre and number of effective people needed in these positions? I say Yes!

Do we have such a low value set because of the insipid prosecutions and the lack of Judiciary that understand Workplace Safety & Health? I say Yes!

Why do our Regulators wait for actual injuries to occur before acting?

Why do we politically excise certain companies from our laws especially in Mining?

Do we have a problem with portrayed and actual attitudes within the workplace? I say YES!

This is my PASSION because businesses are not effective if they have to manage OSH/WHS issues all the time. We are not in the business for Safety we are in business for production however we discern the 2 instead of seeing it wholistically.

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