Health at Work

Ensuring healthy conditions at work is an important health policy task. Identifying workplace-related health risks and problems helps to set appropriate measures, like workplace health management and occupational medical interventions.

In the 2013 ad hoc module of the microcensus labour force survey of Statistics Austria data on accidents at work, work-related health problems and health risks at work were collected. Analyses on this topic can be found in the publication "Arbeitsunfälle und arbeitsbezogene Gesundheitsprobleme 2013"; the data sets for the module can be ordered by e-mail to

The Umbrella Association of Social Insurance Institutions keeps annually updated statistics on approved insurance cases related to occupational activity (accidents at work, accidents while travelling and occupational diseases). You can find further information on the homepages of the AUVA (general accident insurance institution) and the Umbrella Association of Social Insurance Institutions.

Health risks at work

According to the 2013 ad hoc module survey, around 3.3 million employed persons were exposed to at least one physical and/or psychological risk factor at work. This corresponds to about 80% of all employed respondents (grossed up to approximately 3.3 million people) indicated to be exposed to at least one physical and/or mental health risk at work. 70% of respondents cited physical health risks, 40% complained about mental health risks. Potentially stressful working conditions affected men more frequently than women. There may however be a structural rationale behind, as the share of men working in physically strenuous conditions is higher than for women. Health risks at work rise with increasing age, largely due to the age distribution of mental health risk factors.

The most important physical health risk factors were eye fatigue, ergonomic health risks and danger of accident. Activities putting great strain to the eyes were mentioned most frequently (35.0%) as physical health risk factor. More than a quarter of respondents reported to handle heavy loads, to have to adapt to difficult working positions and/or to be exposed to the danger of accidents. More than another fifth had to work under the influence of noise, dust and heat. 15% were exposed to cold at work, while about 12% had to handle chemical substances. The influence of burdens like humidity, emissions, strong vibrations, cigarette smoke, smoke, or vapours was comparatively less important.

The risk factor most frequently mentioned, however, was time pressure or excessive stress. Almost 40% felt being exposed to this risk factor for mental well-being at work. Other mental risk factors brought up were violence or threat to use violence at work (4%) and harassment or mobbing (3%). Around half the people active in the health sector mentioned at least one mental risk factor at work, the same share as for people working in transport and in communications. In public service and the finance sector, about 44% of persons indicated being affected by mental health risks.

Work-related health problems

In the 2013 ad hoc module all persons ever economically active were asked on work-related health problems, including those who had been out of work for a longer period of time.

15.6% of the respondents interviewed (grossing up to 1 021 000 people) indicated at least one work-related health problem, 4.0% (260 000 people) mentioned multiple problems. Their occurrence generally increased with the age of the respondents. Men slightly more often reported work-related health problems than women. Migrants from former Yugoslavia and from Turkey were particularly affected by work-related health problems.

Respondents indicating multiple work-related health problems in the year preceding the survey were asked to specify the most serious problem. Almost one third stated back problems, about one fifth reported problems with neck, shoulders, arms or hands. About 16% declared problems with hips, legs or feet. Four to six per cent of respondents cited stress, depressions or anxiety, problems with lungs or respiratory difficulties as well as heart problems as their most serious work-related health problems. Summarising the above, bone, joint or muscle problems, stress and depressions were the work-related health problems occurring most frequently.

With a share of more than a quarter, people actively or formerly employed in agriculture and forestry were most frequently affected by work-related health problems. High shares would also be noted for respondents (formerly) employed in construction as well as in human health and social work activities.

Accidents at work

As already mentioned, 4.2% of all people (ever) being economically active reported to have had at least one accident at work during the year preceding the Labour Force Survey (ad-hoc module 2013) of Statistics Austria. This corresponds to a projected number of 186 600 people being concerned. The frequency of accidents was significantly correlated with the sex of respondents: seven out of ten victims of a work-related accident were men, only three were women. This fact is also confirmed by the work accident statistics of the Austrian Social Insurance Institution. The most frequent causes of accidents were faulty handling of machines and tools. Excessive time pressure and unsafe ground conditions were mentioned as further frequent reasons.

For the year 2018, 109,997 occupational accidents are documented by the social insurance institutions. The number of accidents at work has decreased by about one-seventh in the past two decades (1998: 128,244 cases); the rate per 100,000 insured persons also fell from 3,016.5 to 2,234.9 cases. The number of fatal work accidents declined by 35.9% over the same period (1998: 231 cases). Compared to the previous year, the accident rate rose again by 3.9%: The total number of accidents at work increased by 2.3% from 2017 to 2018, and the number of fatal accidents at work grew from 131 to 148.

Recognised occupational illnesses and commuting accidents

In 2018, AUVA approved a total of 125,862 insurance claims in conjunction with employment (not including accidents of pupils and students), of which 280 were lethal. In addition to 109,997 accidents at work in the strict definition of the term, the insurance events also included 14,494 commuting accidents (including 29 fatal ones) and 1,371 occupational illnesses (including 103 mortal). The rate of recognized insured cases fell over the last twenty years from 3,352.6 cases to 2,476.7 cases per 100,000 insured persons.

The number of commuting accidents increased by 13.0% over the last two decades (from 12,828 in 1998 to 14,494 in 2018). On the other hand, the number of deaths due to accidents while commuting fell from 76 to 29 during this period.

Occupational illnesses account for a relatively small proportion of recognised insurance claims (around one percent); their number ranged from 1,371 (2018) to 1,932 (2009) in the last twenty years. However, there is a rising trend in mortal occupational diseases: Their number has more than quintupled since 1998.In 2018, 7.5% of all officially approved occupational diseases had caused deaths (1998: 1.4%).

Microcensus Ad-hoc module 2013 "Accidents at work, work-related health problems and health risks at work"

Results (overview): Work-related health problems, risks, accidents at work 2007 and 2013

Approved insurance cases (Umbrella Association of Social Insurance Institutions)

Results (overview): Insured events in statutory accident insurance since 1975
Insurance events in statutory accident insurance 2018 by category of insured persons and sex

Health at WorkPrice in € *)Free Download


Arbeitsunfälle und arbeitsbezogene Gesundheitsprobleme 2013
The present publication contains results on the ad-hoc module 2013 on “Accidents at work and work-related health problems“. Central issues are health risk factors at work, amount and type of ...

Release date: 11/2014 ISBN:978-3-902925-48-0




(PDF, 4 MB)


Arbeitsunfälle und arbeitsbezogene Gesundheitsprobleme 2007
The publication contains results of the LFS ad hoc module 2007 on 'Accidents at Work and work-related Health Problems'. The central topics of the survey are occupational accidents, diseases and ...

Release date: 3/2009 ISBN:978-3-902587-89-3




(PDF, 2 MB)

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