Simple steps to safety self-audit tool

This tool is designed to help you to assess your current health and safety practices and to identify any areas which you can improve. The tool will assist with creating and implementing an action plan and provides information on where you can go and who you can contact to get help with work health and safety.

Your results

Progress Bar Graphic
Getting started
Talking with your team
Managing hazards and risks
Focusing on work health and wellbeing
Training and supervision
Maintaining a safe and healthy workplace
Document, report and improve
1. Getting started
Getting started
2. Talking with your team
Talking with your team
3. Managing hazards and risks
Managing hazards and risks
4. Focusing on work health and wellbeing
Focusing on work health and wellbeing
5. Training and supervision
Training and supervision
6. Maintaining a safe and healthy workplace
Maintaining a safe and healthy workplace
7. Document, report and improve
Document, report and improve
Start
Progress Bar Graphic
Getting started
Talking with your team
Managing hazards and risks
Focusing on work health and wellbeing
Training and supervision
Maintaining a safe and healthy workplace
Document, report and improve
1. Getting started
Getting started
2. Talking with your team
Talking with your team
3. Managing hazards and risks
Managing hazards and risks
4. Focusing on work health and wellbeing
Focusing on work health and wellbeing
5. Training and supervision
Training and supervision
6. Maintaining a safe and healthy workplace
Maintaining a safe and healthy workplace
7. Document, report and improve
Document, report and improve
Next
Getting started

Successful safety cultures are led from the top, where your actions and attitudes send a message to the people who work in your business that you are serious about their health and safety.

Effective safety management in a workplace requires an involvement from everyone to make it safe. To do this successfully, people need to understand their responsibilities and how they can meet them.

Employers can help develop a good safety culture by:

  • talking with the people who work in the business about safety related issues
  • developing and implementing safe work procedures
  • training the people who work in the business on safe work practices
  • making sure tools, plant and equipment are safe to use, regularly serviced and maintained in good working order
  • supplying workers with appropriate safety equipment for the job
  • leading by example.

1. Are safety responsibilities clearly defined and understood by managers and workers?
2. Is sufficient time, money and resources allocated to meet safety responsibilities?
3. Do managers promote safety as a high priority?
4. Do managers lead by example?
Next
Progress Bar Graphic
Getting started
Talking with your team
Managing hazards and risks
Focusing on work health and wellbeing
Training and supervision
Maintaining a safe and healthy workplace
Document, report and improve
1. Getting started
Getting started
2. Talking with your team
Talking with your team
3. Managing hazards and risks
Managing hazards and risks
4. Focusing on work health and wellbeing
Focusing on work health and wellbeing
5. Training and supervision
Training and supervision
6. Maintaining a safe and healthy workplace
Maintaining a safe and healthy workplace
7. Document, report and improve
Document, report and improve
Back
Next
Talking with your team

Talking with your team, or consultation is about involving and developing your organisation’s workers. Workers that feel involved in decisions that affect them are more engaged with the business and the organisation is far less vulnerable to misunderstanding, rumour and resentment. In a modern business workers should not only be aware of what they should be doing but also why they should be doing it.

The people who work in your business are often the best people to understand the risks of the workplace. Seeking their input when making decisions shows them that you take their health and safety seriously and that you value their efforts. One of the benefits to this is that you can address potential problems before they arise.

Consultation can occur through staff meetings, toolbox talks or even a health and safety committee. General work health and safety information can be delivered through noticeboards, emails or newsletters.

1. Are safety issues discussed with workers?
2. Are workers involved in making safety decisions and developing procedures?
3. Are workers’ views valued and taken into account?
Back
Next
Progress Bar Graphic
Getting started
Talking with your team
Managing hazards and risks
Focusing on work health and wellbeing
Training and supervision
Maintaining a safe and healthy workplace
Document, report and improve
1. Getting started
Getting started
2. Talking with your team
Talking with your team
3. Managing hazards and risks
Managing hazards and risks
4. Focusing on work health and wellbeing
Focusing on work health and wellbeing
5. Training and supervision
Training and supervision
6. Maintaining a safe and healthy workplace
Maintaining a safe and healthy workplace
7. Document, report and improve
Document, report and improve
Back
Next
Managing hazards and risks

Part of managing health and safety in the workplace is controlling the risks. In order to do this you will need to accurately identify potential hazards.

Ask yourself and your workers what it is about the activities, processes, items of plant or substances you use that could injure or harm someone. Remember hazards at work include things that could harm the psychological health of workers such as excessive work demands, workplace bullying and violence.

Having identified potential hazards you’ll need to first consider if they can be eliminated. If this is not possible, then consider the risks involved and put measures in place to minimise (control) them.

Finding safety solutions can be as simple as asking your workers for ideas, looking at information available from designers and manufacturers, getting help from industry groups or considering relevant codes of practice.

