Skip to content

Meat processing compliance campaign 2022–2023 findings

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) conducted a state-wide meat processing industry engagement and enforcement campaign between June 2022 — February 2023.

The campaign aimed to prevent and minimise the risk of injuries to workers in high-risk meat processing workplaces and increase industry compliance. It focussed on meat processing workplaces with claims above the workers' compensation average industry rates and included meat abattoirs (medium and large), wholesale meat (large), and value adding small goods meat processing workplaces (large).

Key risks identified

The key work health and safety (WHS) risks identified during the campaign were:

  • unsafe handling and moving of objects
  • unsafe manual tasks
  • slips, trips and falls
  • falling objects and working at height without protection
  • inadequate plant guarding
  • amputation
  • cuts and lacerations
  • use of inadequate hand tools (knives and electric tools).

Campaign outputs

WHSQ inspectors assessed 48 meat processing workplaces and issued 142 enforcement actions for non-compliance including:

  • 116 improvement notices
  • two infringement notices ($7,200 fines incurred)
  • four prohibition notices
  • 20 immediate compliances (issues resolved during the inspection).

Campaign findings

The most frequent non-compliant issues identified were:

Area of non-complianceIssues
Plant equipment risk
  • not managing plant equipment risks (i.e. no guarding, exposed entanglement and entrapment points, no isolation or lockout/tagout (LOTO) process, uncontrolled risk of being hit by falling or moving objects, lack of maintenance on forklifts (damaged tyres, operator seat damaged).
System of work
  • no or inadequate system of work
  • not complying with system of work (i.e. safe system of work not followed)
  • no system or process to identify and report hazards.
Fall risk
  • not managing fall from height risks (i.e. no harness or fall protection).
Slip, trip and fall
  • not managing slip, trip and fall risks (i.e. falls from same level risks, cords on floors, and slippery floors).

Campaign recommendations for meat processors

  • Record all WHS risks and non-compliance issues in a risk register in order of priority, from very high, to low risk.
  • Regularly consult with workers and their health and safety representatives to identify hazards and risks and add these to a risk register.
  • Use the hierarchy of controls to implement control measures to manage risks in consultation with workers.
  • Implement a system to monitor and review the ongoing suitability and effectiveness of controls.
  • Communicate with all workers to ensure they understand the systems in place to manage risks. Ensure workers adhere to established systems, through effective supervision.
  • Train and educate workers (including on specific control measures) on how to manage key WHS risks. Consider the key risks identified in this campaign (i.e. workers not trained in LOTO procedures, workers not having access to locks, tags and equipment, plant not fitted with guards etc).


The following resources will assist you to improve safety processes and ensure compliance.


Codes of practice

Injury Prevention and Management Program

Take advantage of tailored, face-to-face advice provided by our Injury Prevention and Management (IPaM) advisors. IPaM advisors can assist to assess your systems and advise you on how to make improvements. The IPaM service is free for Queensland businesses. Register for IPaM now  to talk to an advisor or email for more information.

Further information

Contact WHSQ at or call 1300 362 128. Information on the labour hire licensing scheme can be found at