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What is Australia’s most dangerous job?

The figures are in: Agriculture, forestry and fishing are once again the most dangerous industries in Australia.

Last updated:

According to Safe Work's Key Work Health and Safety Statistics Australia 2017, the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry averaged 16.5 fatalities per 1,000,000 workers in 2017, with transport, warehousing and storage industry, with a rate of 8.5

We mashed the stats for both fatalities and injuries (relative to the amount of employees in the industry) to create a Risk Score for each industry.

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  • Safe Work Australia: Work-related injury fatalities - Key WHS statistics Australia 2018
  • Safe Work Australia: Work-related injury and disease - Key WHS statistics Australia 2018

Year on year breakdown

Risk ranking (Industry)finder risk score+/- from 2016Fatalities per 100,000 employees+/- from 2016Serious injury claims per 1,000 employees+/- from 2016
1. Agriculture, forestry and fishing35.2+3.716.5+2.517.5-1.2
2. Transport, postal and warehousing23.6+1.78.6+1.114.4-0.6
3. Construction18.7-0.62.7-0.616Same
4. Manufacturing15.8-0.40.7Same15.5+0.4
5. Wholesale trade14.0+1.71.6+1.68.2-0.1
6. Arts and recreational services13.7+1.83.5+1.312.3-0.5
7. Health care and social assistance11.3+0.40.2-0.19.2-0.4
8. Mining10.7-1.201.4- 1.39.7-0.1
9. Electricity, gas, water & waste services10.7-3.301.5+4.310.7-1
10. Administrative & support services10.5-0.50.5-1.39.2-0.8
Risk ranking (Industry)finder risk scoreFatalities per 100,000 employeesSerious injury claims per 1,000 employees
1. Agriculture, forestry and fishing31.51417.5
2. Transport, postal and warehousing21.97.514.4
3. Construction19.33.316
4. Manufacturing16.20.715.5
5. Electricity, gas, water and waste services145.88.2
6. Wholesale trade12.3012.3
7. Mining11.92.79.2
8. Arts and recreation services11.92.29.7
9. Health care and social assistance110.310.7
10. Administrative and support services111.89.2
Risk ranking (Industry)finder risk scoreNumber of fatalities in 2015Number of serious injuries in 2015Number of workers 2015
1. Agriculture, forestry & fishing42.10523,410318,000
2. Transport, postal & warehousing23.60408,820604,000
3. Construction22.703312,5751,032,000
4. Manufacturing19.001313,725913,000
5. Wholesale trade14.7034,630389,000
6. Mining14.10102,105226,000
7. Health care & social assistance12.80217,5651,432,000
8. Public administration & safety12.2068,270729,000
9. Electricity, gas, water & waste services11.7041,175142,000
10. Administrative & support services11.6073,785391,000
Risk ranking (Industry)finder risk scoreNumber of fatalities in 2014Number of serious injuries in 14Number of workers 2014
1. Agriculture, forestry & fishing30.65433,365313,000
2. Transport, warehousing & storage25.11469,425590,000
3. Construction17.683111,5351,026,000
4. Manufacturing16.621512,930930,000
5. Mining14.39102,670269,000
6. Arts & recreation services13.95101,865202,000
7. Wholesale trade13.1564,380393,000
8. Health & Community Services12.64217,4151,394,000
9. Public administration & safety12.5268,775750,000
10. Administrative & support services11.5544,525386,000

Data last confirmed as accurate October 2017. It's a good idea to check the SafeWork Australia website for the most up to date figures.

Where's 2017?

  • The most recent statistics updated by Safework Australia (in its 2017 reports) are for the previous year 2016. As figures for 2017 are made publicly available, we will update this guide.

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Top 10 most dangerous industries in Australia


1. Agriculture, forestry and fishing

Last year's ranking: 1

The agriculture, forestry and fishing industry has routinely been at the top of the most dangerous jobs list, with 470 workplace fatalities being recorded between 2007-2017.

The industry also had an abundance of workers' compensation claims lodged from 2016-17, with over 3,620 in total.


2. Transport, postal and warehousing

Last year's ranking: 2

The transport, postal and warehousing industry accounted for 54 fatalities (8.6 per 100,000 employees) and 8,330 serious injury claims (18.7 per 1,000 employees) in 2017.


3. Construction

Last year's ranking: 3

Construction accounted for 12.5% of all workplace compensation claims in 2017 with 13,280 claims made.

'Constructions services' were responsible for 30 total deaths in 2017. This includes jobs such as earthmoving, plumbing, carpentry, bricklaying and concreting.


4. Manufacturing

Last year's ranking : 4

In 2017, 6 people lost their lives while working in the manufacturing industry. Manufacturing was also the second most common industry for workers' compensation claims, with 12,860 claims lodged in 2017.


5. Wholesale trade

Last year's ranking: 6

In 2017, the wholesale trade industry saw increase in the total number of fatalities from 0 (2016) to 6. The total number of serious injuries also increased from 4,415 to 4,500


6. Arts and recreation services

Last year's ranking: 8

In 2017, the arts and recreation sector had 2,190 workers compensation claims and 8 deaths.


7. Health and community services

Last year's ranking: 9

The health and community services sector once again had the highest number of worker compensation claims in 2016-2017, with 17,190 claims being lodged. The reason this industry doesn't rank higher is because of the serious claims per 1,000 employees being way less than the above industries (11.1).


8. Mining

Whole sale trading

Last year's ranking: 7

The mining industry experienced 3 deaths in Australia in 2017 (down from 6 in 2016).

The industry also had 2,030 workers compensation claims in 2017 (down from 2,060 in the previous year).

shutterstock lightbulb electricity 738x410

9. Electricity, gas, water and waste services

Last year's ranking: 5

The electricity, gas, water and waste sector saw a decrease in deaths in 2017 with from 8 (the previous year) to 2.


10. Administrative and support services

Last year's ranking: 10

The administrative and support services industry remained in 10th place in 2017. There were 2 fatalities, down from 8 the previous year.

Infographic: Workplace accidents, injuries and diseases

Workplace fatalities are on the decline

As referenced by

Leah-Anne Thompson /

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