1. Have all hazards been identified and their risks evaluated?
2. Have all identified hazards and risks been controlled to eliminate or minimise their impact?
3. Have safe work procedures been developed and implemented for all tasks?
4. Are safe work procedures regularly reviewed for effectiveness?
Back
Next
Progress Bar Graphic
Getting started
Talking with your team
Managing hazards and risks
Focusing on work health and wellbeing
Training and supervision
Maintaining a safe and healthy workplace
Document, report and improve
1. Getting started
Getting started
2. Talking with your team
Talking with your team
3. Managing hazards and risks
Managing hazards and risks
4. Focusing on work health and wellbeing
Focusing on work health and wellbeing
5. Training and supervision
Training and supervision
6. Maintaining a safe and healthy workplace
Maintaining a safe and healthy workplace
7. Document, report and improve
Document, report and improve
Back
Next
Focusing on work health and wellbeing

Given we spend about a third of our lives at work, the work environment can have a significant impact on our health and wellbeing. The aim is for work to be a positive contributor to our health. A healthy workplace is where health and wellbeing is viewed as important and managers and workers discuss ideas for promoting a healthy workplace.

When it comes to work health and wellbeing, risk factors include physical inactivity, unhealthy eating, harmful alcohol consumption, smoking and poor mental health. An effective health and wellbeing program takes into consideration the impact that the workplace culture, work environment and type of work can have on the health of workers, as well as putting in place health promotion activities or initiatives.

1. Is the health (physical and mental health) and wellbeing of workers a priority and are plans and programs in place to promote health and wellbeing?
2. Is the reporting of workplace issues that could contribute to work-related stress encouraged (e.g. heavy workloads, fatigue, poor workplace relationships)?
3. Do managers educate workers on acceptable workplace behaviour and conduct for the prevention of workplace bullying and harassment?
4. Are health promotion activities conducted at the workplace that encourage healthy lifestyle options and to support emotional wellbeing (e.g. RUOK Day/beyondblue support, quit smoking, healthy eating, physical activity)?
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Next
Progress Bar Graphic
Getting started
Talking with your team
Managing hazards and risks
Focusing on work health and wellbeing
Training and supervision
Maintaining a safe and healthy workplace
Document, report and improve
1. Getting started
Getting started
2. Talking with your team
Talking with your team
3. Managing hazards and risks
Managing hazards and risks
4. Focusing on work health and wellbeing
Focusing on work health and wellbeing
5. Training and supervision
Training and supervision
6. Maintaining a safe and healthy workplace
Maintaining a safe and healthy workplace
7. Document, report and improve
Document, report and improve
Back
Next
Training and supervision

Training and supervision are important. Workers need to know how to do their jobs safely and be aware of issues that affect their health and safety.

Training is one of the best ways to ensure that your workers are safe while at work. By providing them with effective training and adequate supervision, they will become aware of safety issues and will perform their jobs competently, consistently and safely.

Training will ensure that your workers know about issues that will affect their health and safety. It will provide your workers with information about potential risks associated with their work, the safety policies and procedures you have in place, how to work safely and how to deal with emergencies.

1. Are all workers inducted into the business?
2. Are workers trained in safe work procedures before they commence tasks?
3. Are workers supervised to ensure safe work procedures are being followed?
Back
Next
Progress Bar Graphic
Getting started
Talking with your team
Managing hazards and risks
Focusing on work health and wellbeing
Training and supervision
Maintaining a safe and healthy workplace
Document, report and improve
1. Getting started
Getting started
2. Talking with your team
Talking with your team
3. Managing hazards and risks
Managing hazards and risks
4. Focusing on work health and wellbeing
Focusing on work health and wellbeing
5. Training and supervision
Training and supervision
6. Maintaining a safe and healthy workplace
Maintaining a safe and healthy workplace
7. Document, report and improve
Document, report and improve
Back
Next
Maintaining a safe and healthy workplace

Maintaining a safe workplace is important. It can be achieved by:

  • carrying out regular safety checks
  • maintaining workplace equipment and tools
  • providing workers with easy to understand information and training on how to do the job safely
  • having an incident/accident reporting and investigation procedure
  • planning and testing emergency procedures
  • keeping workers informed of any changes and providing training opportunities when anything new at work is introduced
  • reporting hazards, near misses and injuries, assessing new and emerging hazards and identifying the effectiveness of existing control measures
  • talking to your workers about ideas for promoting a healthy workplace.

1. Are safety checks performed regularly?
2. Are workplace tools and equipment regularly maintained and serviced?
3. Does the business have a formal incident process and are all incidents investigated to identify potential gaps in the process?
4. Are there emergency plans in place (e.g. fire, medical etc.) and are those plans regularly tested?
Back
Next
Progress Bar Graphic
Getting started
Talking with your team
Managing hazards and risks
Focusing on work health and wellbeing
Training and supervision
Maintaining a safe and healthy workplace
Document, report and improve
1. Getting started
Getting started
2. Talking with your team
Talking with your team
3. Managing hazards and risks
Managing hazards and risks
4. Focusing on work health and wellbeing
Focusing on work health and wellbeing
5. Training and supervision
Training and supervision
6. Maintaining a safe and healthy workplace
Maintaining a safe and healthy workplace
7. Document, report and improve
Document, report and improve
Back
Finish
Document, report and improve

Everyone in the workplace is responsible for their own safety and that of others. While no one plans to get hurt, you can plan to not get hurt.

