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The manufacturing industry 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.

Our national approach

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.

For a number of years the manufacturing industry has consistently been among the top few industries with the highest number of serious claims. Since 2006–07, it has had the third highest incidence rate of serious claims of all industries.

  • The Strategy aims to reduce the incidence of serious injury by at least 30% by 2022, and reduce the number of work-related fatalities due to injury by at least 20%. The manufacturing industry will play a critical role in meeting these targets.

Since the Strategy launched, Safe Work Australia and all jurisdictions have been working collaboratively with the industry, unions, relevant organisations and the community to reduce traumatic injury fatalities and injuries in the manufacturing industry

Further advice

SWA is not a regulator and cannot advise you about work health and safety compliance in the manufacturing industry. If you need help, please contact your state or territory work health and safety authority.



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