Injury Statistics - Work-related Claims: 2007

Commentary

All work-related injury claims

The provisional number of claims for work-related injuries that occurred in the 2007 calendar year was 231,300 (as reported by 31 March 2008). Around 26,000 (11 percent) of these claims resulted in the payment of weekly compensation, the independence allowance, rehabilitation costs, or death benefits. The remainder resulted in the payment of medical fees only.

In 2007 there was an average of 122 work-related injury claims per 1,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers. The respective rates for females and males were 79 and 154 claims per 1,000 FTEs.

The total cost of treatment, compensation and rehabilitation for work-related injuries that occurred in 2007 was $227 million.

All figures presented in this Hot Off The Press are provisional because claims for injuries that occurred in 2007 can still be updated and filed. The number of claims, the rate of claims, and the cost of claims are expected to rise as more information is received from the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) in the year ahead. Final work-related injury figures (as reported by 31 March 2009) will be released in October 2009.

Industry

Workers in the manufacturing industry lodged 39,100 work-related claims (17 percent of all claims). This was substantially higher than the number made by workers in any other industry. Workers in the construction industry, and the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry lodged the second and third-highest numbers, with 24,500 and 19,600 claims, respectively. Together, these three industries accounted for 36 percent of all work-related claims, but only around 30 percent of the workforce.

The incidence rate of work-related claims was highest in the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry, with 150 claims per 1,000 FTEs. This was followed by the manufacturing industry (with 149 claims per 1,000 FTEs), and the construction industry (with 141 claims per 1,000 FTEs) The finance and insurance industry had the lowest rate, at 18 claims per 1,000 FTEs.

Females made more work-related claims than males in the accommodation, cafes and restaurants industry, the finance and insurance industry, the education industry, and the health and community services industry. Together, these four industries accounted for only 10 percent of all work-related claims. Males lodged more claims than females in all the industries that accounted for the remaining 90 percent of claims.

Graph, Incidence Rate of ACC Work-related Claims.  

Occupation

By occupation group, trades workers lodged the most claims for work-related injuries, with 44,200 claims (19 percent of all claims). The second and third-highest numbers were lodged by plant and machine operators and assemblers (38,300 claims), and agriculture and fishery workers (31,600 claims).

Workers in the elementary occupations group (eg labourers and cleaners) had the highest incidence rate, at 279 work-related injury claims per 1,000 FTEs. Agriculture and fishery workers (247 claims per 1,000 FTEs), and plant and machine operators and assemblers (229 claims), had the next highest rates. The lowest rate was 42 claims per 1,000 FTEs, which occurred in the professionals occupation group.

Males accounted for more work-related injury claims than females in all occupation groups, with the exception of service and sales workers, clerks, and professionals, where females made 60, 57 and 51 percent of claims, respectively. Males made 97 percent of all claims by trades workers, 87 percent of all claims by plant and machine operators and assemblers, and 78 percent of all claims by agriculture and fishery workers. As noted above, these three occupation groups accounted for the greatest proportion of work-related claims.

Graph, Incidence Rate of ACC Work-related Claims.  

Age

Workers aged between 35 and 44 years made more claims for work-related injuries than any other age group, with 53,000 claims (23 percent of all claims). This was closely followed by workers aged between 45 and 54 years, who made 50,000 claims (22 percent of all claims).

Graph, Number of ACC Work-related Claims.  

Although workers aged 65 years and over made only 4 percent of all claims (9,200 claims), this age group had the highest incidence rate of 177 claims per 1,000 FTEs. Workers aged between 15 and 24 years had the second-highest rate, with 150 claims per 1,000 FTEs.

Geographic region

Of all work-related claims, 27 percent (63,300) were made for injuries that occurred in Auckland region. This was considerably higher than the percentage of claims for any other region. However, the regions with the highest incidence rates were Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay, and Bay of Plenty, which had 180 and 157 claims per 1,000 FTEs, respectively. Wellington and Auckland regions had the lowest rates, at 69 and 105 claims per 1,000 FTEs, respectively.

Graph, Incidence Rate of ACC Work-related Claims.  

Employment status

The large majority of work-related claims (194,000 or 84 percent) were lodged by employees. However, the self-employed had a considerably higher incidence rate (183 claims per 1,000 FTEs) than employees (115 claims per 1,000 FTEs).