Managing and improving workplace needs to be an ongoing task.

Safety processes and operations evolve with time and workers come and go changing risks for everyone in the workplace.

Having established your work health and safety (WHS) management system you should regularly review and monitor how effective it is, as well as make any necessary adjustments to keep it up to date.

Effective WHS management requires leadership and commitment. Everyone at work also needs to understand their responsibilities and how they can best meet them. By managing tasks and people with safety top-of-mind, you can achieve good safety outcome for everyone.

1. Are all incidents and safety issues recorded and actioned?
2. Are safe work procedures reviewed after an incident and updated if required?
3. Are incidents and injuries monitored to identify trends and help the business address emerging issues?
4. Senior management regularly receives and reviews safety reports and information and provides guidance and resources necessary to maintain a safe workplace.
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5 - Training and supervision
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6 - Maintaining a safe and healthy workplace
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7 - Document, report and improve
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1 - Getting started

Safety responsibilities in your business have not been made clear and safety may not be seen as a priority.

Your responses indicate that you should take immediate action to develop a safety culture by defining your role (the employer) and the roles of other managers and workers within the business. You will also need to allocate resources to meet your safety responsibilities and demonstrate your commitment to a safe workplace.

What you can do to improve:

Determine safety accountabilities and responsibilities

Speak with your workers about what is expected of them regarding safety in the workplace and about what you as the employer need to do to help them achieve your expectations.

Define everyone’s role in in safety and develop responsibilities and accountabilities for everyone, making sure you start at the top. Demonstrate your commitment by acting on your responsibilities and acknowledging when others act on theirs.

Commit resources (time and money)

Once responsibilities and accountabilities have been defined, commit adequate resources to enable these responsibilities to be met.

Spend time to:

  • develop safe work procedures
  • supervise and train your workers and managers
  • act on safety reports and issues.

Spend money to:

  • maintain and repair equipment
  • provide personal protection equipment
  • fix any safety issues.

Make safety a priority

Once responsibilities are defined and resources allocated, take the initiative to make safety a top priority.

Your safety management approach should include:

  • developing and implementing safe work procedures for all tasks that expose your workers to risk
  • ensuring that safe work procedures are followed at all times
  • involving workers in decisions about their health and safety
  • training your workers
  • ensuring that safety issues or problems are reported quickly and acted upon promptly
  • providing resources to address safety responsibilities.

Useful links

You’re on the right track, but there is more you can do to help with defining safety roles and responsibilities.

Your responses indicate that you need to be more consistent with your approach to health and safety. Ask yourself: Are safety responsibilities effectively communicated? Have you allowed adequate resources to meet safety responsibilities? Are you involved in safety issues?

What you can do to improve:

Ensure safety responsibilities are clearly defined and understood

Your workers will contribute to safety if they understand their responsibilities; and have the skills to meet those responsibilities.

Are your workers given induction training that includes safety information and outlines their safety responsibilities? Do they have clear instructions on how to deal with safety issues? Do supervisors understand their role in ensuring safety in the workplace?

Review resources to support safety initiatives

Demonstrate your commitment by providing enough time and money to deal with safety problems and to fix problems when they arise. Where problems cannot be fixed immediately, provide an alternate solution.

Demonstrate your commitment

Get actively involved with safety issues when they arise. Attend workplace meetings regularly. Speak with your workers and act upon their feedback. Ensure solutions to safety problems are implemented promptly by those responsible.

Useful links

Your workers understand their role, and yours, in getting their work done safely.

Your responses indicate that safety roles, responsibilities and procedures have been defined.

Maintain commitment by:

  • monitoring and reviewing your safety performance
  • building safety into your future business plans
  • promoting safety to your workers as a core business value
  • providing feedback to your workers
  • providing ongoing training so that everyone can enhance their skills
  • making up to date information available to your workers so they improve their knowledge of safety issues and solutions.

Useful links

2 - Talking with your team

You are unlikely to be effectively consulting your workers or involving them in safety matters.

Your responses indicate that you need to take immediate action to implement formal consultation arrangements to ensure that your workers have the opportunity to express their views and contribute to WHS issues.

What you can do to improve:

Develop your consultation arrangements

Employers must consult with all of their workers about workplace health and safety. ‘Workers’ has a broad meaning and includes contractors, labour hire, temporary workers or anyone else who performs work for your business.

Ensure that your consultation captures all WHS issues and views. Consider how shift work and remote workers, trainees and apprentices, people with disabilities, language or literacy barriers or anything else will be addressed in your process.

Formalise your consultation process

Your agreed consultation arrangements should be recorded and displayed in the workplace. It is a good idea to include the names, roles and contact details of anyone with specific WHS responsibility.

