This report covers work-related injury by providing information on two sets of hospitalised cases. The first is hospitalised cases funded by workers’ compensation. The second, which overlaps with the first, is hospitalised injury cases where the injury was reported as having occurred while the patient was working.
Hospitalised cases funded by workers’ compensation
A total of about 617,755 hospitalised cases were funded by workers’ compensation in Australia in the period from 2006–07 to 2013–14. Of these cases, just over 72% were male and 96% were aged 15–64. The number of cases was estimated using data on episodes in hospital. Cases that resulted in more than one episode are likely to have been counted more than once.
Just over 73% of hospitalised cases funded by workers’ compensation were admitted to a private hospital. The overall mean length of stay (MLOS) for these cases was 2.5 days.
Almost 38% of hospitalised cases funded by workers’ compensation had a principal diagnosis indicating a disease of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue while a further 32% had a principal diagnosis of injury, including poisoning.
Over one-quarter (26%) of cases with a principal diagnosis of a musculoskeletal system and connective tissue disease had some form of dorsopathy (spinal disease) while 25% had a disorder of the knee joint. A further one-fifth (18%) had a shoulder lesion.
Almost 15% of cases with a principal diagnosis of injury and poisoning involved a fall-related injury; 12% involved contact with some form of machinery; and 10% involved a transport-related injury. The most common types of injury for these cases were fractures (28%), soft-tissue injuries (22%) and open wounds (16%), while the most common body parts injured were the wrist and hand (36%) and knee and lower leg (14%).
Work-related hospitalised injury
There were a total of 234,104 hospitalised injury cases reported as work-related in Australia in the period from 2006–07 to 2013–14, of which 61% (143,104) were funded by workers’ compensation. However, since there are almost 54,000 workers’ compensation funded injury cases where it was not reported whether the injury occurred while working, this is likely to be an underestimate of the true number of work-related hospitalised injury cases. For the 91,000 cases funded by sources other than workers’ compensation, 78,491 (86%) had a principal diagnosis of injury, while 9,012 (10%) had an additional diagnosis of injury.
For the 78,491 cases with a principal diagnosis of ‘injury’, 85% were male and 93% were aged 15–64. Just over 18% of these cases involved a fall-related injury and 13% involved a transport-related injury. At the time of injury, over 15% of these cases were reported to be working in Agriculture, forestry and fishing sector and over 13% in the Construction industry. For 34% of the cases, the industry sector was unspecified, so these percentages are likely to be underestimates. The most common types of injury among the 78,491 cases were fractures (28%), open wounds (21%) and soft-tissue injuries (16%), while the most common bodily locations injured were wrist and hand (33%), head (12%) and knee and lower leg (11%).