Which Occupation Is Australia’s Most Deadly?

Which Occupation Is Australia’s Most Deadly?

“Kill me now,” is an oft-repeated phrase in stressful workplaces — but which occupation is actually the most likely to cause fatal injury? Here’s a list of the most deadly industries in Australia between 2012 and 2013. If your job is near the top, it might be time for a career change…

Dirty morgue feet picture from Shutterstock

A new study by Worksafe WA has discovered that between 2008 and 2013, one Western Australia worker has died every 21 days on average. Naturally, this is partly due to the large number of mining and agriculture jobs in the region, although when it comes to workplace fatalities, neither of these occupations are the top killers in Australia. That “honour” falls on the Transport, postal and warehousing industry, which has recorded nearly 100 deaths since January 2012.

Below is a Safe Work Australia table of worker fatalities in 2013 to date, divided into industry of workplace. The total currently stands at 97.

Year-to-date worker deaths by industry of workplace (2012 + 2013):

As you can see, despite its reputation, mining only appears halfway down the list (below public administration & safety, ironically).

Other occupations that are curiously high-ranked this year include arts & recreation (six deaths) and retail (four deaths). Of course, it’s worth noting that the results do not factor in the number of employees in each industry sector which obviously has an effect on probability.

What’s the worst workplace injury you’ve ever suffered? Let us know in the comments section below.


  • Does this include police? And military? The reason I ask is we are often told that these people are putting their lives on the line for ‘Stralia so we should respect them. About construction workers: not so much.

  • This is not the best representation of risk as it’s the number of fatalities per employment sector, not per capita – There should be a listing of how many people are in that particular sector – which could give a better idea of the risk. i.e. a sector may have had two fatalities – however – if there is only 10 people employed that’s a huge amount (and probably a statistical anomaly) – while a larger number for a sector that has a much larger number of people in it – would mean a lower risk.

  • Not at all surprised about the arts ranking highly – I don’t know how common acting accidents are in general but I follow the career of my favourite singer/actress closely and the number of accidents/mishaps she has had over the years is fairly scary – from tripping on holes in stages, to neck injuries, and lighting equipment falling on her head. 🙁 Those sorts of careers are extremely physical and it seems to cause a lot of injuries.

  • Does this refer to on the job deaths or people were were in those jobs that died?
    There is a big difference between the two. Personally, I would have thought that dentists, psychologists/doctors would be up the top.

  • Typical Government Driven Statistics which arnt accounting for the fact there are more deaths in industry which we have more employers working in.

  • What about average lifespan from occupations?

    While I don’t think many IT workers die from being crushed by a mainframe or electrocution
    I’m sure being stuck indoors under fluorescent tubes and cursing a storm over technology and people not working the way they’re supposed to would lop off years or decades from your life.

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