Manufacturing Industry


Total number of employees in Australia Incident rate of serious claims /1000 employees Overall industry incident rate / 1000 employees Median time lost /serious claim Median payment increase / serious claim
1,096,000 24.1 13.5 3.2 weeks $5,800

Manufacturing Industry Overview

The manufacturing industry employs just over a million people across Australia, in 2007/08 there were 24,315 serious claims made by workers arising from accidents in the industry.

This accounted for 19% of all serious claims equating to 66 serious claims per day and almost 24.1 serious claims per 1000 employees. Manufacturing finished 2007/08 recording the third highest incidence rate of all industries.

Within the manufacturing industry, the machinery and equipment manufacturing accounted for the largest proportion of employees (23%) and the second largest proportion of serious claims (20%). Food, beverage and tobacco manufacturing lodged the largest proportion of serious claims (26%). The 6% of workers in the wood and paper manufacturing lodged 9% of claims in contrast the printing, publishing & media manufacturing accounted for 11% of all employees but lodged only 4% of serious claims.

In 6 of the 55 manufacturing industry groups the incidence rates were over 50 serious claims per 1000 employees, the highest being sheet metal product manufacturing at 84.8 serious claims per 1000 employees.

Employees in three occupation groups lodged 90% of the serious claims in the manufacturing industry, labourers and related workers (38%). Trades persons and related persons (32%) and intermediate production and transport workers (20%).

The most common cause of serious claims in the manufacturing industry accounting for 43% of all claims including 19% of claims in muscular stress while lifting, carrying, or putting down objects and 16% of claims muscular stress while handling objects other than lifting, carrying and putting down. Other causes were falls on the same level (9%) and being hit by moving objects (6%).

Over the five years between 2002 and 2007, the incidence rate has fallen by 6% to 26.7 serious claims per 1000 employees. The incidence rate for manufacturing in the last year of this survey was still double the all Industry average standing at 14.1 serious claims per 1000 employees.

The largest percentage increase in incidence rate was 11% in the petroleum, coal, chemical and associated product manufacturing subdivision, rising from 19 to 21 serious claims per 1000 employees.

In Other manufacturing divisions like prefabricated building materials, furniture, jewellery, toys and sporting goods, there was a 2% increase to 32.7 serious claims per 1000 employees. Since its peak of 92.6 serious claims per 1000 employees in 2004-2005 it has shown a 30% decrease.

Machinery and equipment declined by 2%, The electronic equipment manufacture rate fell by 32% over the same period, similarly, the incidence rate in the meat and meat products manufacturing fell by 23%, amounting to 16% decrease in the food, beverage and tobacco manufacturing sub division.

Metal product manufacturing had a 7% decrease although two sub divisions experienced increases, structural metal product manufacturing increased to 35% and steel metal product manufacturing rose to 23%. Currently the rate stands at 94.3 serious claims per 1000 employees.

Compensated fatalities in Transport and storage declined from 68 fatalities in 2002-03 to 46 in 2003-04 and rose again to 68 in 2007-08. Fatality incidence rates tracked changes in the number of compensated fatalities, but a 28% increase in employment in this industry over the period resulted in a 22 lower fatality incidence rate falling from 19.3 per 100,000 employees in 2003-04 to 15.1 fatalities per 100,000 employees in 2007-08. The fatality rate in Transport and storage makes it the highest of any industry division 2007-08 and six times the rate for all industries being 2.4 fatalities per 100,000 employees.

Of the 166 compensated fatalities between 2005-06 and 2007-08, 72% occurred in the road freight group. 63% were due to vehicle accident (105 of the 166 fatalities in the period). Truck drivers were involved in 90% of road freight transport fatalities and 68% of all compensated fatalities in the Transport and storage industry over the three-year period.

The compensated fatality incidence rate over the three-year period was 13 compensated fatalities per 100,000 employees, the highest of any industry and nearly five times the average of 2.7. In road freight transport group, the incidence rate was 32.9 compensated fatalities per 100,000 employees.

Incidence rates generally increased with employee’s age: from 5.9 compensated fatalities per 100,000 employees for those aged 15-24 years to 21.4 among those aged 55 years and over.

23 serious claims incidents were due to long-term contact with chemicals or other substances, and a further 18 were vehicle accident. Being hit by moving objects caused 13 of the compensated fatalities and being hit by falling objects, caused and additional 11 fatalities.

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