By Simon Keir, Westlawn Senior Insurance Specialist 18 March 2014
A little morbid perhaps, but fascinating nonetheless, that’s the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS’) annual reports into how people died during the year.
In 2012, a total of 147,098 Australians died. This was up by 166 on the previous year but at a rate of 5.5 for every 1,000 people in Australia, slightly down on the death rate in 2011.
As can be expected, the main killer in 2012 was cancer (42,961) followed by heart disease and stroke which killed 38,743 Australians.
But it’s the bizarre ways in which Australians die accidentally each year that provides for some fascinating reading. Here are some of the strangest as reported in a November 2013 news.com.au article: The weird ways Australians die with information sourced from the ABS’ 2011 report.
Beware whilst in the bush. In 2011, a total of 9 Australians died from accidents on horse drawn vehicles, 15 deaths involved tractors or other farm machinery and a further 17 died from accidents involving off road vehicles.
Public transport, however, was relatively safe in comparison with only one person dying whilst travelling by train, and 4 while taking the bus.
Falls accounted for a large number of accidental deaths with 8 people falling from cliffs and 41 falling from buildings. Twenty-six Australians fell off a chair and died, while 3 deaths resulted from falling off ice skates, skis or skateboards. Surprisingly, 58 people died just from falling out of bed. Slipping, tripping or tumbling killed a total of 715 people.
And perhaps most bizarrely of all, 4 men died in 2011 as a result of “bumping into another person”. Incidentally, this is the same number as that recorded for fatal shark attacks in Australian waters during 2011.
It wasn’t all bad news though. According to the ABS, no Australians died in 2011 from human stampede, earthquake or avalanche. Similarly, there were no deaths from being bitten by a rat or being struck by sports equipment.
Contact with a hot water tap is more deadly than a venomous spider, and you are 9 times more likely to drown in the bath than being killed in a train crash.
You’re 8 times more likely to die falling off a chair than a skateboard, and just as likely to die from being bitten by a person as by a dog.
You’re 3 times more likely to die in front of a moving object if you’re male.
Climatically speaking, you’re twice as likely to die from the cold as the heat.
It’s safer to travel by plane than by boat as you’re 3 times more likely to die from water transport accidents than “air and space” accidents.
Accidents will happen, so make sure you have your life and disability insurance up to date … just in case you fall out of bed or bump into somebody.
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