National OH&S Strategy: Some good news, some not so good

Original Strategy 2002 -2012

National Performance

The results of the National OH&S Strategy over the decade from a 3-year base period to 2011/12 showed the incidence of work related injury fatalities fell 41% against the goal of a 20% reduction.

However, the incidence rate for serious injuries fell by only 26% against a target of 40%. 

Out of a group of eight advanced countries Australia was second worst, but was still considerably ahead of New Zealand. 

Over the three years 2010-2012 New Zealand averaged 3.4 deaths/100,000 employees and Australia 2.0.

Australia is, however, still considerably short of its target of having the lowest fatality rate in the world: Sweden and Switzerland are below 1.5 fatalities.

Priority Industry Group Performance

The industry group performing best against its target of 40% reduction in work related injuries was Construction. 

Despite a 60% increase in the workforce, it was on line to achieve its 40% until the last year of the Strategy when a small up tick meant the final figure was a reduction of 34%.

The mid-range performers were Transport, Postal & Warehousing (-27%) Manufacturing (-28%) and Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing (-32%).

The worst performing industry group over the period of the original strategy was Health & Social Assistance in which the number of employees increased 49%. 

The strategy target was for a 40% reduction in work related injuries over the decade, but the achieved reduction was only 13%. 

The Hospitals sector of this group, far from achieving a reduction in work related injuries, experienced a 9% increase.

New Strategy 2012 -2022

Australia’s new 10-year Strategy extends from 2012 to 2022. The number of priority industry groups has been extended from five to seven, but although it is now halfway through 2016 data on 2013-14 has not been arranged against the target for the new strategy inter alias of a 30% reduction in Incidence Rate. The new priority groups are Accommodation & Food Services and Public Administration & Safety. 

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