Every year, young people are killed as a result of their work and the work of others in Australia. The loss of a young life is disproportionately high in potential years of life lost and lost productivity. The purpose of this study was to provide a detailed description of the industry and mechanism-specific fatal incidents involving young workers aged 15-24-years in Australia, and compare them with all workers. We retrospectively reviewed coronial records extracted from the National Coronial Information System (NCIS) for all work-related deaths in Australia from July 2000 to June 2007. A total of 232 young persons were fatally injured as a result of work-related activity in the seven year study period. Working for income, commuter and bystander deaths accounted for 148, 67 and 17 deaths respectively. The death rate for young workers was 1.24 per 100,000 employed person-years. This compared to an all age death rate of 2.22 per 100,000 employed person-years. The Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing sector had the highest industry-specific fatality rate for young workers. This was followed by the Transport, Postal and Warehousing industry, and Mining. In each sector, young worker's fatality rates were higher than the overall rate. The use of publicly available data did not allow for stratification by age group. However, these results update what is currently known about young worker deaths, using a low-cost, publicly available data source. In the absence of a rigorous surveillance and reporting system documenting young worker injury and fatality, these findings serve a quasi-surveillance role.
- Fatal injury
- National Coronial Information System
- Young persons
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
- Safety Research
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health