Adult men made up more than half of injury hospitalisations in 2021–22

UNDER EMBARGO—until 12.01AM, Friday, 31 May, 2024

Content warning: This media release contains information some readers may find distressing as it refers to data about self-harm and deaths by suicide.

Adult Australian men made up more than half of both injury hospitalisations and emergency department injury presentations during 2021–22, new Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) data shows. 

Injuries affecting men in Australia: a closer look examines injuries in adult men aged 19 and over in 2021–22, as well as 10-year trends since 2012–13. It explores injury rates and comparisons across demographic groups and geographical areas, identifying the main cause of injuries in each group. It also identifies specific causes that predominantly affect men compared to women and examines three causes in more detail: contact with objects, transport and intentional self-harm. 

In 2021–22, there were almost 239,000 injury hospitalisations among adult men – 54% of all injury hospitalisations – and 8,700 injury-related deaths. Falls (84,139) caused the most injury hospitalisations overall in 2021–22, comprising 35% of all injury hospitalisations. This was followed by contacts with objects (19%) and transport (14%). 

Rates of injury hospitalisations during 2021–22 were highest among men aged 75 and over (5,600 per 100,000) than any other age group. 

“Among adults in Australia in 2021-22, men represented 56% of all injury presentations to emergency departments (671,000 cases),” AIHW spokesperson Dr Sarah Ahmed said. “This higher rate of injury can be explained at least in part by the fact that men are more likely to engage in risk taking behaviours and activities. 

Rates of injury presentations to emergency departments were highest among men aged 19–24 than in any other age group (10,600 per 100,000), followed by men aged 75 and over (7,800) and men aged 25–44 (nearly 7,400).

Contact with objects caused between 36,600 and 48,900 hospitalisations yearly over the past decade. Age-standardised rates increased from 428 per 100,000 in 2012–13 to 485 in 2021–22. Injuries caused by objects primarily occurred while working and were most frequent in the home. 

“Contact with tools and machinery represented 30% of injuries from contact with objects in men, and was also the leading cause of object-related injury in men aged 45 and over,” Dr Ahmed said. “Men were over 3 times more likely than women to be hospitalised for injuries caused by contact with objects.”

About 80% of all object-related injury hospitalisations comprised contact with tools and machinery, contact with knives, glass and other sharp objects and contact with blunt objects such as doors, walls, trees, rocks and sporting equipment. 

The three most common cause of injury hospitalisation due to tools and machinery involved contact with non-powered hand tools (2,119), powered saw (2,087) and powered grinder (1,972). 

“The number of injury hospitalisations caused by falls has steadily increased since 2012–13. The age-standardised rate increased from 673 to 790 injury hospitalisations per 100,000 adult men,” Dr. Ahmed said. 

Among adult men, those aged 19–24 were most likely to be hospitalised for transport injuries. For motorcycle riders, the injury rate was highest in men aged 19 to 24 (close to 200 injuries per 100,000) and decreased with age. Intentional self-harm caused over 7,500 hospitalisations in adult men in 2021–22 and 2,300 deaths. It represented the 7th leading cause of injury hospitalisation in men and the second most common cause of injury death behind falls (3,013). 

More information on AIHW injury data can be viewed here. 

Media enquiries: Stuart Turner, AIHW: Tel: 0415 403 208

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