Scene of injury

Around 89,400 claims (39 percent of all claims) were made for injuries that occurred in a commercial or service location, and around 67,200 (29 percent) were made for injuries that occurred in an industrial place.

Ethnicity

Europeans lodged 157,400 claims for work-related injuries. This represents 68 percent of all work-related claims. Another 12 percent of claims (28,400 claims) were made by Māori. Pacific peoples and Asians lodged 6 and 5 percent of claims (13,100 and 10,500 claims), respectively.

Māori had an incidence rate of 155 claims per 1,000 FTEs, compared with 152 for Pacific peoples, and 111 for Europeans. This is consistent with figures showing that Māori were overrepresented in the elementary, and the plant and machine operators and assemblers occupational groups, both of which have high claim rates.

Graph, Incidence Rate of ACC Work-related Claims.  

Type of injury

Sprains and strains accounted for 99,400 work-related claims (43 percent of all claims). This was considerably higher than the number lodged for open wounds (35,000 claims or 15 percent) and contusions (21,300 claims or 9 percent), which were the second and third most common types of injury resulting in a work-related claim.

Bodily location of injury

When grouped by bodily location, injuries to the wrist and hand; and injuries to the lower torso (abdomen, lower back, lumbar, spine and pelvis) were the most common cause for work-related claims, accounting for 41,600 and 41,700 claims, respectively (each with 18 percent of all claims). Injuries to the head and neck were the third most common cause, accounting for 34,400 claims (15 percent).

Claims per person

The 231,300 claims for work-related injuries that occurred in 2007 were made by 205,500 people. Most people (184,000 or 90 percent) lodged only one claim. Around 18,400 people (9 percent) lodged two claims (that is, made claims for two separate injury events). Less than 1 percent of those who sustained a work-related injury lodged more than two claims. Sometimes more than one claim is recorded for the original injury and these are both recorded in the data. Statistics New Zealand makes every effort possible to identify these claims, and remove from the data all but one claim.

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Injury claims resulting in the payment of entitlements

Work-related injury claims that result in the payment of earnings-related compensation, the independence allowance, rehabilitation costs, or death benefits are collectively referred to as ‘entitlement claims’. These claims are associated with more severe injuries than those that result in the payment of medical fees only. Around 30,000 entitlement claims were lodged for work-related injuries that occurred in 2007, giving an incidence rate of 16 serious injury claims per 1,000 FTEs.

Industry

The highest number of injuries resulting in entitlement claims occurred in the manufacturing industry, which had 6,800 such claims (23 percent of all entitlement claims). The construction industry had the second-highest number (4,200 or 14 percent), followed by the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry (3,500 or 12 percent).

The distribution of entitlement claims across industries was reasonably similar to the distribution for all claims. However, the transport and storage industry did account for a substantially higher percentage of entitlement claims (22 percent) than all work-related claims (6 percent).

Occupation

By occupation group, plant and machine operators and assemblers lodged the most entitlement claims (6,900 or 23 percent of all entitlement claims). The second and third-highest numbers were made by trades workers (5,400 or 18 percent), and elementary occupations (4,200 or 14 percent). The high percentage of entitlement claims for these three occupation groups is consistent with the figures for all work-related claims.

Age

As was the case for all work-related claims, workers aged between 35 and 44 years lodged more entitlement claims than any other age group, with 7,100 claims (24 percent of all entitlement claims). The fewest claims were made by workers aged 65 years and over, who lodged 1,800 claims (6 percent).

Graph, Number of ACC Work-related Entitlement Claims.  

The 65 years and over age group had an incidence rate of 34 entitlement claims per 1,000 FTEs. This was considerably higher than the incidence rate for any other age group. For instance, the second-highest rate was 16 entitlement claims per 1,000 FTEs, which occurred among workers aged between 15 and 24 years, 35 and 44 years, and 55 and 64 years.

Graphs, Incidence Rate of ACC Work-related Entitlement Claims.  

Geographic region

The highest number of injuries resulting in entitlement claims occurred in Auckland region, which accounted for 23 percent of such claims. However, this region had the second-lowest incidence rate of 12 entitlement claims per 1,000 FTEs. Wellington region had the lowest rate, with nine entitlement claims per 1,000 FTEs. The highest rates occurred in Otago/Southland, and Gisborne/Hawke's Bay, which had 40 and 23 entitlement claims per 1,000 FTEs, respectively.

