Height Safety

Injury Statistics

Information about the number of injuries and deaths caused as a consequence of slips, trips and falls from height are collated by the SafeWork Australia office in Canberra, and published annually. There is a significant history of these records available, with around 15 years of data presently available for public access. This section shows extracts from this data relevant to the WAHA members and interested parties in work at height matters.

SafeWork does not however provide many specific pieces of information about the occurrences – us much to protect the privacy of individuals. These statistics are however a powerful reminder of the risks of working at height, as well as a source of information about trends over time.

There are two important information sources of relevance:

(1) Australian Workers Compensation Statistics – a summary of the nature of claims, including the number, value, time and other impacts of slips, trips and falls in the workplace;

(2) Work Related Traumatic Injury Fatalities Report – a summary of the volume and nature of causes relating to the deaths of workers occurring in the workplace.

* Both reports are publicly available from the SafeWork Australia website however are linked here for the convenience of users of this site

Both reports contain a lot of information that is not relevant directly to fall injuries, however the important point is that falls have consistently been the second or third highest cause of fatality in the workforce.

Fatalities

Fatalities remain high as a consequence of falls, despite a lot of effort from a number of regulators to see a reduction in this cause of death. The numbers of total deaths have  consistent exceeded 20 people per year for the last 15 years.

The result for 2016 is as follows:

A more detailed breakdown of the impact by the three industries most severely impacted by falls is shown below:

Falls in Agriculture

Source: SafeWork Australia – Work related traumatic injury fatalities report, 2015-16


Falls in Road Transport

Source: SafeWork Australia – Work related traumatic injury fatalities report, 2015-16


Falls in Construction

Source: SafeWork Australia – Work related traumatic injury fatalities report, 2015-16


Total Fatalities – Falls remain consistently at number 2

Source: SafeWork Australia – Work related traumatic injury fatalities report, 2015-16


Total Fatalities by Age

Falls affect those most significantly in the older age strata, with those aged 45 and over at the greatest risk of dying in a fall from height.

Source: SafeWork Australia – Work related traumatic injury fatalities report, 2015-16


Fatalities by Agency

Falls from Roofs and Ladders remain a significant concern – especially as there are multitude of solutions to prevent these types of fatalities occurring.

Source: SafeWork Australia – Work related traumatic injury fatalities report, 2015-16

Injuries

With respect to reported workers compensation injuries, included in the statistics for slips, trips and falls are things such as falls from beds and other areas where height precautions may not normally be considered to be needed to be taken. Nonetheless, the outcomes for those suffering injuries with regard to falls is significant, interns of the average time off work, the cost, the recovery time and the severity of the injury sustained.

Below is shown some of the charts detailing important information about the outcomes of falls in the workplace.

Number of Claims from Falls

23% of all claims related to slips, trips and falls

Source: SafeWork Australia – Australian Worker’s Compensation Statistics, 2015-16


Median Time Lost (in number of weeks)

Falls from a height represented an average of 7.4 weeks of recovery time before being able to return to work

Source: SafeWork Australia – Australian Worker’s Compensation Statistics, 2015-16


Number of Serious Claims

There are still almost 7,000 claims per annum related to falls from height

Source: SafeWork Australia – Australian Worker’s Compensation Statistics, 2015-16


Median Time Lost (in number of weeks)

Claims from falls appear to affect the knees, ankles and back in terms of injuries.

Source: SafeWork Australia – Australian Worker’s Compensation Statistics, 2015-16


Compensation Paid

Claims from falls from a height average over $14,000 per claim, the second highest of all  claims, behind mental stress.

Source: SafeWork Australia – Australian Worker’s Compensation Statistics, 2015-16