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10 Surprising Construction Injury Statistics in Australia: 2024 Update

workers in construction site

 Note: This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.

Construction is constantly taking place in Australia, whether on a large or small scale. A construction site’s environment involves large machinery, equipment, and large groups of skilled workers. While construction companies do their best to follow safety procedures, injuries and fatalities are unavoidable and occur regularly.

In this article, we will look at the key statistics for injuries and fatalities in the Australian construction industry.

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Top 10 Surprising Construction Injury Statistics in Australia (Updated in 2024)

  1. The construction industry in Australia is the third most dangerous in the world.
  2. Lack of safety training and mental health initiatives is why the construction industry faces safety issues.
  3. The construction industry has had the fourth-highest number of workers’ compensation claims and accounts for 16,088 serious claims.
  4. Body stress is the reason for the highest number of workplace claims, making up 37%.
  5. Traumatic joint, ligament, muscle, and tendon injuries have the highest number of claims by the nature of the injury, making up 40%.
  6. Laborers have the highest serious claims frequency.
  7. Mental Health claims account for 9% of all claims.
  8. Between 10th November 2021 and 10th November 2022, 15 construction workers were killed.
  9. The highest number of fatalities in the construction industry are caused by falling from heights, which accounts for 30%.
  10. 22% of 45–55-year-olds fall victim to safety issues.
AUSTRALIA_CONSTRUCTION_INJURY_FACTS_&_STATISTICS
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Construction Industry

1. The construction industry is the third most dangerous in the world.

(SWA)

The construction industry in Australia is the third most dangerous in the world, has about twice the fatality rate, and takes fifth place for causing severe injuries.

female construction workers
Image Credit: Pixabay

2. Lack of safety training and mental health initiatives is why the construction industry faces safety issues.

(Procore)

While individual worker behavior is usually applied to work health and safety issues, less than half of the businesses surveyed regularly conduct safety training, according to a survey of 161 construction leaders across Australia.

Meanwhile, when the construction industry is under increased stress and pressure, only 36% of local construction businesses have a mental health strategy in place. More than a quarter of respondents said budget and time constraints are more important in construction than well-being and safety.

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Compensation Claims Statistics

3. The construction industry has had the fourth highest number of serious workers’ compensation claims and accounts for 16,088 serious claims.

(SWA)

A serious claim is an accepted workers’ compensation claim that requires one or more weeks off work and excludes all fatalities and injuries sustained while traveling to or from work or while on a break away from work.

construction worker with a bucket in his hands loads a concrete mixer
Image Credit: Kuchina, Shutterstock

4. Body stress is the reason for the highest number of workplace claims, making up 37%.

(SWA)

Body stressing is due to the repetition of strenuous work over time and can include strains, sprains, and back and neck injuries. The number of serious claims for body stress is the highest, followed by falls, trips and slips, and being hit by a moving object.


5. Traumatic joint, ligament, muscle, and tendon injuries have the highest number of claims by nature of the injury, making up 40%.

(SWA)

The highest number of claims due to the nature of the injury is caused by traumatic injury to the joint, ligament, muscle, or tendon. The second highest is musculoskeletal and connective tissue disease, which makes up 16%, and wounds, lacerations, amputations, and internal organ damage make up 15%.

accident at construction site
Image Credit: Sorn340 Studio Images, Shutterstock

6. Laborers have the highest serious claims frequency.

(Worksafe)

Most employees on construction projects are laborers, so it’s no surprise they make claims more frequently than in other construction positions. Laborers had the highest frequency of serious claims, at 18.1 per million hours worked.

The national average for serious claims per million hours worked was 6.1. Laborers also had the highest frequency of serious claims for injury and musculoskeletal disorders, which was 16.6 claims per million hours worked.


7. Mental Health claims account for 9% of all claims.

(SWA)

One of the most expensive types of workplace injury is mental illness. When compared to physical injuries and diseases, data shows that they result in considerably more time off work and higher compensation paid. Mental health issues make up a small but growing percentage of serious claims.

