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Sources of Work-related injury data
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Sources of Work-related injury data

This paper summarises the differences between data sources on New Zealand work-related injury.

Serious injury outcome indicators (SIOI)

  • These are the official statistics used for monitoring injury trends and targets. They are used by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to monitor progress towards the work-related injury reduction target.
  • They are published by Statistics New Zealand.
  • Two work-related injury indicators: (1) fatal injury; and (2) serious non-fatal injury.
    • Fatal injury to workers combines WorkSafe New Zealand (WorkSafe) notifications and Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) claims. It uses a three year moving average.
    • Serious non-fatal injury to workers combines ACC claims with Ministry of Health data to identify work-related hospitalisations with a high threat-to-life.


Serious harm data - Notifications to WorkSafe

  • Employers, principals and self-employed persons must notify WorkSafe as soon as possible of workplace accidents and occurrences of serious harm.
  • Serious harm is defined in the Health and Safety Act 1992 (see Table 2). Under the Health and Safety Act 2015 (comes into force on 4 April 2016) serious harm will be redefined as notifiable injury or illness.
  • WorkSafe serious harm numbers exclude notifications made to other regulators (e.g. incidents on public roads, in the air and out at sea).


Compensation claims to ACC

  • ACC provides comprehensive, no-fault personal injury cover for all New Zealand residents and visitors to New Zealand.
  • ACC generally reports claims by the funding account. The Work Account is the funding account for most work-related claims. However it excludes any claim made in relation to a moving vehicle on a public road, which is funded through the Motor Vehicle Account. Accredited Employer Programme (AEP) claims are generally (there are some exceptions) funded by the employer and not ACC but are still recorded and counted by ACC as part of the Work Account.
  • Statistics New Zealand publishes ACC work-related claims data. These include claims in the work account (including AEP claims) plus work-related claims in the motor vehicle account.
  • If an injury or fatality did not result in an accepted ACC claim it will not be reported by ACC.


Table 1: Differences in work-related injury data


Statistics NZ Statistics NZ WorkSafe WorkSafe  ACC

Data published

SIOIs Work-related claims Serious harm  SWIFT6 Work Account
Updated Annually Annually Monthly Monthly Annually
Employment data for injury rates HLFS5 HLFS N/A MBIE DEE7 N/A
Definition of ‘serious’ injury Threat-to-life Entitlement claims Serious harm Severe injury Entitlement claims
Purpose of data Monitoring trends Injury Information Regulate Regulate Compensate
Inclusion criteria1 Bystanders2 No No Yes No No
Sea/Air Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Road Yes Yes No Yes No
Chch EQ3 Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Includes some occupational disease4 No Yes Yes No Yes


1 All data includes paid workers;
2 Bystanders are people not working for economic profit or gain at the time of injury;
3 Injuries that occurred in the February 2011 Canterbury earthquake (Chch EQ);
4 Occupational disease includes illness and gradual process injury;
5 Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS);
6 System for Work-related Injury Forecasting and Targeting (SWIFT);
7 Direct Employment Estimates (DEE)


Table 2: Differences in definition of ‘serious’ injury


Data published ‘Serious’ type Definition
Serious Injury Outcome Indicators Threat-to-life An injury that requires hospitalisation and has a probability of death (at admission) of at least 6.9 percent. In other words, patients whose injuries give a survival probability of 93.1 percent or worse are included in the serious injury outcome indicators.
Work-related claims and ACC Work Account Entitlement claims Claims that have progressed past the medical fees only claim category. Compensation and support for returning to independence may have been required. Under the Accident Compensation Act 2001 (section 69), entitlements are:
  • rehabilitation, comprising treatment, social rehabilitation, and vocational rehabilitation
  • weekly compensation
  • lump sum compensation for permanent impairment
  • funeral grants, survivors’ grants, weekly compensation for the spouse or partner, children and other dependants of a deceased claimant, and childcare payments.
Serious harm Serious harm Schedule 1 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992.
Serious harm means death, or harm of a kind or description declared by the Governor-General by Order in Council to be serious for the purposes of the Act; and 'seriously harmed' has a corresponding meaning.
Until such an Order in Council is made, the following types of harm are defined in Schedule 1 as 'serious harm' for the purposes of the Act:
  • Any of the following conditions that amounts to or results in permanent loss of bodily function, or temporary severe loss of bodily function: respiratory disease, noise-induced hearing loss, neurological disease, cancer, dermatological disease, communicable disease, musculoskeletal disease, illness caused by exposure to infected material, decompression sickness, poisoning, vision impairment, chemical or hot-metal burn of eye, penetrating wound of eye, bone fracture, laceration, crushing.
  • Amputation of body part.
  • Burns requiring referral to a specialist registered medical practitioner or specialist outpatient clinic.
  • Loss of consciousness from lack of oxygen.
  • Loss of consciousness, or acute illness requiring treatment by a registered medical practitioner, from absorption, inhalation or ingestion of any substance.
  • Any harm that causes the person harmed to be hospitalised for a period of 48 hours or more commencing within seven days of the harm's occurrence.
The definition of serious harm is relevant to employers' duties to manage hazards, notification requirements, employees' rights to refuse to do dangerous work, and inspectors' powers to issue prohibition notices.
SWIFT Severe injury More than a week away from work (based on weekly compensation claims). ACC pays employees, shareholders and self-employed workers 80% of pre-incapacity income but it excludes the first week of incapacity (for employees this is paid by the employer).


More information

Injury Information Portal

Serious injury outcome indicators

Work-related claims

Serious harm

SWIFT: Used in selected publications (e.g. WorkSafe annual report)

ACC Injury Statistics Tool



This paper has been produced by WorkSafe New Zealand in collaboration with Statistics New Zealand, ACC, and MBIE.

Last updated 21 April 2017