The New South Wales manufacturing industry is one of the driving forces behind the state’s economy. It employs seven percent of all employees in the state, and produces a wide range of goods that are integral to NSW workplaces and households.
Download the new Manufacturing sector plan
Each workplace will present different safety challenges. You need to know what the hazards are in your business so you can assess the risk they pose.
A 'hazard' is something that can cause injury or disease and the 'risk' is the likelihood of that hazard causing an injury or disease. You need to know what the hazards are so you can manage the risks.
To help you get started, we’ve prepared information on how to identify hazards and manage the risks common to the manufacturing industry.
ForkliftsForklift safety can be improved when workers and businesses work together.
FallsFatigue is more than feeling tired and drowsy, it is a state of mental and/or physical exhaustion that reduces a person’s ability to perform work safely and effectively.
ChemicalsManaging the risks associated with using hazardous chemicals is everyone’s responsibility.
NoiseLoud or hazardous noise can make hearing instructions or warning signals more difficult, leading to workplace injuries and incidents
Manual tasksHazardous manual tasks can put stress on the body and cause serious injury.
Electricity and powerElectricity can kill or severely injure people and cause damage to property. However, you can take simple measures when working with or near electricity and electrical equipment to reduce the risk of injury to you, your workers and others around you.
Mental healthIt is important to manage hazards that could result in psychological harm. These resources will assist you in managing mental health in your workplace.
At risk workersAt risk workers are people who could be at a greater risk of injury or illness while on the job.
Injuries in manufacturing are frequently severe and occasionally fatal.
7% of NSW employees are involved in manufacturing and the injury rate (54.5 per 1000 workers) is higher than the state average (28.1 per 1000 workers) costing $558 million over three years.
There were 24 fatalities in the three years between 1 July 2013 and 30 June 2016 involving:
- vehicle incidents
- being hit by a moving object
- long term contact with chemicals.
Across the industry, most injuries were:
- lacerations or open wounds
- soft tissue injuries due to trauma
- injuries or diseases affecting the hands, thumbs and fingers
- upper and lower back injuries or diseases.
And these injuries were caused by:
- being hit by falling objects
- musculus stress
These injuries resulted in 40,827 workers compensation claims resulting in 218,236 weeks lost work costing $13,669 per claim on average.
Our technical resources
As the work health and safety regulator in NSW, we maintain Codes of practice for most aspects of work, from first aid in the workplace, consultation processes, to handling of dangerous chemicals.
Some of the codes relevant to the manufacturing industry include:
Managing the risks of plant
Plant is a major cause of workplace death and injury in Australian workplaces. There are significant risks associated with using plant and severe injuries can result from the unsafe use of plant.
The code for managing the risks of plant provides practical guidance on how to manage health and safety risks of plant once it is in the workplace,
from plant installation, commissioning and use through to decommissioning and dismantling. It also includes information about specific control measures required under the WHS Regulations for plant generally.
Hazardous manual tasks
Get practical guidance on how to identify hazardous manual tasks and control the risks of workers being affected by musculoskeletal disorders.
How to manage work health and safety risks
Get practical guidance on managing risks to health and safety for those conducting a business or undertaking, including employers, self-employed, principal contractors, persons with management or control of a workplace, designers, manufacturers, importers and suppliers of plant, substances or structures that are used for work.
Get practical guidance on how to manage health and safety risks associated with welding. This code may also be relevant to manage the risks associated with allied processes such as metal preparation, metal cutting, gouging, brazing and soldering that need specific control measures.
For more guidance on allied process control measures refer to Health and Safety in Welding WTIA Technical Note No. 7.
Spray painting and powder coating
Get practical guidance on how to manage health and safety risks associated with spray painting or powder coating processes.
We also have information that will help you improve and review your risk management processes. This includes videos, checklists, training and supervisory information, and safety alerts.
Manufacturing safety guides
Keeping up to date
quick ways to find out safety info
Legislation and policies
links to legal and compliance info
Keeping up to date
Legislation and policies
Relevant legislation and policies for manufacturing
Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act)
Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017 (Regulation) - The Regulation defines the obligations both employers and workers have to health and safety in the workplace.
Our other safety support services
Remember you can always book a workplace advisory visit by one of our SafeWork inspectors who will help you identify hazards and develop risk management procedures.
And our mentor program, where other businesses work with you to improve safety in your workplace, is also a valuable addition to your risk management program.
You can also call us for assistance at any time on 13 10 50.