Ensure you consult effectively

At your regular workplace meetings tell your workers about any plans you may have that could affect their health and safety (e.g. new equipment, changing work tasks etc.). Before making a decision seek their views on how any safety issues may be addressed.

Encourage your workers to raise their safety concerns. Make an extra effort to include young workers or workers with special needs.

When discussing safety issues with your workers, try to reach an agreement. Ultimately, however, responsibility for safety sits with you.

Record safety decisions

Keep records of significant safety decisions to demonstrate that you take safety issues seriously and are prompt in addressing them. It reinforces the actions that need to be taken, outlines who is responsible for undertaking them and indicates when they need to be completed.

Provide an agenda before your regular workplace meetings to inform your workers of the issues to be discussed. This affords them the opportunity to include other topics, and enables them time to consider possible suggestions and solutions.

Useful links

There are consultation procedures in place but these may not be working effectively or capturing all of your workers’ input.

Your responses indicate that you do consult with your workers but that it is inconsistent or that you may not reach all of your workers. You may also not provide feedback or consult with all relevant workers about health and safety matters.

What you can do to improve:

Make sure that your consultation process is suitable for the workplace

Your consultation process may need to be changed to take into account the different needs of your workers, the size of your business, the location of your site or sites if you have more than one, shift arrangements, transport workers or workers who work at client sites or any other special arrangements you may have with your workers. Some workers may not be able to attend regular meetings and may be missing vital information about their safety or changes in the workplace. You may need to introduce alternative methods of consulting with these workers.

Encourage workers to consult and always provide feedback

Sometimes workers can appear to lack the desire to consult but that may be as a result of the process of consultation rather than the consultation itself.

You can help address this by:

  • Scheduling safety meetings as a priority. If safety meetings are held at the end of the day or a shift, you can run out of time and workers may feel rushed or too tired to contribute. Schedule safety meetings at the start of the day or shift so that there is enough time and workers are fresh and alert.
  • Show that you value your workers’ views. You can develop a method to demonstrate to your workers that their concerns and feedback are considered. This could be in the form of an action plan or some other method that clearly shows you are listening. Sometimes workers are told about decisions rather than being consulted. If your workers believe their concerns are ignored they will be reluctant to participate in the consultation process. Don’t make safety decisions without regard to your workers’ feedback. If a decision is made that is contrary to worker views, provide reasons that clearly outline why.
  • Involve your entire workforce. Some of your workers may be unaware of their WHS responsibilities. Train all of your workers in WHS consultation procedures, including your supervisors and managers. Workers from non-English speaking backgrounds and those with special needs should be consulted individually to ensure their concerns are addressed.
  • To be effective, consultation needs to be consistent and inclusive and safety issues need to be addressed in a timely way. Discuss safety concerns as part of your regular workplace meetings rather than ad-hoc meetings. Making safety part of the regular agenda and having meaningful discussion will go a long way to integrating safety into the normal business culture and demonstrating to your workers that it is an important aspect of business operations.

Useful links

Your consultation arrangements are effective and workers are involved in decisions regarding safety.

Your responses indicate that you have implemented effective consultation processes and that you actively encourage your worker’s participation and value their views.

What you can do to maintain this:

Review your consultation arrangements periodically with your workers and ensure the arrangements continue to work effectively

Ensure that all of your workers including young workers, workers from a non-English speaking background or workers with literacy difficulties are adequately represented in the consultation process and that their views are sought and valued.

Useful links

3 - Managing hazards and risks

It is likely that you have not identified your key risks and hazards and that they are not adequately controlled. This puts your workers in serious danger of injury.

What you can do to improve:

Inspect the workplace and review all tasks

Check for risks including:

  • using chemicals
  • lifting and moving products
  • working at heights
  • slips, trips and falls
  • electrical equipment
  • housekeeping.

Make sure you talk with your workers and involve them in identifying hazards associated with their work. Develop and implement safe work procedures for those tasks that pose a risk.

Prioritise the tasks based on risk

Time and money can be in short supply in a business. It is therefore important to prioritise tasks and make sure that the highest risks are controlled immediately and lesser risks are addressed as time goes on. You will need to document this via an action plan so that you make sure you get all of the risks controlled systematically.

Develop safe work procedures

Follow these steps:

  • Involve your workers. Workers are more likely to follow a procedure if they have been involved in its development. Workers are usually the best placed to understand the tasks they do every day and their experience will help with developing a safe, practical procedure.
  • Identify each element that makes up a task. A task may contain several steps such as lifting and carrying product or goods, bending, use of machinery or tools, repetitive processing and many other individual elements.
  • Identify the hazards and risks that these elements pose. Ask yourself; are there any risks from lifting and carrying? Does machinery or plant have moving parts that could cause injury if not guarded? Are there any environmental hazards like noise, fumes, heat or cold? As above your workers are an excellent source of this kind of information as they perform the work every day.
  • Control the identified risks. Once hazards and risks have been identified they must be controlled. Generally the best method of control is to eliminate (remove) the risk entirely, however this is not always possible so ask yourself: How can the risk be best controlled? Is there a mechanical lifting alternative to manual lifting and carrying? Is there a less hazardous substance that can be used instead of the current chemical? Can guarding be fitted to machines to cover moving parts? Is there personal protective equipment available to help mitigate the risk of exposure to noise, fumes, sparks etc? Safety data sheets, manufacturers manuals, employer associations and the SafeWork SA website can all be used to help decide on controls and to provide practical suggestions.
  • Document the safe work procedures. Safe work procedures are meant for workers to use every day. They should be simple and easy to understand. There is no set format that they need to be in – you know your workforce and what they are likely to be able to understand. Remember that having a safe work procedure that is difficult to follow or not practical is exactly the same as not having a safe work procedure at all!
  • Have workers review your draft procedures. Have your experienced workers review the procedures and make amendments as necessary. If you have a safety committee this is also a good forum for procedures to be reviewed.
  • Train workers in the use of the procedures and safe work practices in general.

Once procedures have been developed and agreed, train your workers in their use. Ideally this training should involve workers demonstrating that they understand the procedures and can work safely.

It is not enough to simply distribute the procedures and ask your workers to sign a piece of paper saying they have read them.

Review procedures regularly

Review procedures whenever there is a change in the workplace and after any incident or near miss. Regardless, you should have a regularly scheduled review that makes sure the procedures remain relevant to the task.

Useful links

You identify and control some or most of your hazards and risks but you may not have effective safe work procedures in place for all of them.

Your responses indicate that you have started to address the risks associated with work tasks but you may need to look more closely at the tasks, identify any hazards you may have overlooked, and ensure that your safe work procedures are appropriate and help your workers do their jobs safely.

What you can do to improve:

Review work tasks

Inspect the workplace and review all tasks. Check for risks including:

  • using chemicals
  • lifting and moving products
  • working at heights
  • slips, trips and falls
  • electrical equipment
  • housekeeping.

Make sure you talk with your workers and involve them in identifying hazards associated with their work. Develop and implement safe work procedures for those tasks that pose a risk.

Plan your approach

Sometimes, business pressures or uncertainty about what to do next may delay the development and implementation of safe work procedures.

Plan the process carefully so that you are able to develop safe work procedures gradually, within the constraints of your business demands. You should prioritise those tasks with the highest risk and involving the entire workforce in a structured way will help a lot with time. A good plan will help you overcome the limitations in time and resources and will let you track progress against targets.

Ensure procedures are up-to-date

If you find that your workers are not always following safe work procedures, review the procedures to ensure they are still relevant and are up to date. Sometimes procedures are not followed because they use old methods or talk about steps or machines that are no longer in use. If procedures are up to date, have your workers been trained in their use? Are your workers being properly supervised? Do your supervisors and managers make sure they always follow the procedures?

Useful links

You identify and control hazards and risks and your workers are using safe work procedures to help them do their job safely.

Your responses indicate that you are effectively managing safety risks in your workplace through your safe work procedures.

What you can do to maintain this:

Continuously review your hazards and risks as well as your safe work procedures

Changes in the workplace including new equipment, new ways of doing things and even new workers can render hazard and risk controls obsolete. Make sure you keep reviewing your hazards and risks to make sure your controls remain effective. In the same way your safe work procedures should be reviewed regularly to ensure their effectiveness.

Useful links

4 - Focusing on work health and wellbeing

It is likely that your workplace does not place a high priority on the health and wellbeing of workers, and that there are no formal ways to report issues that contribute to work related stress, including incidences of bullying and harassment.

Your responses indicate that you need to take immediate action to ensure psychological hazards and risks are identified and addressed, as you would physical hazards and risks at work. In particular, it is important to ensure processes are in place whereby workers can report incidences of bullying and harassment, and workers are educated about how to do this.

In addition, there are many business benefits (such as improved workplace culture and morale) for workplaces to place more importance on promoting a healthy workplace, including introducing health promotion activities and initiatives on topics such as mental health, healthy eating, physical activity, quit smoking etc.

What you can do to improve:

Reassess the importance the business places on the health and wellbeing of workers, and consider how it can be viewed as a priority for the business

There is increased awareness of the importance of health and wellbeing in workplaces, however, sometimes workplaces are unclear on how it can be addressed in a planned and proactive manner. This can be achieved by developing a formal health and wellbeing strategy/action plan. Important steps include getting management commitment to health and wellbeing, reviewing what you have and don’t have in place, asking staff what they think is important to their health and wellbeing and then developing a plan/program of health and wellbeing activities based on this information. It is important to communicate this strategy/plan to workers so they know what activities they can be involved in. In this way, health promotion activities such as mental health, healthy eating, physical activity, drug and alcohol, etc. are regular events during the year, and address the needs of the workforce.

If you are looking for further tools and resources in this area, go to the Heads Up Website and SA Health “How to create a healthy workplace “resources and toolkit.

