Manufacturing: Safety basics

Understand the common hazards and risks in manufacturing, and ways to make work safer.


Manufacturing in Victoria

Providing a safe working environment can make for a better, more efficient manufacturing business. The manufacturing sector in Victoria includes food, metal, printing, textiles, synthetics, wood and other products. It employs trainees and apprentices, tradespeople, and office workers. It includes young workers and also many workers who speak languages other than English.

Common hazards and risks in manufacturing

  • injuries from dangerous machinery and equipment (plant)
  • strain from repetitive tasks, such as production line work
  • exposure to dangerous goods or hazardous substances
  • injuries from lifting, pushing and pulling heavy loads
  • handling heavy tools and equipment
  • being hit by moving objects, like forklifts
  • noisy machinery
  • slips, trips and falls


Involving your employees in health and safety issues can result in a safer workplace. That's why consultation is an important part of risk management. In certain situations employers must consult about health and safety issues with employees and health and safety representatives (HSRs) if they have them.

Risk management process

  1. Find the hazards in your workplace.
  2. Assess the risks associated with those hazards. You don’t have to do a formal risk assessment if there is already information about the risk and how to control it.
  3. Control the risks.
  4. Monitor and review your risk controls. Revise the controls if they are not working.

Health and safety legal duties

Under Victorian occupational health and safety law, there are specific duties to ensure health and safety in workplaces. For more information about your duties, see occupational health and safety – your legal duties.


Examples of employer duties:

  • For your employees, you must provide and maintain a working environment that is safe and free of risks to health, so far as is reasonably practicable. Employees may include contractors and agency staff.
  • Give your employees the necessary information, instruction, training or supervision to enable them to do their work in a way that is safe and without risks to health.
  • Ensure that the conduct of your business does not endanger other people (including visitors, the public and other workers).
  • Report notifiable incidents to WorkSafe.


Examples of employee duties:

  • Take reasonable care for your health and safety in the workplace. You must also take reasonable care for the health and safety of others who may be affected by what you do or don’t do.
  • Cooperate with your employer about any action they take to comply with the OHS Act or Regulations. For example, use equipment properly, follow safe work policies and procedures and attend training.
  • Don’t intentionally or recklessly interfere with or misuse anything at the workplace to support health, safety and welfare.