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WorkCover to target safety in wood component manufacturing industry

WorkCover NSW has announced a new project to reduce workplace injuries and illnesses and improve injury management in the wood component manufacturing industry after it was identified among the State’s highest risk industries.
The Wooden Structural Component Manufacturing Project is part of WorkCover’s new flagship work health and safety program, 10/5/5, which involves working with the NSW community to improve safety in the State’s 10 highest risk industries.
General manager of WorkCover’s Work Health and Safety Division, John Watson, said the project aimed to assist employers and workers to make their workplaces more productive, healthy and safe.
“The wooden structural component manufacturing industry manufactures and sells a variety of products including wooden doors, kitchen cabinets, roof trusses and windows,” Watson said.
“In the past three years it has had $19.5 million in workers compensation claims, placing it among the State’s 10 highest risk industries. In fact, there have been 1,965 claims for a range of injuries and illness, the most common being muscular injuries when carrying or putting down timber, and wounds from industrial guns or saws.”
Watson said like many manufacturing industries, the industry faced pressures on a number of fronts.
“Businesses are competing with cheaper imports as well as a high Australian dollar and higher taxes compared to their overseas peers,” he said.
“In an industry dominated by small businesses with fewer than 20 employees and an ageing workforce, young workers still make up almost a third of all workers compensation claims.”
As part of the project, WorkCover will visit 45 wood manufacturing businesses in the Hunter, Illawarra and metropolitan Sydney over the next fortnight to compare risks identified by WorkCover with what employers and workers are experiencing at their worksites as well as the possible barriers to improving safety.
“Every worker wants to return home safely at the end of the working day and WorkCover recognises that the support of employers and workers is essential to developing effective work health and safety solutions,” Watson added.
“Feedback from the visits will help us identify and develop safety programs that can reduce injuries and illnesses within this industry.
“The 10/5/5 program is about working with employers to develop relevant and effective work health and safety improvements and sustainable injury management, return to work and workers compensation outcomes.”