30% of manufacturing workers regarded risks as unavoidable.Because of the large numbers of deaths  and injuries  and the inherently hazardous nature of some tasks the manufacturing industry is a priority industry in the Australian Work, Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2022.

While  some information on the industry’s health  and safety performance is available, there  is a lack of information on work health  and safety attitudes and perceptions among workers and employers in this industry.

Safe Work Australia analysed  existing data on the manufacturing industry from seven quantitative surveys  and one qualitative study which were  conducted between 2000 and 2014 across Australia. These surveys  collected a wide  range  of data including from CEOs, supervisors, workers, employers, and importantly the often hard to reach small and medium businesses.

This research identified areas for future national research and intervention. It found:

  • increased support for small manufacturing businesses  is needed for them to undertake some of the more  complex work health  and safety activities
  • time pressures  and the view  that  some risks are unavoidable may be barriers to health  and safety in the manufacturing industry.

For further information visit the Safe Work  Australia website or view  the profile report of the Work health and safety perceptions: Manufacturing industry.

Some of the findings for the manufacturing industry are:

Employers Workers
  • 20 per cent of manufacturing employers accept risk taking if the work schedule is tight.
  • 40 per cent of workers agreed that they accept risk taking if the work schedule is tight.
  • 13 per cent of employers believed that some risks are unavoidable.
  • 30 per cent of manufacturing workers regarded risks as unavoidable.
  • 11 per cent of manufacturing workers reported they break safety rules to complete work on time.
  • 100 per cent of manufacturing employers surveyed reported that they always consider workers’ suggestions on safety.
  • 23 per cent of manufacturing workers believed that their suggestions for improving health and safety are not considered.
  • In 2014, the ‘workers being careless’, ‘just not thinking’ and ‘unsafe work practices and procedures’ were  the three most frequently nominated reasons  for work-related injury and illness by manufacturing businesses.
  • When workers were  asked  a similar question in 2012, the top three reasons  they nominated were  ‘dangerous equipment or machinery’, ‘just not thinking’ and ‘lack of education and training’.

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