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Injury Statistics – Work-related Claims: 2013
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  15 October 2014
Commentary

The figures presented in this information release are for claims accepted by the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) for work-related injuries. The data in this information release are not a definitive count of all work-related injuries, because not all result in a claim to ACC. The statistics are based on one claim per person for each injury event.

This release covers information about claims for work-related injuries, as well as information about claims involving entitlement payments, and claims for fatal injuries. It includes provisional statistics for 2013 and final statistics for 2012. 

These figures include claims due to occupational disease and work-related gradual process (for example hearing loss).

This commentary focuses on the provisional statistics for 2013, with trends in work-related injuries for 2002–12 towards the end. We report on the following: 

  • incidence rates (measured as the number of claims per 1,000 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs)), which indicate the risk associated with different groups 
  • total number of claims, which provides an indication of total size of the problem 
  • entitlement claims, which reflects the number of more serious injuries 
  • number of fatal claims.

182,900 work-related injury claims in 2013

Provisionally, there were 182,900 claims for work-related injuries that occurred in the 2013 calendar year. This is up from 180,000 provisional claims in 2012. The provisional incidence rate for 2013 was 92 work-related injury claims per 1,000 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs). The 182,900 claims were made by 161,300 people.

Of all work-related claims, 11 percent (19,500) resulted in entitlement payments. This includes payments for weekly compensation and rehabilitation necessary for returning to independence. 

Claim rates and numbers higher for males

Males make the most claims

In 2013, 73 percent of all work-related injury claims (133,900 claims) were for males. The incidence rate for males (119 claims per 1,000 FTEs) was more than twice as high as for females (56 claims per 1,000 FTEs).

Entitlement claims are also mostly made by men

Males made significantly more entitlement claims (15,200 claims) than females did (4,300 claims). More than three-quarters (78 percent) of entitlement claims made in 2013 were for males. The rate for males (14 claims per 1,000 FTEs) was almost triple that for females (5 claims per 1,000 FTEs).

Almost all fatal claims made are for males 

Sixty-three claims have been made for fatal work-related injuries in 2013. Of these claims, 95 percent were for males.

Workers aged 65 years and over accounted for 48 percent of all fatal claims.

Note that fatalities are under-represented by claims, as many fatalities do not result in a fatal injury claim to ACC. Fatal claim numbers have been randomly rounded to 3.

Younger and older workers have highest claim rates, and claim numbers consistent with age of population

Workers aged 15–24 years made 121 claims per 1,000 FTEs, the highest rate among the age groups. Workers aged 65 years and older had the second-highest rate (115 claims per 1,000 FTEs).

Graph, Incidence rate of work-related injury claims, by age group, 2013.

Number of claims highest for workers aged 45–54

In 2013, workers aged 45–54 years made 40,800 claims (22 percent of all claims). This age group was followed by workers aged 35–44, who made 35,900 claims (20 percent of all claims). This is consistent with the demographic structure of the population.

Graph, Work-related injury claims, by age group, 2013.

Entitlement claim rates highest for workers aged 65+

Workers aged 65+ had the highest incidence rate of entitlement claims (18 entitlement claims per 1,000 FTEs). Workers aged 15–24 and 55–64 had the next-highest rates, with both age groups making 11 entitlement claims per 1,000 FTEs.

Graph, Incidence rate of claims involving entitlement payment, by age group, 2013.

Number of entitlement claims highest for workers aged 45–54

Similar to the pattern for all work-related claims and consistent with the age profile of the population, in 2013, workers aged 45–54 made more entitlement claims than any other age group did, with 4,500 claims. This was 23 percent of all entitlement claims. Workers aged 65+ made the fewest entitlement claims, with 1,700 claims (8 percent).

Graph, Claims involving entitlement payments for work-related injuries, by age group, 2013.

Rates and numbers of claims by ethnicity show Pacific peoples have highest rate, but lowest number

The rates for work-related injury claims in 2013 for the four major ethnic groups were:

  • Pacific peoples – 104 claims per 1,000 FTEs 
  • Māori – 93 claims per 1,000 FTEs 
  • European – 88 claims per 1,000 FTEs 
  • Asian – 52 claims per 1,000 FTEs.

Graph, Incidence rate of work-related injury claims, by ethnic group, 2013.

Work-related claims by selected ethnic groups, 2013 (provisional)
Ethnicity Number of claims Percentage of all work-related claims
European 131,400 72
Māori 21,100 12
Asian 12,900 7
Pacific peoples 9,500 5
Note: Percentages will not sum to 100 because 'other' and 'not specified' categories are not included here.
Ethnic group reporting has more information on totals for ethnicity.
Source: Statistics New Zealand

Claim rates within occupation and industry highest for agriculture, forestry, fishery

Claim rates highest for agriculture and fishery workers occupation group

‘Occupation’ describes the injured person’s job at the time of their injury.

