In Australia safety in the workplace is made a high priority for both employees and the businesses they work for, but despite that accidents do happen.
So what are the industries with the highest risk of injury?
1. Transport, postal and warehousing
According to data collected by comparison website Finder.com.au, this category carries the highest risk for in Australia.
In 2012, accidents in this sector accounted for almost a third of all workplace deaths with 65 deaths and 8,450 injuries, which equates to 1.4% of all workers in this category.
Jobs in this category include:
- Delivery drivers
- Forklift drivers
- Train and tram drivers
- Truck drivers
- Bus and coach drivers
Many of these positions involve a significant amount of time on the road, which explains the high rate of incidents.
In total, there are an estimated 32,500 injuries on the road each year.
There is good news for workers in this industry, though.
Last year, it was reported that the death toll on Australia's roads reached a 69 year low (although serious injury was up).
2. Agriculture, forestry and fishing
The agriculture, forestry and fishing industry is currently the second most dangerous in Australia.
This includes a wide range of workers, including:
- Animal attendants and trainers
- Crop farmers
- Deck and fishing hands
- Livestock farmers
The risks to workers in this category are varied.
Accidents can occur due to misuse of tools, incidents with animals, drowning or exposure to chemicals.
It's estimated that 1.3% of workers in this industry will be affected each year.
Despite the daily exposure to hazards, the overall daily risk is still low.
When we think about hazards in the workplace, the construction industry is usually at the top of the list.
So, it doesn't come as a surprise that it's just behind agriculture, forestry and fishing - with 30 deaths in 2012.
The rate of injuries is much higher, though - with 12,485 per year.
As the industry is much larger, this still only represents 1.3% of the workforce.
The workers affected in this category include:
- Bricklayers and stonemasons
- Carpenters and joiners
- Crane operators
- Railway track workers
As most of these positions come with their own unique hazards - health and safety precautions are taken very seriously in these industries and the injury rate has significantly reduced over the past decade.
The manufacturing industry is next.
This is also one of Australia's largest industries, employing 953,700 people - including:
- Chemical engineers
- Clothing trade workers
- Electrical engineers
- Food and drink factory workers
- Metal fitters
- Sewing machinists
- Welding trade workers
Injuries commonly occur due to misuse of machinery, burns, or exposure to harmful chemicals.
5. Public/Government administration, safety, defence
The final industry on the list is the public/government administration, safety and defence industry.
This includes the following workers:
- Aged and disabled carers
- Air transport professionals
- Debt collectors
- Fire and emergency workers
- Paving and surfacing labourers
- Prison officers
- Security guards
The risk varies significantly between jobs in this industry.
Many of the incidents involve the high risk jobs, such as fire and emergency responders.
Despite the high-risk nature of many of these positions, the overall death rate is still very low.
There were 4,330 injuries - which represents just 0.4% of the workplace.
Although injury is still a primary concern, the risk has been kept relatively low - thanks to excellent training programs.
Protecting yourself at work
If you work in a dangerous industry there are insurance options that can protect you if you are inured on the job.
Firstly all industries are covered by Workers’ Compensation that safeguards employees against any medical expenses and/or lost time and salary in appropriate cases.
There are also various insurance policies that you can purchase yourself including: Tradies Insurance, Income Protection Insurance and Life Insurance as well as options available to employers in order to protect their employees.
For example, many employers, especially within the Construction and Transport Industries purchase Personal Accident Insurance for their employees, which is an insurance policy in effect 24 hours per day, 7 days per week – bringing peace of mind.
With the correct insurances in place, and adequate precautions taken – the risk is mitigated.