What is Australia’s most dangerous job?

We've crunched the numbers and discovered agriculture, forestry and fishing is the most dangerous industry in Australia.

The figures are in: if you work in agriculture, forestry and fishing industry then you're working in Australia's most dangerous industry. According to Safe Work Australia's Work-related Traumatic Injury Fatalities, Australia 2014, the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry experienced 43 fatalities in 2014, which was second only to the transport, warehousing and storage industry, which lost a total of 46 employees that year. However, the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry is made up of only 313,000 workers, roughly just over half the size of the transport, warehousing and storage industry (513,000 workers).

Close to half (47%) of all deaths were either in the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry, or the transport, postal and warehousing industry.

We took employment figures from Safe Work Australia in the Australian Workers' Compensation Statistics and meshed them with the Work-related Traumatic Injury Fatalities report stats to create a Risk Score for each industry.

Note: If you are looking for income insurance, make sure you understand how the risk of your occupation affects cover.

Industryfinder Risk ScoreNumber of fatalities in 2014Number of serious injuries in 2013-14Number of workers 2014
1. Agriculture, forestry and 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 and recreation services13.95101,865202,000
7. Wholesale trade13.1564,380393,000
8. Health & Community Services12.64217,4151,394,000
9. Public administration and safety12.5268,775750,000
10. Administrative and support services11.5544,525386,000


Methodology: finder.com.au examined the number of serious injury claims and the number of fatalities as a percentage of the working population across all sectors as reported by Safe Work Australia in the Australian Workers' Compensation Statistics 2013-14 (Published Date: May 2016) and Work Related Traumatic Injury and Fatalities Australia 2014 (Published Date: October 2015) reports. Serious injuries are defined as those in which the employee was absent from work for at least a week as a result of the injury. The statistics were weighted at 100:1 for fatalities to injuries, hence the average number of deaths per 1,000 workers and the average number of serious injuries for every 100,000 workers were used to calculate the finder.com.au Risk Score. The scores were then ranked in descending order to find the top 10 most dangerous jobs list.

Top 10 most dangerous industries in Australia


1. Agriculture, forestry and fishing

The agriculture, forestry and fishing industry has routinely been at the top of the most dangerous jobs list, with 686 workplace fatalities being recorded between 2003-2014. The industry also had an abundance of workers' compensation claims lodged from 2013-14, with over 1% of all workers making a claim.


2. Transport, postal and warehousing

While the transport, postal and warehousing industry only represented 9.44% of the people employed by the industries listed in the top 10 most dangerous jobs, it accounted for a whopping 24% of all work-related fatalities. From 2003-2014, 549 transport, postal and warehousing industry employees lost their lives on the job. Interestingly between 2003-2014, two-thirds of all worker fatalities involved a vehicle, with 116 of the 188 fatalities in 2014 being vehicle-related.


3. Construction

Construction accounted for 15% of all workplace fatalities in 2014. Over the last 11 years, 248 people have been killed in construction-related incidents. Construction was also accounted for 11,535 workers' compensation claims lodged in 2014, the third-highest of all industries.


4. Manufacturing

In 2014, 15 people lost their lives while working in the manufacturing industry. Since 2003 the industry has lost 261 workers to workplace incidents. Manufacturing was also the second most common industry for workers' compensation claims, with 12,930 claims lodged in 2014.


5. Mining

The mining industry experienced Queensland and New South Wales saw the highest number of mining related deaths, with 11 and 9 respectively, between 2010 and 2014. The total number of people killed in mining incidents in that period of time was 37, with 10 of those deaths occurring in 2014.


6. Arts and recreation services

Although arts and recreation services was only the ninth most dangerous industry in 2014 in terms of workplace fatalities with a total of 10 deaths, it had the fourth highest number of workers' comp claims.


7. Wholesale trade

Between 2003 and 2014 the wholesale trade industry experienced 93 fatalities and 10 deaths in 2014. Wholesale trade came in seventh in both workplace fatalities and workers' compensation claims.


8. Health and community services

The health and community services had the highest number claims in 2013-2014, with 17,415 claims being lodged. While it accounted for the highest number of claims, the industry only experienced two fatalities in 2014.


9. Public administration and safety

Similarly to the health and community services, the public administration and safety industry had a reasonably high number of serious compensation claims (8,775) between the years 2013-2014 and a relatively low number of workplace fatalities, with six people losing their live. Men made up the bulk of the claims in this industry, making up 66% of all claims(5,755 of total claims).


10. Administrative and support services

The administrative and support services industry rounds out the list with four fatalities in 2014. The industry also had 4,525 serious injury claims.

Workplace fatalities are on the decline

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Richard Laycock

Richard is the senior insurance writer at finder.com.au and is on a mission to make insurance easier to understand.

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