Agriculture (including forestry) and fishery workers had the highest incidence rate, with 226 work-related injury claims per 1,000 FTEs in 2013. The next-highest rates were for trades workers (for example, builders), who had 187 claims per 1,000 FTEs, and workers in elementary occupations (for example, cleaners or refuse collectors), who had 161 claims per 1,000 FTEs. The lowest rates were for clerks and professionals, who had 25 and 33 claims per 1,000 FTEs, respectively.

Graph, Incidence rate of work-related injury claims, by occupation, 2013.

Entitlement claim rates highest for agriculture and fishery workers

In 2013, agriculture and fishery workers had the highest incidence rate, at 26 entitlement claims per 1,000 FTEs. Plant and machine operators and assemblers (24 entitlement claims per 1000 FTEs) had the second-highest rate.

Claim rates highest in agriculture, forestry, and fishing industry 

‘Industry’ describes the main type of activity carried out by the organisation that the injured person worked for.

‘Industry’ is different from ‘occupation’. For example, a plumber could be a trades worker in the construction industry.

The industry of the workplace where the injury occurred was not specified in 17,900 claims (10 percent of the total). Therefore, interpret the figures for claims by industry with caution.

In 2013, the highest incidence rates were for the following industries:

  • agriculture, forestry, and fishing – 206 claims per 1,000 FTEs 
  • arts and recreation services – 186 claims per 1,000 FTEs 
  • construction – 172 claims per 1,000 FTEs.

Note that arts and recreation services include professional sporting activities and adventure sports.

Entitlement claim rates highest in agriculture, forestry, and fishing industry

The industries with the highest rates of work-related entitlement claims in 2013 were: 

  • agriculture, forestry, and fishing (27 entitlement claims per 1,000 FTEs) 
  • construction (21 claims) 
  • arts and recreation services (19 claims).

Graph, Incidence rate of work-related injury claims, by industry, 2013.

Number of claims by occupation and industry highest for trades workers and construction industry

Trades workers make highest number of claims

The occupation groups with the most work-related injury claims in 2013 were: 

  • trades workers – 35,500 claims 
  • agriculture and fishery workers – 31,200 claims
  • plant and machine operators and assemblers – 25,200 claims.

Claims by males outnumbered those by females in most occupation groups, with the exception of:

  • service and sales workers (64 percent of claims for this occupation were made by females)
  • professionals (56 percent)
  • clerks (53 percent).

A high proportion of the workers in the three occupation groups with the highest number of work-related injury claims were males. Males made:

  • 98 percent of all claims by trades workers 
  • 91 percent of all claims by plant and machine operators and assemblers 
  • 79 percent of all claims by agriculture and fishery workers.

Plant and machine operators and assemblers make most entitlement claims

The occupation groups that made the most entitlement claims in 2013 were:

  • plant and machine operators and assemblers (3,800 claims) 
  • trades workers (3,700) 
  • agriculture and fishery workers (3,500 claims).

Combined, these groups accounted for 56 percent of all entitlement claims.

Construction industry has highest number of claims

Work-related claims in 2013 were highest for workers in the following industries:

  • construction – 28,900 claims 
  • manufacturing – 27,500 claims 
  • agriculture, forestry, and fishing – 25,300 claims.

For the first time, in this release, we have separated the agriculture, forestry, and fishing industry into three categories for the number of claims. Agriculture alone forms most of the claims in this industry, with 23,500 claims. Forestry and fishing account for just 1,800 of the total claims, with 1,300 and 500 claims, respectively.

Fishing and mining had the fewest work-related claims (500 each). This is likely because of the small size of these industries.

Number of entitlement claims highest in fishing and forestry industries

In 2013, the fishing and forestry industries had the highest number of entitlement claims as a proportion of all claims within the industry, both with 18 percent of claims involving entitlement payments. Overall, 11 percent of all claims involved entitlement payments.

Claim rate almost twice as high for self-employed

‘Employment status’ indicates whether a worker was self-employed or an employee at the time of their injury.

Employees accounted for 84 percent of all work-related claims in 2013.

The incidence rate was almost twice as high for self-employed workers (163 claims per 1,000 FTEs) as for employees (85 claims per 1,000 FTEs).

Regional claims show highest rates in parts of upper North Island

Northland region has highest claim rate

The regions with the highest incidence rates in 2013 were:

  • Northland – 130 claims per 1,000 FTEs
  • Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay – 127 claims per 1,000 FTEs
  • Bay of Plenty – 125 claims per 1,000 FTEs.

Wellington had the lowest rate, with 55 claims per 1,000 FTEs. Auckland had the second-lowest, at 80.

Graph, Incidence rate of work-related injury claims, by region, 2013.

