On average, almost nine people are injured while working in manufacturing every day and, sadly, 10 lives have been lost in the industry so far this year.
WorkSafe's OHS Essentials program is available to help make workplaces safer. It provides small to medium businesses access to independent consultants who give free, confidential and tailored safety advice.
Andrew O'Hara, who manages food manufacturing and runs bakeries in Melbourne, says the program has been invaluable in helping his business take a prevention-led approach towards workplace health and safety.
"As a business owner, we don't want to have any injuries, and somebody not coming home from work is one of the things that really concerns me," he said.
"The OHS Essentials program has been great for us. You save yourself an awful lot of time and money by engaging with resources like this upfront. They’re not here as an enforcement agency. They’re coaching."
OHS Consultant Theo Kanellos says the advice provided through the program is tailored to address safety challenges unique to each manufacturing business.
"It's free, confidential, and you get an expert in the field helping you protect your people," he said.
"We basically pick up risks and hazards that need to be addressed and we put them in an OHS Action Plan, and we also give you support material on how to actually fix those things."
Mr Kanellos encourages small businesses to apply for the program. "It will give you clarity and it will give you a sense of confidence that you've actually improved your workplace safety."
"You've got nothing to lose and everything to gain," he said.
The manufacturing industry has accounted for almost 14 per cent of all injury claims accepted by WorkSafe so far this year, with 2419 claims – the third highest of any industry.
The most common injuries in the manufacturing industry include musculoskeletal (867), wounds, lacerations and amputations (473), and traumatic tendon, muscle and ligament injury (389).
The leading causes of injury have been poor manual handling (1108), being hit by moving objects (516), and falls trips and slips (407).
WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety, Narelle Beer urged all businesses to sign up to the OHS Essentials program.
"Every worker has the right to get home safely at the end of the day," she said.
"The OHS Essentials program is a great way for business owners to receive free, independent and personalised advice on how to control the health and safety risks at their workplace."
To find out more or apply for the OHS Essentials program, visit: www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/ohsessentials
OHS Essentials program facts:
- In the 2020-21 financial year, 1120 businesses signed up to the OHS Essentials program.
- Of those businesses, 129 were in the manufacturing sector.
- OHS Essentials Consultants can confidentially assist businesses to identify hazards and injury risks; provide guidance on creating and maintaining a safe workplace; and work with manufacturing businesses to develop practical safety action plans.