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Fatalities lower but older workers more vulnerable

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Work-related fatalities have shown a steady decline after peaking in 2007, reducing by almost a third, according to a report by Safework Australia. From 310 in 2007, the number of work-related deaths decreased to 182 in 2016. The incidence rate, or number of fatalities per 100,000 workers, has declined even more rapidly, almost halving (49%) from the 2007 figures.

Of the 182 fatalities in 2016, men account for 168 (or 92%), making them the most vulnerable; the fatality rate for men was 2.6/100,000 workers against only 0.3 for women.

A look at the state-wise distribution of fatalities indicates that Northern Territory was the most dangerous place to work with a fatality rate of 3.8/100,000 workers in 2016, while ACT was the safest with a rate of only 0.5.

Older people continue to be vulnerable at work with workers aged 65 years and over having a fatality rate of 5.3/100,000 workers followed by those in the 55-64 category where the rate has halved to 2.6. However, this was almost twice the rates observed in the three youngest age categories, which ranged from 0.8 to 1.2.

Source: Safework Australia Key Work Health & Safety Statistics 2017

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