Australian Statistics – Part 3 – Injury data comparison

Safe Work Australia was released four statistical reports into worker health in Australia. These are important and useful reports that will assist many companies and safety professionals to better address workplace hazards.

Pages from ComparisonwithNDSThis report is a comparison of two data sets in the hope that the report provides a more accurate picture of workplace injury rates than just that based on workers’ compensation claims.

NDS =National Data Set for Compensation based Statistics

WRIS = Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Work-Related Injuries

A detailed explanation of the sources and purposes of these data sets is in the full report.

Comparison of compensation data with all incurred work-related injuries

Comparison of the WRIS with published data on serious claims from the NDS indicates that the NDS represents only one in five work-related injuries occurring each year. In addition, this analysis has shown that the NDS collected information on only 63% of the injuries that involved a week or more off work in 2005–06. The analysis in this report, however, shows that the NDS still provides useful information on the characteristics of work-related injuries

To enable a more robust comparison, the two datasets were scoped to only include injuries with similar periods of time lost (one working week for the NDS and five or more days for the WRIS). The following points were observed

  • The NDS incidence rate for male employees was 80% of the WRIS rate but for female employees the NDS incidence rate was only 60% of the WRIS rate. This indicates that in 2005–06 female workers were less likely to claim workers’ compensation than male workers
  • While the two datasets produced similar incidence rates for age groups involving workers over 25 years of age, the NDS recorded only half the incidence rate of the WRIS for workers aged less than 25 years. This indicates that in 2005–06 young people were less likely to claim workers’ compensation than older workers
  • Both datasets indicated that the highest incidence rates in 2005–06 were recorded by the Agriculture, forestry and fishing, Manufacturing, Construction, Transport and storage and Mining industries. However, comparison of the two datasets indicates that the NDS underestimated incidence rates in the Retail trade, Health and community services, Education and Government administration and defence industries

These industries had high proportions of employees who were eligible for workers’ compensation and hence the data indicates that employees in these industries were less likely to claim workers’ compensation than those in other industries

  • Both datasets indicated the highest incidence rates by occupation groups were recorded by Labourers and related workers, Intermediate production and transport workers and Tradespersons and related workers. However, the data show that the NDS underestimates incidence rates for Managers and administrators
  • The way in which injuries occurred was similar between the two datasets, with 42% of injuries due to lifting, pushing and pulling objects
  • The two datasets agreed that the main type of injury was Sprains and strains. However, the analysis showed that the NDS only captured one in three injuries involving Stress or other mental condition and one in two injuries involving Fractures, Cut/open wound or Chronic joint or muscle condition
Categories government, OHS, research, statistics, Uncategorized, workers compensationTags , , ,

2 thoughts on “Australian Statistics – Part 3 – Injury data comparison”

  1. Cheers for this Kevin. Always handy to check these for trying to keep up to date. But there is that curious thing with national injury stats and related stuff taking so long to be released. I don\’t recall any set of national stats being any younger than 2 years old.

    Working from 2 year old incident data wouldn\’t be something acceptable from a large company. It really shouldn\’t be acceptable for the regulators either.

    Roger, there are a lot of numbers to pull together, but 2 years just seems to be a long time between updates on the big picture of OH&S – statistically speaking.

    1. Col

      I agree that the time lag does make the statistics of more historical interest than practical application. In this context trend data may be more useful if we assume that trends will continue however lots of other data took a dive because of the 2008/09 global recession, and perhaps OHS injury data will.

      Certainly the fall in employees in specific industries will skew the data just as the growth in employee industries in the boom times has.

      This should make us doubly cautious when looking at workplace injury statistics.

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