Woord manufacturingThe manufacturing industry has been identified nationally as one of the highest risk industries. In New South Wales (NSW) wood products manufacturing (roof/frame trusses, kitchen and joinery) is one of the highest risk sectors.

Through the Focus on Industry Program WorkCover NSW is delivering a range of initiatives to improve workplace health and safety, injury management and return to work outcomes for the wood product industry.

This includes:

  • Undertaking a pre-intervention survey to establish a benchmark.
  • Developing safety guides to target:
    • poor layout, lifting, repetitive tasks at the workshop
    • unloading, moving, installing finished products at client sites
    • machine / powered-tool guarding
    • exposure to wood dust and noise, and
    • injury management and return to work.
  • Workplace visits from WorkCover NSW inspectors to raise awareness of these issues by providing support, advice, specific guides and solutions for high risk organisations within the sector.
  • Conducting the Safety Coach Pilot Program where WorkCover NSW funded safety consultants from industry partners to provide two free visits to business and offer practical health and safety advice. These visits involve a three hour assessment and a follow up visit to help small businesses implement recommended actions. Businesses who participated were also eligible for a $2000 rebate from WorkCover NSW to assist in implementing safety solutions.

Around 25 per cent of WorkCover NSW policy holders in the wood products manufacturing sector were visited by WorkCover NSW inspectors and all policy holders were mailed the safety guides.

As part of the Safety Coach Pilot Program 50 safety coach visits were made available to small businesses in 2013 within the Wollongong, Sydney, Central Coast and Newcastle areas.

Initial feedback indicates businesses welcomed the inspector's short, sharp visit approach and appreciated the time and attention. Interactions were generally positive with some inspectors invited to workshops to discuss specific issues. Similarly the Safety Coach Pilot Program was welcomed by industry partners, associations and businesses.

A post-intervention survey of the Focus on Industry Program wood manufacturing project is currently being undertaken. Results are expected in June 2014.

Additional information collected during the project is also being analysed with an annual review of longer term outcomes being conducted for the next three years.

The evaluation of the Safety Coach Pilot Program is also currently underway.

More information

For more information on WorkCover NSW's Focus on Industry Program visit the SafeWork NSW website.

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