Ethnicity

Approximately 19,600 entitlement claims (65 percent of all entitlement claims) were made by Europeans. Māori had the highest incidence rate with 26 entitlement claims per 1,000 FTEs. The respective rates for Pacific peoples and Europeans were 19 and 14 entitlement claims per 1,000 FTEs. These figures are consistent with those reported for all work-related claims.  

Type of injury

Of all entitlement claims, 11,100 (or 37 percent) were made for sprains and strains. Open wounds, the second most common type of injury resulting in entitlement claims, accounted for 3,100 such claims (10 percent).

Fatal injury claims

Fatal injury claims are those claims made to ACC for deaths that resulted from either workplace injuries (for instance, a work-related fall) or occupational diseases (for instance, asbestos-related illnesses). There were 67 claims lodged for fatal injuries that occurred in 2007, and the large majority of these claims were for males. The incidence rate for 2007 was four fatal injury claims per 100,000 FTEs.

The provisional figure for claims for fatal injuries occurring in 2007 is expected to increase in 2008, as workers who have been seriously injured fail to recover. It should also be noted that not all work-related fatalities result in claims to ACC. 

The construction industry had the highest number of fatal injury claims, with 16 claims (24 percent of all fatal injury claims). This was followed by the manufacturing industry, which had nine claims (13 percent). These figures parallel the high rates of claims for all work-related injury within these two industries.

By occupation group, 11 of those who died were agriculture and fishery workers, and 10 were plant and machine operators and assemblers. The remaining 46 fatal injury claims were distributed across a range of occupations.

Both the number and the incidence rate of fatal injury claims increased with age. Nineteen claims were lodged for people aged 65 years and over, giving this age group an incidence rate of 36 fatal injury claims per 100,000 FTEs. By comparison, people aged between 55 and 64 years (the second-oldest age group, with the second-highest number and incidence rate of fatal injury claims) accounted for 15 claims and had an incidence rate of five fatal injury claims per 100,000 FTEs.

Fifteen claims were lodged for work-related fatal injuries that occurred in Auckland region. The next highest number was in Canterbury, which accounted for 10 claims. Otago/Southland, with seven claims, had the highest incidence rate, at nine fatal injury claims per 100,000 FTEs. Manawatu-Wanganui, had seven fatal injury claims per 100,000 FTEs, giving this region the second-highest incidence rate.

Trends in work-related claims

Final data on work-related injury claims between 2002 and 2006 indicate stability in the incidence of such claims. While there was a decrease in the annual number of claims, the change was small. Specifically, the number of work-related claims dropped from 240,100 claims in 2002, to 238,900 claims in 2006. This represents a 0.5 percent decrease in the number of claims.

Males consistently accounted for approximately three-quarters of all work-related claims between 2002 and 2006. The distribution of claims by industry, occupation, age and ethnic group also remained relatively constant over this period.

There were 95 work-related fatal injury claims in 2002, 93 in 2003, 94 in 2004, 92 in 2005, and 103 in 2006. These figures are best interpreted with caution due to the small number of claims involved.

Industry

The manufacturing industry accounted for the highest number of claims between 2002 and 2006, despite a small drop from 49,200 claims in 2002 to 44,200 in 2006. The agriculture, forestry and fishing industry had 28,600 claims in 2002 and 23,300 in 2006. The construction industry had the next highest numbers, with 22,100 claims in 2002, and 26,900 in 2006.

The highest incidence rate of claims occurred in the mining industry in each of the four years between 2002 and 2005, although the exact rate for this industry dropped from 234 to 201 claims per 1,000 FTEs. It should be noted however that the mining industry is relatively small, so the incidence rate for this industry is therefore sensitive to small alterations in the annual number of claims. In 2006, agriculture, forestry and fishing had the highest rate, at 181 claims per 1,000 FTEs, although this had decreased from the 2002 figure of 204 claims per 1,000 FTEs.

Between 2002 and 2006, the agriculture, forestry and fishing; construction; and manufacturing industries consistently had the second-highest claim rates, after the mining industry.

 Graph, Incidence Rate of ACC Work-related Claims.

Note: The 2007 figures are provisional, and are therefore not directly comparable with the earlier years.

