Truckies, posties and warehouse workers top the list of Australia’s most dangerous jobs
- Transport and storage industry recorded highest number of deaths out of all industries
- Health and community services workers were injured more than any other industry
- Some jobs more dangerous than expected: workers urged to take care and prepare for the worst
October 20, 2014, SYDNEY – The transport and storage industry has topped this year's list of Australia's Top Ten Most Dangerous Jobs, released by one of Australia's biggest comparison websites lifeinsurancefinder.com.au, part of the finder.com.au network.
Trucking, postal and warehousing made the number one spot for the most dangerous jobs in Australia, following the highest number of fatalities than any other industry.
There were 65 transport and storage workers who were killed while on the job in one year, which was almost one-third (29 percent) of all workplace fatalities. There were also 8,450 serious injury compensation claims by workers in this industry in 2012, according to the latest research compiled by lifeinsurancefinder.com.au.
The agriculture, forestry and fishing was the second most dangerous industry with 53 fatalities and 3,815 serious injury claims, while construction workers hold the third most dangerous job, killing 30 Australians and wounding 12,485 for the year.
The most common cause of death was vehicle crashes, with an average of one in three (33 percent) fatalities on the roads across the list of industries.
Michelle Hutchison, Money Expert at finder.com.au, said that the list showed that some jobs were more dangerous than expected, and workers should plan for the worst, no matter their profession.
“Many Australian workers have to drive vehicles or lift things as part of their job, and they may not realise how dangerous their work can be. The most common serious claim for all industries was muscular stress while lifting, carrying or putting down objects, and the most common fatality was vehicle incidents.
“If you work in any of these industries on the list, you are even more likely to be killed or suffer a serious injury while on the job so you need to take extreme caution while at work and have a worst-case scenario plan in place.”
Other dangerous jobs that made the list were retail trade; and the professional, scientific and technical services such as engineering, analysts, lawyers, accountants and web development.
“You may not think that a sales assistant has a dangerous job, but when we found that there were 11,206 serious injuries including six fatalities in the one year, it’s not surprising that it made the list.
“Whether you’re behind a desk all day or on the road, you can’t always avoid danger while working. It’s important to plan for the unexpected by keeping an emergency fund of savings or comparing life insurance and income protection policies. It can make a big difference to your quality of life or your family’s if something were to happen to you while you’re at work,” said Mrs Hutchison.
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Australia’s Top Ten Most Dangerous Jobs
Transport and Storage: Truck drivers and those working in transport, postal and warehousing are the most dangerous jobs, with the highest number of fatalities for the year of 65 deaths. Unsurprisingly, this industry saw the highest number of vehicle crashes as they are likely to spend more time on the road than any other industry. The majority of fatalities (68 percent) were crashes. Their biggest cause of serious injury was from muscle stress while lifting, carrying or putting down objects.
Agriculture, forestry and fishing: Commercial fishing is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, given the tough working conditions experienced out at sea. So it’s no surprise that this industry came in at second place on the list, with 3,815 serious injuries and 53 deaths for the year. They are more likely to die from being hit by an animal, drowning and heat exposure than any other industry on the list.
Construction: Those who build our roads, homes and office buildings put their lives on the line every day, with the third-most dangerous job. There were 30 deaths for the year and 12,485 serious injuries. Construction workers were also more likely than any other industry to be killed by hitting stationary objects and their most common cause of death was falling from a height (40 percent of fatalities).
Manufacturing: Factory workers hold the fourth-most dangerous job in Australia, with 18 deaths and 16,670 serious injuries for the year – the highest number of serious injuries on this list. Their biggest causes of death were car crashes, being hit by falling objects and falls from a height. Over one-quarter (26 percent) of serious injuries were caused by muscle stress from handling heavy objects.
Public/government administration, safety, and defence: Keeping our streets and nation safe took 13 lives for the year, and injured 4,330 Australians working in public and government administration, safety and defence. This industry holds the second-highest number of Australians employed on the list, with about 1.1 million people. Falls and muscle stress were the most common serious injuries sustained for the year, while about half of the 13 fatalities happened on the road.
Mining: With 2,670 serious injuries and seven deaths, mining hits the list at number six. The majority (63 percent) of deaths were from being hit by moving objects, and it’s more common for miners to die from this as well as being trapped by machinery, with many workers operating heavy machinery and transferring earth for 12 hours per shift.
- Retail trade: Working in retail can be a fatal career move, with six deaths recorded for the year – almost the same number of deaths as the mining industry, which saw seven people fatally injured on the job. The retail industry employs the most people than any other industry on this list, with 1.22 million workers in 2012. Driving, explosions, contact with chemicals and bring trapped between stationary and moving objects were the most common causes of death for retail workers. And 11,200 serious injuries were most commonly caused by lifting heavy objects.
Professional, scientific and technical services: Some of the brightest minds in Australia are most at risk in their job, with scientists, engineers, lawyers, accountants and others working in this industry saw six recorded deaths and 2,100 serious injuries for the year. Falls, muscle strain and repetitive movements were the biggest causes of serious injuries. The majority of fatalities were from car crashes, falling, being hit by falling objects and electrocution.
Wholesale trade: Who knew working in fashion and exporting goods could be so dangerous? According to the research, there were 5,315 cases of serious injury including five deaths for the year. Lifting objects is the biggest back breaker for these workers, causing the most serious injuries in this industry. Being hit by falling objects and driving were the biggest killers for workers in this industry.
Electricity, gas, water and waste services: Driving to and from job sites proved fatal for five workers in the electrical, gas, water and waste industry. There were 530 serious injuries recorded, over one in three (35 percent) of which were from muscle strain, while 15 percent of injuries were from falling over. Working in often confined or high spaces and outdoors, these people are more likely to be killed by animal bites and trapped between object than any other industry on the list.
lifeinsurancefinder.com.au's list of Australia's Most Dangerous Jobs
||No. of Deaths
||No. of serious injuries
||No. of Australians working in each industry
||Proportion of workers injured
|1. Transport, postal and warehousing
|2. Agriculture, forestry and fishing
|Public/government administration, safety, and defence
|7. Retail trade
|8. Professional, scientific and technical services
|9. Wholesale trade
|10. Electricity, gas, water and waste services
source: lifeinsurancefinder.com.au, Safe Work Australia, Australian Bureau of Statistics, population rounded to the nearest 100,000, table is ranked by highest number of fatalities for each industry
lifeinsurancefinder.com.au compiled the list from Safe Work Australia’s 2012 work-related fatalities statistics. The list was ranked by highest number of fatalities for each industry.
- The number of serious injury compensation claims 2012 was analysed for each industry on the list. This is the most recent data available.
- Administrative and supportive services, and public administration and safety were combined for fatalities to reflect the same industry category captured for serious injury claims
- The total number of Australians working in each industry was sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics Labour Force (2012, original)
- Causes of injuries for each industry was sourced from Safe Work Australia National Data Set for Compensation-based Statistics 2012, and Traumatic Injury Fatalities Database 2012
Definitions (source: SafeWork Australia):
- A serious claim is a workers’ compensation claim for an incapacity that results in a total absence from work of one working week or more. Claims arising from a work-related fatality or a journey to or from work or during a recess period are excluded
- Fatalities due to work-related injuries excludes deaths attributable to disease and other natural causes. Among conditions specifically included as injuries are those arising from poisonous plants and animals, environmental conditions (e.g. frostbite), allergic reactions, and embolisms. Heart attacks and strokes are regarded as natural causes of death, but where available information shows that a work-related injury directly triggers a fatal heart attack or stroke, the fatality is included.
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