Trend: Increase in serious work injuries

Wednesday 31 Oct 2018

Work-related serious non-fatal injury rates rose in 2017 after four years of declining rates, according to a report just released by Statistics New Zealand.

The rate was up from 14.3 injuries per 100,000 full-time employees (FTEs) in 2016 to 16.9 in 2017, higher than the government’s 2020 target (14.3 injuries per 100,000 FTEs).

“This increase was largely driven by a rise in serious non-fatal injuries in the construction sector, which had the highest number of injuries in the history of this release,” government injury information manager James Clarke said.

The manufacturing, and transport, postal, and warehousing sectors also significantly contributed to the increase.

“Serious non-fatal injuries are those in which a patient admitted to hospital is determined to have a probability of death of 6.9 percent or more. Information about these injuries provides insight into injury risks for New Zealanders, and a broader view than just looking at fatalities,” Mr Clarke said.

In 2012, the previous Government set a target to reduce work-related deaths and injuries by at least 25 percent by 2020, with an interim target of a 10 percent reduction by 2016.

Progress is measured against baselines using these indicators:
• age-standardised rate of work-related fatal injuries
• age-standardised rate of work-related serious non-fatal injuries
• rate of work-related injuries resulting in more than a week away from work.

Fatalities are reported as a three-year moving average. Provisional data showed that for 2015–17, the average annual rate of work-related fatal injuries remained at 2.1 fatalities per 100,000 FTEs.

The latest data showed that the rate has been below the Government’s 2018–20 target of 2.5 injuries per 100,000 FTEs since 2012–14.

Time away from work - There has been little change since 2014 in the rate of work-related injuries that resulted in more than a week away from work. This rate has been above the baseline (8.4 injuries per 1,000 FTEs) since 2014.

Statistics New Zealand acknowledges the contribution of the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment and WorkSafe New Zealand in developing the targets in this release.

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