In 2020-21, the most common cause of mental health conditions was anxiety or stress disorders making up 36%, followed by reaction to stressors or others not specified, accounting for 34%. In recent years, the average time lost in working weeks for mental health conditions has risen dramatically.

The average time lost for mental health conditions was 30.7 working weeks per serious claim, compared to 6.2 working weeks for physical injuries and diseases per serious claim.

construction workers on site
Image Credit: bridgesward, Pixabay

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8. Between 10th November 2021 and 10th November 2022, 15 construction workers were killed.

(SWA)

134 Australians have been killed in the workplace this year, and 15 of those were construction workers. On a positive note, Australia’s fatality rate has decreased by 57% from its peak in 2007.


9. The highest number of fatalities in the construction industry are caused by falling from heights, which accounts for 30%

(Iseekplant)

Falls from height are the leading cause of death on Australian construction sites, with most people seriously injured or killed falling from a height of 4 meters or less. Falling from heights accounts for 30% of all deaths, followed by falling objects making up 15% and vehicle incidents making up 15%.

cranes in construction site
Image Credit: rhythmuswege, Pixabay

10. 22% of 45–55-year-olds fall victim to safety issues.

(Iseekplant)

22% of 45–54-year-olds and 21% of 25-34-year-olds are the most likely to be victims of safety issues resulting in fatalities. Electricians, bricklayers, carpenters, and mobile plant operators share the risk and rate of fatality and injury associated with this field of work.

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How important is the construction industry in Australia?

The Australian construction industry generates nearly 360 billion dollars in revenue and is expected to grow at a 2.4% annual rate.
(Back to Basics)


Which state in Australia has the most construction?

According to the most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics data, Tasmania is the state with the highest construction work between September 2018 and September 2019.

Tasmania experienced a 5.6 % growth in construction, while all other states experienced a decline. Victoria was also the state with the highest rate of residential construction.
(Infrastructuremagazine)

protective gloves used for construction
Image Credit: chellestein, Pixabay

What do you do if you are injured in a construction accident at work?

The risk of injury on a construction site is significantly greater than in other industries, and there are steps to be taken to ensure that you are properly cared for and compensated as a worker who is injured.

  • Your first priority is seeking medical attention, even if your injuries are minor. This will also help down the road if a lawsuit is necessary or if you need to file a claim.
  • You will need to notify your employer as soon as possible and put the report in writing with as much detail as possible.
  • Gather as much information as you can. Speak to witnesses, take photographs of the scene, and keep all your medical records.
  • Consult with an attorney to help determine the way forward.

(Enjuris)


What is a source of a hazard?

While there are many hazards in the workplace, the most likely sources are the workplace environment which will include walking surfaces, high temperatures, obstructions, and uneven terrain.

Another source of workplace hazards is equipment that is not maintained. Also, workers who are tired, ill, or rushed can be a hazard in the workplace.
(JS easy)

construction site
Image Credit: ThomasWolter, Pixabay

How can safety be improved on construction sites?

To prevent injuries and fatalities, all levels of government (local, state, and federal) must collaborate with construction companies and employees. Safe Work Australia is a government legislative agency that makes governmental workplace health and safety policies. By reading the regulations and protocols, construction employers can become acquainted with their WHS responsibilities.

It is critical that training is available to all employees, so translations for those who do not speak English fluently are required. New recruits, as well as workers who perform dangerous tasks such as working from heights, require safety training. This is one of the most efficient methods of avoiding injuries and accidents.

If offenses like the failure to train the staff and a lack of safe working systems are present in the workplace, there should be penalties and prosecution.
(TPM Builders)

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The construction industry in Australia is one of the most dangerous industries, accounting for the most serious injury claims and fatalities. Construction sites are at high risk when it comes to injuries due to the amount of machinery, workers, and, unfortunately, a lack of safety training and protocols. There needs to be higher penalties for lack of training and failing to provide a safe working environment, as well as more serious consequences to construction company owners who don’t follow regulations.

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Featured Image Credit: 652234, Pixabay

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