Safe Work Australia commissioned Deloitte Access Economics to explore the cost of work-related injury and illness in Australia and estimate how much value could be created within the Australian economy by removing work-related injury and illness.
Using an innovative modelling approach, Safer, healthier, wealthier: The economic value of reducing work-related injuries and illnesses, shows Australia’s economy would be $28.6 billion larger each year and 185,500 additional full time equivalent (FTE) jobs would be created in the absence of work-related injuries and illnesses. In this scenario, workers across all occupations and skill levels would also benefit from a wage rise of 1.3% on average each year.
Safe Work Australia Branch Manager, Evidence, Communications and Strategic Policy, Meredith Bryant said “the findings clearly illustrate the economic and productivity benefits to our wider community of investing in work health and safety.”
“Creating workplaces that are safe and free of injury and illness provides broad economic benefits for all Australians, including more jobs and better pay.”
Ms Bryant said the report provides an important evidence base for policy makers and economists to better understand why work health and safety is so important, embedding a shift from ‘how’ to do safety to ‘why’ we do safety.
“The report gives Safe Work Australia and others involved in work health and safety a different lens through which to examine and quantify the impacts of work-related injury and illness. We will use the findings to drive progress in work health and safety thinking and emphasise the need to devote attention and resources to harm prevention.”
The report highlights that there were 6.9 million work-related injuries and illnesses in Australia between 2008-2018, costing $37.6 billion in health system costs and causing a 2.2 million FTE productivity loss.
“We know that the devastating effects of injury and illness at work go beyond the effect on the individual, their workplace, occupation, industry or jurisdiction in which they occur. Our communities and the Australian economy more broadly feel the impacts of these injuries and illnesses including through costs associated with loss of productivity, reduced work participation and increased healthcare.”
The ground-breaking research which utilises computable general equilibrium (CGE) modelling is the first of its kind to adopt the World Health Organization’s guidelines to identifying the economic consequences of disease and injury.
Safe Work Australia collects, analyses and publishes data and research to inform national policies and strategies on work health and safety and workers’ compensation. This data and research enable national monitoring and reporting of worker fatalities, injuries and workers’ compensation claims.