Suicide in the Australian Mining Industry: Assessment of Rates among Male Workers Using 19 Years of Coronial Data

By Tania King, Humaira Maheen, Yamna Taouk, Anthony D. LaMontagne

Published 6 March 2023

Key findings:

  • Evidence shows that mining workers are at a greater risk of suicide than other sectors.
  • More research is required to determine the best approach to suicide prevention for mining workers in Australia.

What’s the research gap?

Some occupational groups are known to be at higher risk of suicide than others. International evidence shows that mining workers are at a greater risk of suicide than other sectors. Literature suggests that individuals who work in the mines may be exposed to psychosocial job factors that increase suicide risk such as isolation, low job control, and high-pressure environment. There is little evidence about the incidence of suicide for mining workers in Australia.

What was done?

Researchers reviewed data from 2001 to 2019 from the National Coronial Information System to determine suicide deaths during this time period. Data was coded against a number of variables including age group, location, and against 5-year time periods to help determine any trends over time.

What was found?

The suicide rate for male mining workers in Australia was estimated to be between 11 and 25 per 100,000 (likely closer to 25 per 100,000) over the period of 2001- 2019. There was also evidence that the suicide rate among mining workers is increasing.

For the period of 2012- 2019, the suicide rate in mining workers was found to be lower than the suicide rate in construction workers, but was still higher compared to the suicide rate in miners for the earlier time periods.

Why are findings important?

If we know that suicide rates for Australian mining workers are higher than other industries, then we can work to better understand risk and protective factors for Australian mining workers and develop evidence-based suicide prevention initiatives and activities that supports prevention of suicide in this industry.