The 4WM Project: Work, worker, and workplace wellbeing in manufacturing

The 4WM Project: Work, worker, and workplace wellbeing in manufacturing is funded under WorkSafe’s WorkWell Mental Health Improvement Fund.  The Project focuses on the development of preventative measures that will foster greater psychosocial safety within workplaces. 


The Fund aims to promote health and wellbeing and prevent mental injury and illness by changing workplace cultures and practices.  Projects funded under this scheme contribute to building the evidence base on how to create and maintain mentally healthy workplaces. 


The 4WM Project will develop high quality resources, based on solid evidence and best practice research, for manufacturing workers and their employers to ensure the psychological safety and mental wellbeing of workers in the workplace.


Why manufacturing? Manufacturing is an industry at risk.


The 4WM Project project responds to the needs of the manufacturing industry to support their workers that have historically had low mental health and wellbeing outcomes due to work-related factors.

Industry in transition

7.7% decrease in employment

Over last 5 years


Manufacturing employees are exposed to a number work-related factors that contribute to work-related stress levels and an increased risk of mental health injury. 


Is the third largest fulltime

employer in Victoria


Predominately male workforce

majority aged in their early 40s


Research shows a low level of mental health literacy in this cohort


The manufacturing industry has one of the highest levels of worker’s compensation claims for mental health disorders

The project team will work with representatives/participants from the manufacturing industry and peak bodies to develop evidence-based resources for the prevention of workplace mental injury. 

In particular targeting:

  • poor organisational change management

  • low job control

  • high and low job demands, and

  • low social support

Rapid Context will undertake research with workers and employers at select trial sites, in order to develop evidence-based tools to enable manufacturing employers to respond to work-related factors impacting employee mental health and wellbeing at their root cause.  The project has three key phases:


Develop the evidence base


WorkWell Toolkit



sharing and evaluation

Develop the evidence base through active engagement with manufacturing employers and their workers.

Drawing on the learnings from phase 1 and an industry co-design roundtable will be used to inform the development of tailored manufacturing industry mental health content to supplement WorkSafe’s existing WorkWell Toolkit.

Strengthen and embed the findings of this project through extensive knowledge sharing.  Including through a series of manufacturing industry seminars in metro and regional areas, as well as the development and implementation of a monitoring and evaluation framework to ensure the long-term sustainability of the project.

Monitoring and evaluation of the Project’s impact runs across phases 2 and 3

About Rapid Context

Rapid Context is an experienced firm with significant experience and expertise providing a strategic research and advisory capability across a number of sectors including Defence and security, health, education, sport and arts. We focus on delivering robust evidence-based insights and analysis with a particular focus on organisational culture, organisational psychology and sociology.



Project Lead: Katherine Post, General Manager

Project Manager: Dr Tegan Donald, Senior Research Consultant


Rapid Context is committed to conducting its research and evaluation activities in accordance with the principles contained within the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007)(updated 2018). The 4WM Project meets the following key principles within the National Statement of: research merit and integrity; justice; beneficence; and respect. 

1. Victorian State Government. (2019). Advancing Victorian Manufacturing: A blueprint for the future. Available at:

2. Australian Government. (2019). Labour Market Information Portal: Manufacturing. Available at:

3. Watanabe, M. (2003). Stress management in manufacturing industries. Journal of occupational health, 45(1), 1-6.

4. 2016, Roche, A M., Pidd, K, Fischer, J A., Lee, N, Scarfe, A, Kostandinov, V (2016). Men, Work, and Mental Health: A Systematic Review of Depression in Male-dominated Industries and Occupations. Safety and Health at Work.doi: 10.1016/

5. Australian Government. (2019). Labour Market Information Portal: Manufacturing. Available at:


6.  PwC. (2014). Creating a mentally healthy workplace: Return on investment analysis. Available at: