The research showed 32 percent of manufacturing workers were at high risk of developing type two diabetes compared to those in the professional, scientific and technical services at 18.3 percent.
These figures were compiled by WorkSafe Victoria which has conducted more than 40,000 voluntary WorkHealth checks on manufacturing worker, testing their cholesterol, blood pressure and lifestyle behaviours.
The results revealed that 6.1 percent of manufacturing workers are at high risk of heart disease, compared to 3.1 percent of white collar workers. Twenty five point two percent of the blue collared workers smoked, compared to 13.6 percent of professionals.
WorkHealth Ambassador Wayne Kayler-Thomson said that the turnaround can be attributed to the changing nature of the manufacturing industry where jobs are becoming more sedentary because of new technology.
On the other hand, white collar workers as well as their employers have taken action to improve their health by taking initiatives like healthier food choices in their cafeterias, encouraging workers to ride bikes to work and other health practices.
Mr Kayler-Thomson said the manufacturing industry must also catch up and take similar actions.
“They are really simple, cost-effective things that employers can do straight away – such as providing facilities to enable riding to work, stretch programs at the start of every shift, or longer-term health related competitions and challenges,” said Mr Kayler-Thomson.