Decent and safe work for all are key tennants of the Sustainable Development Goals. New Zealand’s (NZ) workplace fatality record is high compared to similar OECD countries, with the reasons for its substandard performance unclear and limited by a lack of detailed data. This study aims to inform injury prevention efforts for NZ by: i) enumerating the work-related fatal injury burden; and ii) identifying high risk groups
Methods A work-related fatal injury dataset spanning the period 2005–2014 was created by: 1) identifying possible cases aged 0–84 years from mortality records using selected external cause of injury codes, 2) linking these to Coronial records and 3) reviewing and coding work-related cases. Work-related deaths were classified as workers, bystanders, commuters or students. Frequencies and rates per 100,000 workers were calculated.
Results of 7,730 injury fatalities reviewed, 1,924 (24%) were work-related, of which 955 were workers. This corresponds to an overall rate of fatal injury of 4.8 (95% CI 4.5, 5.1) per 100,000 workers. Rates of fatal injury were highest for indigenous M&x0101;ori (7.7, 95% CI 6.6, 8.7), workers aged >70 years (18.1, 95%CI 14.8, 21.8) and males (8.1, 95% CI 7.7, 8.5). The ‘Agricultural, Forestry, Fisheries’, and ‘Transport, Postal, Warehouse’ sectors both had a high burden of fatal injury.
Conclusions Work-related injury makes a substantial contribution to the overall burden of fatal injury. To deliver decent and safe work for all,work-related safety actions need to include a focus on males, older workers, and workers in the primary production and transport sectors.