Workplace injuries: men more likely to need compensation

Men are more likely than women to be injured at work and make a serious claim for compensation according to Safe Work Australia.

In 2016-2017, male employees made nearly two-thirds (64%) of serious claims for compensation. This reflects the fact that men spend more time at work than women and are more likely to work in riskier occupations and industries.

Compensation statistics also include “frequency rates” which calculate the number of serious claims per million hours worked. The frequency rate is considered to be the most precise and accurate measure of work health and safety because it reflects the number of injuries and diseases per hour worked.

The differences in the number of hours worked mean that employees’ exposure to work-related risks vary considerably. A frequency rate accounts for these differences and allows accurate comparisons to be made of different groups of employees and employees at different points in time.

When comparing male and female employees using frequency rates, men are 1.3 times more likely to make a serious claim for compensation (6.2 serious claims per million hours worked compared with 4.9 serious claims per million hours worked).

Gender gap bigger for younger men

The gender gap in the number of claims made is slightly wider for men under 40 who account for 7 out of 10 serious claims for compensation, compared with older men who make around 6 out of 10 serious claims.  

Top 10 unhealthiest industries

Men dominate the unhealthiest industries with male employees making the majority of serious claims for compensation in 9 of the 10 highest risk industries:  

  • Road transport (9.9 claims per 1 million hours work / 94% of claimants are men)
  • Agriculture, forestry and fishing (9.5 claims per 1 million hours work / 79% of claimants are men)
  • Agriculture (9.3 claims per 1 million hours work / 77% of claimants are men)
  • Manufacturing (8.0 claims per 1 million hours work / 87% of claimants are men)
  • Transport, postal and warehousing (8.0 claims per 1 million hours work / 87% of claimants are men)
  • Arts and recreation services (8.0 claims per 1 million hours work / 61% of claimants are men)
  • Construction (8.1 claims per 1 million hours work / 97% of claimants are men)
  • Healthcare and social assistance  (7.8 claims per 1 million hours work / 80% of claimants are women) 
  • Wholesale trade (6.6 claims per 1 million hours work / 83% of claimants are men)
  • Administrative and support services (6.3 claims per 1 million hours work / 66% of claimants are men)  

Male-dominated industries have the biggest gender gaps

In male-dominated industries, men are up to 3.5 times more likely to make a serious claim. The industries with the biggest gender gaps in the rate of serious claims are listed below:

  • Construction (males 3.5 times more serious claims: 8.7 v 2.5 claims per million hours)
  • Electricity, gas, water and waste services (males 3.1 times more serious claims: 5.5 v 1.8 claims per million hours) 
  • Financial and insurance services (females 3 times more serious claims: 1.2 v 0.4 claims per million hours)
  • Manufacturing (males 2 times more serious claims: 9.1 v 4.5 claims per million hours) 
  • Rental, hiring and real estate services (males 2 times more serious claims: 3.4 v 1.7 claims per million hours) 
  • Public administration and safety (males 2 times more serious claims: 5.5 v 1.8 claims per million hours) 
  • Wholesale trade (males 1.9 times more serious claims: 7.7 v 4.0 claims per million hours) 
  • Road Transport (males 1.9 times more serious claims: 10.5 v 5.6 claims per million hours) 
  • Mining (males 1.9 times more serious claims: 4.5 v 2.4 claims per million hours) 
  • Transport, postal and warehousing (males 1.8 times more serious claims: 8.9 v 4.9 claims per million hours)  

In total, men have the highest rate of serious claims in 76% (16 out of 21) industries. 

Men do the unhealthiest jobs

In terms of the types of occupations found in a range of industries, men also dominate the riskiest jobs. For example, male labourers are 10 times more likely to make a serious claim for compensation than male managers or female clerical and admin workers.

  • Labourers make 24% of serious claims (men make 75% of these serious claims and are 1.2 times more likely to claim: 16.1 v 13.5 claims per million hours)
  • Machinery operators and drivers make 21% of serious claims (men make 90% of these serious claims but women are 1.2 times more likely to claim: 13.0 v 10.6 claims per million hours)
  • Community and Personal Services Workers make 14% of claims (women make 64% of these serious claims but men are more likely to claim: 11.5 v 10.9 claims per million hours)
  • Technicians and Trades Workers make 14% of claims (men make 89% of these serious claims with men and women equally likely to claim: 7.2 v 7.2 claims per million hours)
  • Sales Workers make 5% of claims (women make 63% of these serious claims and are 1.5 times more likely to claim: 4.8 v 3.2 claims per million hours)
  • Professionals make 4% of claims (women make 67% of these serious claims and are 2.1 times more likely to claim: 3.1 v 1.5 claims per million hours)
  • Managers make 3.5% of claims (men make 58% of these serious claims but women are 1.4 times more likely to claim: 2.1 v 1.5 claims per million hours)
  • Clerical and Administrative workers make 3% of claims (women make 63% of these serious claims but men are 1.4 times more likely to claim: 2.2 v 1.6 claims per million hours)

The types of injuries workers claim for

Workers make serious claims for a variety of injuries and diseases caused by work. Men make the majority for all types of injuries and diseases with the exception of mental health conditions (women make 58% of claims).

  • Traumatic joint/ligament and muscle/tendon injury (41% of total claims: men make 63% of these claims)
  • Wounds, lacerations, amputations and internal organ damage (16% of total claims: men make 76% of these claims)
  • Musculoskeletal and connective tissue diseases (16% of total claims: men make 59% of these claims)
  • Fractures (11% of total claims: men make 68% of these claims)
  • Mental health conditions (7% of total claims: women make 58% of these claims)Fractures (11% of total claims: men make 68% of these claims)
  • Other injuries (3% of total claims: men make 67% of these claims)
  • Digestive system diseases (2% of total claims: men make 94% of these claims)
  • Burn (2% of total claims: men make 67% of these claims)
  • Cancer (Less that 1% of total claims: men make 91% of these claims)

Who receives the most compensation?

In 2015–16, the median time lost for a serious claim was 5.6 working weeks for male employees and 6.0 working weeks for female employees. The median compensation paid for a serious claim was $12,200 for male employees and $10,100 for female employees. According to Safe Work Australia, this is most likely due to lower wages earned by female employees, which is partly offset by the longer time lost associated with claims made by females.

Who's making a difference for men?

In terms of workplace fatalities, some campaigners believe that introducing Industrial Manslaughter laws is one of the key changes  needed to reduce the number of people who die at work every year.

More broadly, there are a number of organisations around Australia that focus on improving the lives and health of workers in male dominated industries. This include:

If you know of other projects working to improves men's health at work (including projects focused on male-dominated industries) please contact us at: development@amhf.org.au

TAKE ACTION FOR MEN'S HEALTH:

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