Review your health and safety system and make sure it includes the management of psychological hazards and risks – those workplace issues that could contribute to work-related stress

The employer has an obligation to eliminate or minimise risks to the health and safety of workers (as is reasonably practicable). Under the WHS laws, the definition of “health” includes both physical and psychological health. Therefore, it is important that workers are encouraged to report hazards that can contribute to work-related stress, such as high workloads, exposure to traumatic events, work-related violence, fatigue, poor workplace relationships etc. This should be integrated into standard incident reporting procedures so workers know how to report these types of issues, the incidents can be appropriately investigated and suitable control measures can be put in place.

One psychological hazard which needs to be addressed is the prevention bullying and harassment. Education is a significant factor in preventing and managing workplace bullying, particularly to enable early intervention in workplace conflict before it potentially escalates into bullying. It is important that management educates workers on acceptable workplace behaviour and conduct. This should be part of induction procedures and regularly reinforced through refresher training. Workplace bullying behaviours should not be tolerated and early reporting of these behaviours should be encouraged. Workers should have a clear understanding of what is bullying and harassment and how to report unreasonable behaviour. The workplace’s procedures should also include how reports of bullying will be appropriately investigated and responded to. If a worker considers they are being bullied, they will be more likely to report it if they know there is a transparent reporting process in place and that it will be followed as soon as a report is received.

For more information on managing work-related psychological health and safety, go to a Safe Work Australia “Work-related psychological health and safety. A systematic approach to meeting your duties”.

For more information on the prevention of bullying, go to Safe Work Australia “Guide for Preventing and Responding to Workplace Bullying”.

Your organisation has started to address health and wellbeing and views it as important, however, there are no formal plans or programs in place.

Workers are encouraged to report psychological hazards/risks but it is likely that there is no formal mechanism to do this so it tends to be word of mouth. Whilst there is some education around the prevention of bullying and harassment, this can be improved by formalising procedures and ensuring all workers are aware of how to report unreasonable behaviour.

What you can do to improve:

Plan your approach

There is increased awareness of the importance of health and wellbeing in workplaces, however, sometimes workplaces are unclear on how it can be addressed in a planned and proactive manner. This can be achieved by developing a formal health and wellbeing action plan/program. Important steps include getting management on board, reviewing what you have and don’t have in place, asking staff what they think is important to their health and wellbeing and then developing a plan/program of health and wellbeing activities based on this information. It is important to communicate this plan to workers so they know what activities they can be involved in. In this way, health promotion activities such as mental health, healthy eating, physical activity, drug and alcohol, etc. are regular events during the year, and address the needs of the workforce.

If you are looking for further tools and resources in this area, go to the Heads Up Website and SA Health “How to create a healthy workplace “resources and toolkit.

Ensure your health and safety system includes managing psychological hazards and risks

The employer has a legal obligation to eliminate or minimise risks to the health and safety of workers (as is reasonably practicable). Under the WHS laws, the definition of “health” includes both physical and psychological health. Therefore, it is important that workers are encouraged to report hazards that can contribute to work-related stress, such as high workloads, exposure to traumatic events, work-related violence, fatigue and poor workplace relationships. This should be integrated into standard incident reporting procedures so workers know how to report these types of issues, the incidents can be appropriately investigated and suitable control measures can be put in place.

One psychological hazard which is important to address and prevent in workplaces is bullying and harassment. Whilst your workplace may conduct some education on what is acceptable and unacceptable workplace behaviour, it is important that your workplace’s bullying and harassment policy and procedures and any code of conduct is part of induction procedures, and is reinforced through refresher training. Workplace bullying behaviours should not be tolerated and early reporting of these behaviours should be encouraged. Workers should have a clear understanding of what is bullying and harassment and how to report unreasonable behaviour. The workplace’s procedures should also include how reports of bullying will be appropriately investigated and responded to. If a worker considers they are being bullied, they will be more likely to report it if they know there is a transparent reporting process in place and that it will be followed as soon as a report is received.

For more information on managing work-related psychological health and safety, go to a Safe Work Australia “Work-related psychological health and safety. A systematic approach to meeting your duties”.

For more information on the prevention of bullying, go to Safe Work Australia “Guide for Preventing and Responding to Workplace Bullying”.

Your business views health and wellbeing of employees as a priority and plans and programmes are in place which address both physical and mental health issues.

Your responses indicate that you have a wellbeing program in place which actively encourages healthy lifestyle options, standard reporting systems include the reporting of workplaces issues that could contribute to work-related stress and measures are in place for the prevention of bullying and harassment.

What you can do to maintain this:

Put in place measures to review the effectiveness of your wellbeing program to ensure it continues to meet the needs of the workforce and any changing circumstances

Ensure leadership continues to take a visible and active involvement in the health and wellbeing program and staff are consulted so that the wellbeing program continues to address the needs of the workforce.

Monitor incident reporting systems to ensure work-related stressors are being reported and appropriate controls are put in place.

