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A postgraduate research opportunity at the University of Otago.


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Academic background
Health Sciences
Host campus
Preventive and Social Medicine (Dunedin)
Dr Rebbecca Lilley


NZ's workplace fatality record is high compared to similar countries, with a rate twice that of Australia and four times that of the UK. The reasons for NZ's substandard performance are highly debated, and in-depth analysis to inform this debate is limited by a dearth of detailed fatality data. Vehicles are involved in the majority of fatal injury incidents in New Zealand yet little is known about the opportunities to prevent these deaths in a New Zealand context. This study aims to inform work-related injury prevention efforts for New Zealand by:

  • enumerating the fatal injury burden due to vehicles
  • identifying high risk groups and circumstances to prioritise and target preventive action


A work-related fatal injury dataset from 1975–2014 was created by collecting data for the period 1995–2014 using Coronial case files and appending this to existing data for 1975–1994. Data collection involved:

  1. identifying possible cases aged 0-85 years from Mortality record using selected external cause of injury codes
  2. linking these to Coronial case files, which were retrieved and reviewed for work-relatedness
  3. coding work-related cases. Work-related cases are classified as workers, bystanders, commuters or students

These data are available for secondary analyses utilising quantitative research methods.

Any interested students will be trained in the use of statistical analytical programmes to allow them to integrate the existing dataset.

Opportunities also exist to use qualitative methods to examine the circumstances of the fatal injury incident in more depth.


Rebbecca Lilley
Tel +64 3 479 7230

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