National cohesion underpins Safe Work Australia's updated, evidence-based Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2023-2033. The plan, which has been agreed by all state and territory governments, provides a framework for improving work health and safety over the next 10 years across the country as a referral point for action plans at a local level.

The strategy builds on progress made under the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2022 which has achieved significantly reduced injury and fatality rates over the past decade. The updated strategy was developed in collaboration with 150+ representatives of federal and state governments, employers and workers.

The overarching goal of the strategy is to reduce worker fatalities, injuries and illnesses. It outlines targets to measure progress over the next decade, including a reduction in worker fatalities caused by traumatic injuries by 30%.

What data shows us about workplace injuries and sickness

The latest Work Safe Australia data shows that body-stressing, falls, slips and trips, and being hit by moving objects are the cause of most workplace injuries. Vehicle incidents, being hit by moving objects and falls from a height account for the most fatalities.

Mental health conditions account for a relatively small but increasing proportion of serious claims, rising from 6% of all serious claims in 2014-15 to 9% in 2020-21.

Which industries have the highest workers compensation claims?

According to the Work Safe Australia data, 70% of fatalities and 61% of serious workers compensation claims occur in six industries:

  1. agriculture
  2. construction
  3. transport
  4. manufacturing
  5. healthcare and social assistance
  6. public administration and safety.

What are the most common causes of workplace incidents?

The most common causes of workplace injury are

  • vehicle incidents
  • falls, slips and trips
  • being hit by moving objects
  • body stressing.

The most common causes of workplace psychological injuries are

  • work pressure
  • harassment and bullying
  • occupational violence
  • other mental stress factors.

The most common work-related illnesses are

  • respiratory diseases
  • zoonotic diseases (transmitted from animals to humans)
  • mental health
  • cancer.

New strategy encompasses emerging workplace health and safety risks

The new strategy has been designed to meet ongoing and emerging challenges over the next decade, including managing psychosocial risks, impacts from the rise of artificial intelligence, automation and related technologies, and new types of work including gig and platform work. It also focuses on industries with the highest rates of injuries, illnesses and fatalities, with percentage reduction goals, including work‑related respiratory disease and accelerated silicosis.

Activities include provisions to assist small businesses and collaborating with worker representatives across industry sectors, toolkits, data collection and compliance checks.

Could your business benefit from improved workplace health and safety standards?

Access expertise with Gallagher's Workplace Risk specialists who offer a proven approach to risk management and mitigation which can enable clients to transform their workplaces quickly and effectively. For many of our clients it's one of the reasons they choose Gallagher.

The over-arching Gallagher Workplace Health & Safety offering encompasses everything from incident management and investigation, safety mentoring and training through to health and wellness programs, hazard and risk profiling or highly configurable online safety management systems.

Find out more about meeting your business's workplace safety needs by talking to one of our workplace safety experts.


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