Occupation 

Between 2002 and 2006, plant and machine operators and assemblers made the highest number of work-related claims. The number of claims by this occupation group rose steadily from 39,700 in 2002 to 42,700 in 2006. Trades workers, agriculture and fishery workers, and workers in elementary occupations accounted for the next-highest numbers of claims, but the ordering of these groups varied between individual years.

The elementary occupations group had the highest rate of work-related claims between 2002 and 2006, although the actual rate fluctuated from a high of 337 claims per 1,000 FTEs in 2002 to a low of 281 in 2006. Agriculture and fishery workers, plant and machine operators and assemblers, and trades workers had the next-highest rates. 

 Graph, Incidence Rate of ACC Work-related Claims.

Note: The 2007 figures are provisional, and are therefore not directly comparable with the earlier years.

Age

Although the annual number of claims lodged by workers aged between 35 and 44 years decreased by 9 percent between 2002 and 2006 (from 61,300 to 56,000 claims), this age group consistently had the most claims. Claims by workers aged 45 to 54 years rose from 50,400 to 52,100 claims between 2002 and 2006. For those between 25 and 34 years, the number fell from 52,800 to 46,700 claims over the same period.

Workers aged between 15 and 24 years, 55 and 64 years, and 65 years and over, made the fewest claims between 2002 and 2006. The annual number of claims lodged by those aged 65 years and over increased, rising steadily from 6,800 claims in 2002 to reach 9,300 in 2006. This represents a 27 percent increase for this age group.

  Graph, Number of ACC Work-related Claims.

Note: The 2007 figures are provisional, and are therefore not directly comparable with the earlier years. 

Between 2002 and 2006, workers aged 65 years and over had the highest incidence rate of work-related claims, with 228 claims per 1,000 FTEs in 2002, and 204 in 2006. Workers aged between 15 and 24 years had the next highest rate, with 166 claims per 1,000 FTEs in 2002, and 150 in 2006. Claim rates decreased for all age groups between 2002 and 2006. 
 

 Graph, Incidence Rate of ACC Work-related Claims.

Note: The 2007 figures are provisional, and are therefore not directly comparable with the earlier years.

Geographic region

Auckland region consistently had the highest number of injuries resulting in work-related claims, accounting for 61,800 claims in 2002 and 65,000 in 2006. Canterbury had the next-highest numbers, with 35,600 claims in 2002 and 34,800 in 2006.

There were shifts in the rates of work-related claims for individual regions between 2002 and 2006. For instance, the Bay of Plenty jumped from having the fourth-highest rate in 2002 (with 171 claims per 1,000 FTEs) to having the highest rate in 2006 (177). The Bay of Plenty, Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay, Northland, and Waikato had comparatively high claim rates in each of the four years assessed. Wellington and Auckland regions had the lowest rates, with 82 and 118 claims per 1,000 FTEs in 2002, and 70 and 111 in 2006, respectively. 

Ethnicity

Europeans lodged substantially more work-related claims than any other ethnic group in each of the five years between 2002 and 2006. However, this was the only ethnic group to have a decreased number of claims (from 176,400 in 2002 to 165,600 in 2006). The annual number of claims made by Māori rose steadily, from 29,400 in 2002 to 29,800 in 2006. The number lodged by Pacific peoples rose from 10,900 to 13,000, and for Asian workers the number lodged rose from 6,200 to 9,800.

Between 2002 and 2006 the rate of claims dropped for Europeans, but rose for Māori and Pacific peoples. It should be noted, however, that these changes were small and varied. For instance, the rate among Māori rose from a low of 182 claims per 1,000 FTEs in 2002, to a peak of 191 in 2004, and then dropped to 167 in 2006. Despite these fluctuations, Māori consistently had the highest claim rate, followed by Pacific and European workers. 

Graph, Incidence Rate of ACC Work-related Claims.  

Note: The 2007 figures are provisional, and are therefore not directly comparable with the earlier years.

Final figures

Final work-related claims for 2006 (as reported by 31 March 2008) are now available. The final figures for the five years between 2002 and 2006 used in this release are also included in this document. They can be downloaded from the Statistics NZ website in Excel format. 

For technical information please contact:
Ian McGregor
Wellington 04 931 4600
Email: info@stats.govt.nz

Next release...

Injury Statistics – Work-related Claims: 2008 will be released in October 2009.