Industry leaders to promote safety in manufacturing sector

SafeWork NSW has engaged industry leaders from the manufacturing sector to use experience and new workplace tools to establish a culture where safety starts at the top of the organisation.

SafeWork NSW director of WHS Metro, Sarina Wise, said with more than seven per cent of the state’s workforce employed in manufacturing, the workplace regulator was focusing its efforts on improving industry safety.

“This industry is one of the economy’s driving forces but we have work and safety incidents at almost twice the state average due to falls, being hit by an object or muscular stress,” she said.

“This program seeks to change perceptions about safety relating to some of the major risks the injury faces, including forklift safety and the importance of machine guards and their proper uses.

“We have four ambassadors from the industry who, through podcasts, workplace tools and direct messaging, will assist managers to understand the role they play in safety, and encourage those managers to be leaders in their workplace.”

The initiative will focus on educating and manufacturing workers, consultation and optimisation in manufacturing, designing safer workplaces and promoting the value of safer manufacturing workplaces.

The ambassadors of the program include Videon Glass WHS manager, Mark Peagam, Allied Pinnacle national WHS manager, Maria Hooker, Yates safety and sustainability business lead, Tamara Scanlan, and Bluescope Steel health and safety manager, Abby Ford.

“From 2013/14 through to 2015/16 more than 40,000 workers compensation claims were made, resulting in a cost to industry of $558 million, and saw a loss of more than 218,000 weeks at work,” Wise said.

“While we are seeing industry embrace SafeWork’s Manufacturing Work Health and Safety Sector Plan, activities like the Ambassadors will help build on the successes we have had in safety on the factory floor.”

In 2021, SafeWork inspectors across metropolitan Sydney and regional New South Wales are undertaking compliance activities, including random inspections of manufacturing businesses.