Continue to look for opportunities where health and wellbeing can be integrated and embedded into organisational systems and processes such as induction programs, WHS systems, education programs and overall business plans.

Consider how your business can evaluate the health and wellbeing program such as through changes in knowledge and attitudes of workers, records of participation, staff surveys, staff engagement levels and in the longer term, staff retention rates, absenteeism rates and workers compensation claims/premiums.

5 - Training and supervision

Your workers are unlikely to be properly trained or supervised whilst at work.

Your responses indicate that you need to take immediate action to provide training to your workers in their roles and in safe work practices generally. You may also need to review your supervisory arrangements to ensure workers are receiving adequate and consistent supervision.

What you can do to improve:

Establish a safety induction process

When you employ a new worker, train them in your policies, procedures and the expected behaviours. Induction training should include:

  • health and safety roles and responsibilities
  • how and when to report safety issues and incidents
  • your consultation process
  • general safety rules such as the use of personal protective equipment
  • emergency procedures
  • training in specific tasks.

Make sure you review your induction and training information periodically to ensure it is up-to-date and relevant. You can provide the training in a manual for your workers to reference but the manual is for reference only – it is not a substitute for you personally training your workers.

Provide adequate supervision

What is considered relevant supervision will be largely dependent on the role, associated hazards and risks, the experience of the worker, any language or understanding barriers or any other factor that may be pertinent in the worker’s circumstances.

Supervision of workers is a good way for you to be sure that your workers are working safely and following your procedures.

Practice what you preach

If your workers see you or your supervisors flaunting the procedures, taking shortcuts or otherwise failing to follow the established safe work practices they will likely do the same. This leads to dangerous work practices which will in turn inevitably cause injury.

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You are training and supervising your workers but this could be done more effectively or consistently.

Your responses indicate that you do have processes in place for education and supervision but that there are gaps in the process that could be addressed.

What you can do to improve:

Identify any areas where there may be gaps in your training or supervision

Have you captured all of your workers? Are casual, shift and part-time workers adequately trained and supervised? Do you make sure all contractors (including labour hire, cleaners, installers of equipment etc.) are inducted to the worksite?

Look for signs of misunderstanding

Inconsistent performance by workers and a high level of incidents can be an indication that your training and supervision needs improvement. Check to make sure training has been provided and is clear. It may be necessary to retrain if the problem is persistent or if there is a major breach of the procedure.

Retrain and refresh as needed

Undertake periodic assessments of your worker’s skills. Keep records of training and ensure training has been signed-off as complete. For key risks (e.g. manual handling etc.) consider regular refresher training to ensure knowledge is fresh and up to date.

If there are any major changes to the workplace or plant/tools training should be provided as soon as practicable in the changes.

Be clear about your expectations

Provide clear and consistent instruction and supervision. If instructions are unclear or rules are applied inconsistently you will increase the chance of confusion and decrease safety. Just as important as this is to practice what you preach. It is doubly important for managers and supervisors to follow the rules. If workers see the boss flouting procedure they will likely do the same.

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Your workers are adequately trained and supervised to be safe at work.

Your responses indicate that you have good processes in place for education and supervision of your workers.

What you can do to maintain this:

Continuously review your process of training, induction and supervision

Changes in the workplace including new equipment, new ways of doing things and even new workers can render old processes obsolete. Make sure you keep reviewing your hazards and risks to make sure your education and supervision remains effective.

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6 - Maintaining a safe and healthy workplace

You are unlikely to have any processes in place for ensuring that your workplace is safe.

This score indicates that you need to take immediate action to ensure you maintain a safe workplace.

What you can do to improve:

Design and implement a process to carry out regular safety checks

You need to set up a system of regular safety inspections of your worksite. These inspections should be scheduled and there should be checks performed to make sure they occur as planned. Once you have established a routine, it is a good idea to have a regular rotation of people doing the inspection including managers, supervisors and workers.

Any issues you note as part of these inspections should be documented and actioned. Always inform workers that this has occurred as it will help keep them involved in safety and also demonstrate your commitment to keeping them safe.

These regular inspections do not take the place of your normal incident reporting procedure and you should continue to report incidents as normal.

Implement a preventative maintenance schedule

It is vital that all of your plant and equipment is safe and in good working order. Make sure that you record all of your plant and equipment (including hand tools) in a register. This register should form the basis of your regular preventative maintenance schedule. Make sure you check the schedule regularly to ensure that any faulty plant or equipment is in good working order.

You can get good information on the maintenance required by referring to manufacturer manuals or websites.

Design and implement a simple incident and accident reporting procedure

Put in place reporting procedures that make it easy for your workers to let you know whenever an incident occurs; and encourage them to do so. Make sure you train all of your workers and managers in these procedures.

Make sure that you investigate each incident that occurs and that you record the outcomes. Involve your workers in the investigations and let them know what the results of any investigations are. Ensure that all required corrective actions are recorded and that there is a clear accountability for closing out any actions. Follow up corrective actions to make sure they are done.

