The number of serious workers’ compensation claims for injury or illness increased again last year, as they have every year since the Coalition came to power in 2014, according to data released today by SafeWork Australia.

Australian workers’ compensation statistics 2019-20 illustrates that the previous downward trend of serious workplace injury or illness claims prior to 2014 has stagnated under the Coalition and has risen fast since Scott Morrison became PM. This is particularly the case in the sectors of healthcare, construction and manufacturing.

Community and personal service workers – a workforce dominated by women – are the most likely to suffer from a mental health injury. These workers are the ones who look after us but are not being looked after by their employers or the Federal Government.

Workers’ compensation statistics provide a helpful indicator but do not capture the entire picture of injuries and illnesses sustained at work, especially for insecure workers who are less likely to report and time take to recover for fear of compromising their job.

ACTU’s Work Shouldn’t Hurt survey shows that only a quarter (25%) of insecure workers felt that they had adequate support to return to work safely after an injury. Half (50%) of insecure workers did not report workplace sexual harassment for fear of reprisal from employers.

Quotes attributable to ACTU Assistant Secretary Liam O’Brien:

“Health and safety is getting worse under Scott Morrison and the Liberals. After decades of progress at reducing injury and illness we are now seeing more workers seriously injured and killed since the Liberals came to power 8 years ago.

“The ACTU’s 2021 Work Shouldn’t Hurt Survey revealed that 80% of workers who are injured or made ill at work do not even make a workers’ compensation claim, in the case of insecure workers this jumps to 95%. This highlights that the 120,000 workers who made a claim last year is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to measuring health and safety at work.

“Insecure work in this country is a workplace health and safety issue with insecure workers fearful of reporting unsafe conditions or taking time off when they are injured or ill. The Morrison Government has failed to address this problem and it is compromising our efforts to make work healthy and safe.

“Diseases caused by work have risen dramatically since 2014 with mental health and respiratory diseases topping the charts. The Morrison government has failed to implement the recommended regulatory changes that would require employers to protect workers health and safety.

“Every worker has the right to healthy and safe work but these figures show that more people are being injured or made ill from work each year. We need a Federal Government that takes work health and safety seriously.”