Labourers face the highest injury risks
Labourers face the highest injury risks

Want a high-risk future? Try taking a job as a labourer

WHAT is Queensland's most dangerous job? It isn't skydiving, washing the windows of the Gold Coast's Q1 building or working as a police officer.

The State Government's "harm index" has determined labouring jobs are the most dangerous.

The harm index is an industry tool that looks at workers' compensation claims data and other statistics.

The 2011-12 results show labouring is nearly three times as dangerous as the average for all occupations.

Injuries to workers in these occupations are also "three to six times more severe" than for the average Queensland worker.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland head Simon Blackwood said the index combined workers' compensation claim costs with the number of workers in specific industry sectors to show the relative harm workers were likely to sustain during their working lives.

He said labourers contributed more than 25,000 claims, almost one-third of all claims finalised in 2011-12, the largest share of any main occupation group.

They were followed by machinery operators and drivers, who recorded an index value 2.4-times greater than the state average and contributed the fourth-highest proportion of claims by occupations.

Dr Blackwood said: "It was the truck drivers who were by far the highest risk in this category."

Introduced in 2011, the index has since become a commonly used instrument for Workplace Health and Safety Queensland's planning processes.

Master Builders Sunshine Coast regional manager Michael Hopkins was not surprised to find labourers figured high for dangerous jobs.

"This is why in the construction industry safety is our number-one priority," he said.

A Queensland Health spokeswoman said 468 people had presented at Nambour General Hospital with injuries linked to workers' compensation between May 1 last year and April 30 this year.

Lacerations, fractures and sprains were among the prevalent injuries.


... by occupation

  • Labourers (25,000 compensation claims)
  • Machinery operators and driver (9504 claims)
  • Technicians and trades workers
  • Community and personal service workers