Deadliest Scratch – The Most Dangerous Ways to Earn a Living in Australia

In a recent report, Australia’s most dangerous jobs have been laid bare, as 194 lives were tragically lost at work within a single year. The grim statistics show that 96 percent of these fatalities were male, shedding light on the gender disparity in workplace safety.

Most Dangerous Jobs in Australia

The most perilous jobs in the country, according to the report, lie within agriculture, forestry, and fishing, which have consistently ranked at the top of the danger list. The use of hazardous equipment, machinery, and harmful chemicals contribute to a fatality rate of 13.1 per 100,000 workers in 2020, the highest among all sectors.

The transport, postal, and warehousing industry is also categorized as a “hazardous industry,” encompassing truck drivers, postal workers, and warehouse employees. Manual roles involving heavy machinery increase the likelihood of injuries, resulting in 7.8 fatalities per 100,000 workers in the same year.

Construction workers face heightened risks due to working from heights and manual handling. The industry, which includes carpenters, plumbers, and electricians, experienced a lower fatality rate of 3.1 per 100,000 workers in 2020.

Manufacturing workers, both in light and heavy industries such as metal and chemical manufacturing, also confront high risks. Heavy industries, in particular, accounted for 19 fatalities in 2020.

Occupations within the wholesale trade industry, including transportation, material moving, and maintenance, face various risks, such as falls, machinery accidents, and being hit by moving objects. This industry saw two fatalities in 2020.

Surprisingly, the arts and recreation services industry also presents dangers, affecting zoos, parks, sports, and amusement centers. The nature of one’s job significantly influences the risks faced, leading to 2,120 serious claims and 1 death in 2020.

The health and community services sector frequently witnesses a high number of worker compensation claims, attributed to hazards like needlestick injuries and back problems. However, the industry ranks lower in fatalities per 1,000 employees compared to others.

The mining industry, considered a heavy industry, carries risks for workers like riggers, excavators, drillers, and crane operators. Nevertheless, deaths in the sector have decreased, with 5 fatalities in 2020 compared to 7 in 2019.

The electricity, gas, water, and waste services industry has experienced improvements in health and safety, leading to a decline in fatalities. Nonetheless, roles such as electricians and industrial waste management remain inherently dangerous, claiming three lives in 2020.

Even administrative and support services, often associated with desk jobs, house hidden risks in roles like building cleaning, pest control, and gardening services, resulting in six fatalities in 2020.


This report highlights the pressing need for increased safety measures across various industries in Australia. By understanding the inherent risks of different professions, employers can better protect their workers, aiming to reduce workplace fatalities and ensure a safer future for all Australians.

WorkCover Claims

At Claimwise our mission is to help you save money on your legal fees. By starting your WorkCover claim with a traditional ‘No Win, No Fee’ law firm your total legal fees can end up being $10,000 or more higher than by using us.

If you or someone you know has been injured at work in Queensland and want to keep your legal costs down, feel free to get in touch with us.

Be smart, claim wise.

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