The aim of this report is to provide statistics about people who die each year from injuries that arose through work-related activity. This includes fatalities resulting from an injury sustained in the course of a work activity (worker fatalities) and as a result of someone else’s work activity (bystander fatalities). Earlier reports have included fatalities that occurred while the worker was commuting to or from work (commuter fatalities), however, these fatalities have always been difficult to distinguish from other road fatalities and this report relies heavily on workers’ compensation data. As fewer jurisdictions are now providing compensation coverage for commuting, the integrity of the commuter fatality collection has diminished and has therefore been ceased. Injury is defined as a condition coded to ‘External causes of morbidity and mortality’ and ‘Injury, poisoning and certain other consequences of external causes’ in the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision, Australian Modification (ICD-10-AM).

The scope of this collection includes all persons:

  • who were fatally injured, and
  • whose injuries resulted from work activity or exposures, and
  • whose injuries occurred in an incident that took place in Australian territories or territorial waters.

The report includes all persons who died:

  • while working including unpaid volunteers and family workers, persons undertaking work experience and defence force personnel killed within Australian territories or territorial waters or travelling for work (worker fatalities), or
  • as a result of someone else’s work activity (bystander fatalities).

The collection specifically excludes those who died:

  • of iatrogenic injuries — those where the worker died due to medical intervention
  • due to natural causes such as heart attacks and strokes, except where a work-related injury was the direct cause of the heart attack or stroke
  • as a result of diseases, such as cancers, and
  • by self-inflicted injuries (suicide).