Manufacturing Workers in focus

Modified on Mon, 16 Mar 2020 at 07:12 PM

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.

Employment Characteristics Data

Employment Characteristics


Employment Level - November 2019 ('000)


Employment Growth - Five years to November 2019 ('000)


Employment Growth - Five Years to November 2019 (%)


Male Share of Employment - Year to November 2019 (%)


Female Share of Employment - Year to November 2019 (%)


Full Time Share of Employment - Year to November 2019 (%)


Average Full Time Hours - November 2019


Median Weekly Earnings in Main Job - August 2019 ($)


Projected Employment Growth - Five Years to May 2024 ('000)


Projected Employment Growth - Five Years to May 2024 (%)


Sources: ABS, Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly, cat. no. 6291.0.55.003, trend. Average full time hours data is Department of Education, Skills and Employment trend; Earnings data are ABS, Characteristics of Employment Cat. No. 6333.0, August 2019; Department of Education, Skills and Employment, 2019 employment projections, five years to May 2024.

Source: Four quarter average and custom data based on ABS Labour Force, Australia, Cat no: 6291.0.55.003.

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