Work-related injuries in the Australian education sector: A retrospective cohort study

Published:September 26, 2022DOI:


      • ·
        Educators had lower rates of injury claims than non-educators overall and shorter compensated disability durations.
      • ·
        However, educators had higher rates of claiming for mental health conditions and assault-related injuries.
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        Education aides had the longest disability duration and special educators had highest rate of compensable mental health conditions.
      • ·
        Both special educators and education aides had increased risk of assault-related injury claims.



      Educators are exposed to several work-related hazards. Evidence suggests musculoskeletal pain, psychological distress, and student-inflicted violence-related injuries are common. However, there is little evidence on the burden of workplace injury among Australian educators.


      To compare incidence of injury claims and duration of compensated time off work between educators and non-educators, and associated factors.


      Retrospective cohort study of 1,559,676 Australian workers’ compensation claims, including 84,915 educator claims, lodged between July 2009 to June 2015, from the National Dataset for Compensation-based Statistics. Cases were included if aged 18+ years and working in the education sector less than 100 h per week. Negative binomial regression models estimated the relative risk of making a compensation claim and survival analyses calculated disability duration within educators by sex, age, injury type and mechanism, socioeconomic area, remoteness, and jurisdiction.


      Compared to non-educators, educators had lower rates of injury claims and shorter disability durations. However, educators had a higher rate of claims for mental health conditions and assault, with the highest risk being among those in special education and education aides. Among educators, injury claim rates were highest among special educators, education aides, and secondary educators.

      Discussion and Conclusion

      Though surveys indicate Australians in the education sector have higher incidences of work-related injuries, this study found lower incidence of injury claims and shorter disability durations than others. Educators’ injury-reporting and absenteeism behaviors may be constrained by ethical, social, and administrative attitudes. Educators had higher rates of claims for mental health and assault-related injury, particularly special educators, and education aides, which suggests a need for targeted prevention efforts.


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