The manufacturing employs approximately 912,500 persons (ABS trend data), which accounts for 7.0 per cent of the total workforce, and has a high number of work-related fatalities, injuries and illnesses.
From 2003 to 2015, manufacturing had the fourth highest proportion of fatalities according to industry type, representing 9% (275) of all worker fatalities.
Particularly concerning was that young workers (15–24 year olds) in the manufacturing industry recorded an injury rate 44% higher than young workers in the Australian workforce as a whole.
View the Manufacturing: Priority industry snapshot for an overview of the industry and its WHS performance.
Risks associated with manufacturing
Inherent risks associated with working in the manufacturing industry include:
- body stressing, manual handling and musculoskeletal disorders
- slips trips and falls
- working with dangerous machinery and equipment.
Between 2007–08 to 2011–12:
- Body stressing represented 41% of workers’ compensation claims. Many of these were due to muscular stress while lifting, carrying, or putting down crates/boxes, barrels and other containers as well as handling metal products.
- Being hit by moving objects accounted for 18% of claims. More than half of these involved materials, substances and equipment falling or moving into the worker’s path.
- Falls, trips and slips accounted for 15% of claims. Most involved stairs or falling over objects in traffic areas.
The Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012–2022 has identified the manufacturing industry as a priority to reduce fatalities due to the high number and rate of work-related injuries and illnesses.
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