While diverse in the tasks they perform, most manufacturing companies make components - manufactured parts and assemblies - that are used by other manufacturers and progressivelyturned into a huge range of vehicles, electrical goods, construction, clothing or food products.

Often manufacturers must comply with health and safety Requirements of end customers or the parent company. Increasingly local manufacturing subsidiaries of national or multinational companies are required to develop and implement Safety Management Systems which comply with AS4/NZS 4801 or OHSAS 18001. Contract prequalification as part of supply chain management is becoming gradually more complex and focussed on safety. Managers and HR staff often need assistance to understand 'how to comply' and the practical expertise to reduce the risk and costs of injury.

Hazards and risks found in a manufacturing workplace will depend upon the type and frequency of the manufacturing task being performed. Most of the injuries observed in the manufacturing environment fall into two types; Musculoskeletal disorders and crush injuries, cuts and lacerations. Hazards found in many manufacturing workplaces can include:

  • plant and equipment
  • manual tasks
  • exposure to hazardous substances
  • exposure to electricity
  • exposure to extreme heat
  • work at heights or in confined spaces
  • exposure to noise

Managers and HR staff need assistance to understand 'how to comply' and to how to implement programs to reduce the risk and costs of injury. ASI can help with the identification and assessment of risks, the implementation and monitoring of effective, practical risk controls.

Our experience in the Manufacturing industry

Case study 1: ASI was engaged by a medium sized concrete product manufacturer due to an Improvement Notice applied by the state regulator and the high frequency of low cost injuries. The injuries were due to manual tasks, cuts and abrasions.

Our consultant assisted the organisation to recognise that poor safety management and an unsafe work environment was a contributing to the high turnover of staff. High turnover rates are costly within manufacturing.

The range of services we provided included:

  • working closely with managers to review operations and manage workplace hazards and risks
  • completing complex risk assessments
  • developing SOPs for high risk tasks
  • creating a Safety Management System

As a result, the client has:

  • improved working conditions
  • reduced the injury frequency rate
  • increased staff retention
  • improved the efficiency of operations due to standardisation

The client has subsequently employed a Quality Manager to continuously improve processes as a result of the perceived value of the ASI assistance.

Case study 2: ASI assisted a medium sized steel fabrication company that was incurring high costs as a result of injuries related to manual tasks. Using practical knowledge of the Regulations and the Code of Practice for Manual Tasks, the Consultant worked with the management team to review operations, identify and assess high risk manual tasks prior to implementing engineering controls to eliminate the risks.

The company benefitted from a reduction in the frequency, severity and cost of musculo-skeletal injuries and an improvement in the safety climate and culture of the organisation.