Auckland region had most claims, reflecting its size

In 2013, the Auckland region had 53,200 claims (29 percent of all claims). This reflects the size of the region's population. Canterbury (28,200 claims) and Waikato (19,000 claims) were second and third, reflecting the high number of workers in these regions. However, Wellington, the third-largest region, was fifth (13,300 claims), reflecting the different composition of occupation and industry.

Northland region has highest entitlement claim rate

In 2013, the highest rates of entitlement claims occurred in:

  • Northland – 14 claims per 1,000 FTEs 
  • Waikato – 13 claims per 1,000 FTEs 
  • Bay of Plenty – 13 claims per 1,000 FTEs 
  • Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay – 13 claims per 1,000 FTEs.

The Wellington region again had the lowest rate, with five entitlement claims per 1,000 FTEs.

Number of entitlement claims highest in Auckland

Auckland had the highest number of entitlement claims (4,900), accounting for 25 percent of the total. However, this region had the second-lowest incidence rate, at seven per 1,000 FTEs.

Trends for overall claim rates and numbers are falling

The number of work-related claims has been declining steadily since 2007.

Graph, Work-related injury claims, by year of injury, 2002 to 2012.

The incidence rate has decreased each year since 2002, from 129 work-related claims per 1,000 FTEs in 2002, down to 92 in 2012.

 Graph, Incidence rate of work-related injury claims, by year of injury, 2002-12. .

Trends in claims by sex and age falling for both males and females, and 65+ age group

Males consistently dominate trends

Males accounted for about three-quarters of all work-related claims each year between 2002 and 2012.

Each year, males also had a higher incidence rate than females. The rate for males decreased from 170 claims per 1,000 FTEs (in 2002) to 119 (in 2012). The rate for females also decreased over this period, from 73 claims per 1,000 FTEs (in 2002) to 56 (in 2012).

Trend in claim rate falls for 65+ age group

The 65+ age group consistently had the highest claim rate from 2002 until 2011, when the rate fell to the same level as that for 15–24-year-olds. This is due to a significant drop in the number of claims accepted for occupational disease and gradual process injury, in particular claims for hearing loss, among the 65+ age group.

In 2012, the 15–24 age group had the highest claim rate, at 118 work-related claims per 1,000 FTEs.

The incidence rate of claims has generally declined for almost all age groups since 2002.

The drop in the 65+ age group is most noticeable throughout this trend.

Graph, Incidence rate of work-related injury claims, by age group, 2002–12.

Trend in number of claims by age in line with ageing population

Between 2002 and 2007, workers aged 35–44 made the most claims each year. In 2008, workers aged 45–54 became the age group making the most claims. This trend has continued through to 2012, with 40,000 claims made in the 45–54 year age group, compared with 35,900 in the 35–44 year age group. This trend is in line with demographic changes and reflects the ageing population.

Graph, Work-related injury claims, by age group, 2002-12.

Trend in claim rates by occupation shows consistently high rates for agriculture and fishery workers

Between 2002 and 2012, agriculture and fishery workers had the highest claim rate. This rate has consistently been just under 300 claims per 1,000 FTEs. The rate dropped in 2011 and continued to drop in 2012, to 238 claims per 1,000 FTEs. However, the rate was still the highest out of all occupations.

Graph, Incidence rate of work-related injury claims, by occupation, 2002-12.

Trends in claims by employment status shows rate higher for self-employed, but gap narrowing

Trend in claim rate consistently higher for self-employed 

The incidence rate for self-employed workers has been around double that for employed workers each year since 2002. In 2012, the incidence rate was 85 claims per 1,000 FTEs for employees, compared with 147 for self-employed people. This is the smallest difference between the two groups since 2002.

Trend in number of claims dominated by employees

Employees consistently accounted for more than three-quarters (varies between 77 to 84 percent) of all work-related claims each year between 2002 and 2012. However, the increase to 84 percent in 2012 from 81 percent in 2011 has been a noticeable increase, as the trend usually only increases or decreases by one percentage point each year. In 2012, employees made 148,700 claims, compared with 29,100 for self-employed workers.

Regional claim trends show falls in Auckland, Waikato, Wellington, and Canterbury

Trends in claim rates fall for largest regions

Incidence rates have fallen for workers in the four largest regions (Auckland, Waikato, Wellington, and Canterbury) since 2002. The incidence rate in the Canterbury region increased in 2011 because of the Canterbury earthquake of 22 February 2011, going against the general downward trend. The incidence rate for Canterbury dropped from 98 in 2011 to 94 in 2012.

Graph, Incidence rate of work-related injury claims, by selected geographic regions, 2002–12.

Trend shows decreasing claims in largest regions

Claims by workers in the four largest regions generally declined between 2002 and 2012. After the 22 February 2011 earthquake, the number of claims in Canterbury rose to 27,500. In 2012 this number decreased to 26,300.

For more detailed data see the Excel tables in the 'Downloads' box.

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