Manufacturing

The manufacturing industry has a high number of work-related deaths, injuries and illnesses. As a person conducting a business or undertaking, you have a duty to keep workers and workplaces safe from the risks associated with manufacturing.  

This page will assist you in understanding your duties under the model work health and safety laws, and direct you to supporting documentation.  

Manufacturing work 

Manufacturing includes a range of sub-industries. For example, manufacturing of: 

  • food and beverages  
  • textiles, leather, clothing and footwear 
  • wood, pulp, paper and converted paper  
  • primary and fabricated metal  
  • chemicals, petroleum and coal  
  • non-metallic minerals, polymers and rubber  
  • printing and recorded media 
  • vehicles, machinery, furniture and equipment. 

WHS duties  

Everyone in the workplace has WHS duties under the model WHS Act.  

You have specific duties if you are: 

  • a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) 
  • a principal contractor 
  • a designer, manufacturer, importer, supplier and installer of plant, substances or structures 
  • an officer. 

As a PCBU, you must, so far as is reasonably practicable:  

  • ensure the health and safety of workers and others at your workplace  
  • consult with workers who carry out work for the business or undertaking and who are (or are likely to be) directly affected by a health and safety matter, and 
  • consult cooperate and coordinate activities with all other relevant duty holders. 

The model WHS Regulations have duties that apply to manufacturing work. This includes managing the risks of plant, hazardous manual tasks, slips, trips, and falls from height. 

Managing risks  

You must, so far as is reasonably practicable, eliminate or minimise risks associated with manufacturing. This involves: 

  • identifying hazards—find out what could go wrong and what could cause harm. 
  • assessing risks if necessary—understand the harm each hazard could cause, how serious the harm could be and the likelihood of it happening. 
  • controlling risks—implement the most effective control measures that are reasonably practicable in the circumstances. 
  • reviewing control measures to ensure they are working as planned. 

Some of the most common manufacturing hazards are: 

Supporting information