Data collection and privacy

Safe Work Australia (SWA) collects, uses and publishes work health and safety and compensation data to perform its functions under the Safe Work Australia Act 2008. We collect this data from a range of sources, including from other work health and safety agencies across Australia. 

Although the data we hold is often de-identified, sometimes it includes personal information. For this reason, we handle the data described on this page as personal information for the purposes of the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act).

For more detail about our functions and how we handle personal information, see our privacy policy.

The data we collect

The data we collect includes information like:

  • Age
  • Work status
  • Date of birth
  • Sex
  • Postcode / State or Territory
  • Occupation
  • Industry
  • Injury details (nature, location, mechanism of injury or disease)
  • Compensation paid
  • Circumstances of death
  • Information about legal proceedings

The data is included in six different databases or datasets. The information in those databases is described below, along with information about how we use, disclose, protect and store that information.

National Dataset for Compensation-based Statistics

  • This dataset contains data about all workers’ compensation claims in Australia. The data held by SWA is de-identified.
  • We may share part of this dataset with other research institutions in limited circumstances, after ensuring that the data is de-identified.
  • We also publish the de-identified, aggregate data in Australian workers’ compensation statistics reports available on our website, and on our interactive data website.

Work-Related Traumatic Injury Fatalities database

  • This dataset contains the details of work-related deaths in Australia, including the deceased’s name and the circumstances of their death. Although the Privacy Act does not apply to the information of a deceased person, the dataset could also include the personal information of living third parties. 
  • We will only disclose the personal information in this database to other regulators where we need to do so to obtain more information to complete the dataset.
  • We also publish Preliminary work-related fatalities statistics and a de-identified, aggregate Work-related traumatic injury fatalities report on our website and on our interactive data website.

Comparative performance monitoring dataset

  • This is an aggregate dataset relating to WHS compliance and enforcement, compensation, disputes, enforcement of workplace decisions and undertakings. 
  • We do not share the data in this dataset with any other entity, but we do publish de-identified, aggregate data in the Comparative performance monitoring report on our website.

National Return to Work Survey

  • This is a de-identified dataset relating to return to work outcomes of individuals receiving workers compensation after a work-related injury. 
  • We may share part of this data set with Macquarie University in connection with research related to return to work.
  • We also publish the de-identified, aggregate data in 2021 National Return to Work Survey reports available on our website.

Quad Bikes database

  • This database contains de-identified information about the number of people killed in incidents involving quad bikes in Australia. 
  • The data about quad bike fatalities is uploaded to our website.

Prosecutions Repository database

  • This database contains information about WHS prosecutions of persons conducting a business or undertaking. This database may include the names of individuals.
  • We publish de-identified, aggregate data on a dashboard on our interactive website.  

Publication of data

We publish de-identified data on our website, as well as on our interactive data website. Our interactive data website makes our de-identified work health and safety and workers’ compensation data more accessible, using interactive dashboards and online data collections. 

Before we publish the data we take steps to ensure individuals cannot be re-identified, which include:

  • applying rules to keep personal information confidential – for example, where there is a small number of individuals in a particular category, that data is not published
  • checking data for information that could be disclosive before it is published
  • prohibiting staff from taking steps to re-identify individuals, and
  • limiting access to the data to certain SWA staff.

For more information about SWA’s privacy practices, how to request access to or correction of personal information, or to make a privacy enquiry or complaint, please see our privacy policy.