Australian Workers’ Compensation Statistics, 2013–14

NOTE: The most recent report released by Safe Work Australia on Workers Compensation used data from period of 2000-2013 and only includes ‘serious claims’. Serious claims are defined as any accepted workers’ compensation claim for an incapacity that results in a total absence from work of one working week or more. Serious claims exclude compensated fatalities.


Summary of Findings

  • 106 565 serious workers’ compensation claims in 2013–14
  • Between 2000 and 2013, the frequency of serious claims fell by 31%
  • The three occupations with the highest number of serious claims were labourers, community and personal service workers , and machinery operators and drivers
  • Injury and musculoskeletal disorders made up 90% of serious claims, the most common of which were traumatic joint/ligament and muscle/tendon injuries
  • Muscular stress while lifting or handling objects caused 33% of serious claims in 2013–14, while falls, trips and slips led to 22% of serious claims
  • The median compensation paid for a serious claim increased by 71% from $5 200 to $8 900


Serious Claims

Body Stressing through Manual Handling was responsible for 42% of serious claims in 2013-14. Slips trips and falls made up of 22% of serious claims, with just over 58% of slips, trips and falls occurred on steps, high traffic areas and other locations created by the surrounding environment. The other main areas of serious claims were being hit by moving objects (15%), hitting objects with part of body (7%), Vehicle Incidents and other (6.2%), heat, electricity and other environment factors (1%), Chemicals and other substances (1%), Biological (<1%), Sound and pressure (<1%).

Time lost and Compensation Paid

Serious claims by median time lost by age group and serious claims by median compensation paid by age group saw a continuous continual growth from 2001-2013. Age groups showed greater time lost and compensation paid as you got older. In 2012–13, managers had the highest median time lost of 7 weeks and the highest median compensation paid of $13 400. The mining industry had the highest median time lost with 7.8 working weeks off and the highest median compensation paid with $20 800.

The median time lost for serious claims that arose from mental disorders was 13.8 working weeks was the highest and was more than double the median time lost for all serious claims which was 5.4 working weeks. The median compensation paid for serious claims that arose from mental disorders was $21 100 was the highest and was more than double the median compensation paid for all serious claims of $8 900. This figures are alarming and reinforce the need to create a supportive workplace where issues like Workplace Bullying don’t contribute to any mental disorders.

Want more?

The full report can be viewed to see a more in depth breakdown of all covered topics, as well as data surrounding the rise of claims involving ladders, and data on claims made by white and blue collar employees.

If some of the statistics seen in this short blog post or in the full report surprise you and you see potential the improving the time efficiency and cost effectiveness in how you approach your Work Health and Safety training then have a look at the RMTO course list or download our Course Catalogue.

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