The most dangerous jobs in Australia -- and what they pay

Photo: Ian Forsyth/ Getty Images.

Certain jobs are more dangerous than others, but as it turns out, the Australian jobs with the most fatalities are also among the lowest paid.

Jobs website Adzuna has analysed data compiled by Safe Work Australia from 2003 to 2015, along with current salary information collected on their platform, to find Australia’s most dangerous jobs, and what they pay.

Adzuna focused on the “breakdown agency” in the report, which identifies the object, substance or circumstance principally involved at the point at which things started to go wrong.

Their analysis found that mobile plant and transport jobs, and jobs working at heights, were the most dangerous careers.

Jobs within the mobile plant and transport category accounted for 61% of fatalities between 2003 and 2015, with 53% of fatalities in 2015 alone.

Within this group, trucks, semi-trailers or lorries were the biggest contributor accounting for 18% of all worker fatalities. Followed by cars, station wagons, vans or utilities with 9%, and tractors with 4%.

The highest paid job in this category was that of an excavator operator, earning $76,756 per annum. The lowest paid was a tractor operator, on a salary of $50,400.


Jobs where employees work from heights accounted for 11% of fatalities between 2003 and 2015, with 359 worker fatalities over the 13-year period. In 2015, 26 workers died working from heights.

Builders ranked as the highest paid job in this category, earning $87,740 a year, while arborists came in at the bottom of the list with a salary of $58,920.


“The highest number of deaths and injuries actually occur in more day to day jobs, such as truck driving, or jobs working at heights in construction,” says Adzuna CEO Raife Watson. “These jobs do not attract the big pay packets.”

Watson also mentioned these jobs were vulnerable to the threat of robots.

“Many of these jobs will be replaced by automation in the coming years, whereas careers in healthcare, which involves high degrees of human interaction and critical thinking, will continue to be in demand and attract higher salaries,” he said.

The state the job is performed in also reflects on how dangerous the work is.

For example, the Northern Territory, Tasmania and Queensland are the most dangerous states to work. These states also attract the lowest average advertised salaries.


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