Implement an emergency plan for all types of emergencies – not just fire

Most organisations have a fire emergency and evacuation plan but there are other kinds of emergencies that can arise. Make sure you have plans in place for medical emergencies, bomb threats, chemical spills or other major events.

Consider:

  • the impact an emergency would have on the workplace and any nearby workplaces
  • how workers and visitors would safely exit the workplace
  • where to locate a safe emergency assembly point
  • how you would make sure that everyone has safely exited the workplace
  • what specific training is needed (e.g. fire warden, first aid, fire extinguishers etc.).

Once the plan is developed you will need to provide training and instruction to all of your workers to make sure they know what to do in the event of an emergency.

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You are unlikely to have any processes in place for ensuring that your workplace is safe.

This score indicates that you need to take immediate action to ensure you maintain a safe workplace.

What you can do to improve:

Design and implement a process to carry out regular safety checks

You need to set up a system of regular safety inspections of your worksite. These inspections should be scheduled and there should be checks performed to make sure they occur as planned. Once you have established a routine, it is a good idea to have a regular rotation of people doing the inspection including managers, supervisors and workers.

Any issues you note as part of these inspections should be documented and actioned. Always inform workers that this has occurred as it will help keep them involved in safety and also demonstrate your commitment to keeping them safe.

These regular inspections do not take the place of your normal incident reporting procedure and you should continue to report incidents as normal.

Implement a preventative maintenance schedule

It is vital that all of your plant and equipment is safe and in good working order. Make sure that you record all of your plant and equipment (including hand tools) in a register. This register should form the basis of your regular preventative maintenance schedule. Make sure you check the schedule regularly to ensure that any faulty plant or equipment is in good working order.

You can get good information on the maintenance required by referring to manufacturer manuals or websites.

Design and implement a simple incident and accident reporting procedure

Put in place reporting procedures that make it easy for your workers to let you know whenever an incident occurs; and encourage them to do so. Make sure you train all of your workers and managers in these procedures.

Make sure that you investigate each incident that occurs and that you record the outcomes. Involve your workers in the investigations and let them know what the results of any investigations are. Ensure that all required corrective actions are recorded and that there is a clear accountability for closing out any actions. Follow up corrective actions to make sure they are done.

Implement an emergency plan for all types of emergencies – not just fire

Most organisations have a fire emergency and evacuation plan but there are other kinds of emergencies that can arise. Make sure you have plans in place for medical emergencies, bomb threats, chemical spills or other major events.

Consider:

  • the impact an emergency would have on the workplace and any nearby workplaces
  • how workers and visitors would safely exit the workplace
  • where to locate a safe emergency assembly point
  • how you would make sure that everyone has safely exited the workplace
  • what specific training is needed (e.g. fire warden, first aid, fire extinguishers etc.).

Once the plan is developed you will need to provide training and instruction to all of your workers to make sure they know what to do in the event of an emergency.

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You are providing and maintaining a safe workplace for your workers.

Your responses indicate that you are regularly checking workplace work health and safety and identifying any changes or issues that may require you to reconsider existing procedures or processes.

You have a regular documented preventative maintenance programme in place and you ensure your plant and equipment is in safe working order.

You have an effective incident and injury reporting process in place. Your workers are trained in the process and all are notified of any outcome.

Your workplace has appropriate emergency procedures in place and these are tested regularly.

What you can do to maintain this:

Continuously review your process of training, induction and supervision

Changes in the workplace including new equipment, new ways of doing things and even new workers can render old processes obsolete. Make sure you keep reviewing your hazards and risks to make sure your education and supervision remains effective.

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7 - Document, report and improve

You are unlikely to have a system that documents safety incidents and lets you identify safety issues and develop prevention strategies.

Your responses indicate that you need to take immediate action to ensure that you have a documented system to report and investigate safety incidents and injuries. Your procedure must also include management review and reporting.

What you can do to improve:

Develop and implement a simple and effective incident reporting procedure

Involve your workers in developing a simple to use and effective incident reporting procedure. Your goal is to make it easy for your workers to report incidents and injuries and easy for you to investigate them.

When developing your procedure consider:

  • What incidents, hazards or injuries are to be reported (e.g. unsafe equipment, chemical spills, injuries, near-misses etc.)?
  • To whom will the incidents be reported? Make sure the nominated person is someone who has the authority to act upon the report such as a manger or senior person.
  • How will incidents be reported? Make sure the procedure addresses how a worker will report issues and requires management to act upon the report and provide feedback to the reporting worker.
  • Who will investigate the incident? It would be a good idea to nominate a person (perhaps a safety officer or manager with appropriate training) to coordinate investigations and to be ultimately responsible for them. Ideally the investigation should involve all relevant people including the reporting worker, their manager/supervisor and the nominated investigator.
  • How will corrective actions be recorded and closed out? Minor incidents will usually involve simple and immediate fixes (although these should still be recorded) but more serious incidents will require more complex actions. It is important that these are recorded and responsibility for closing them out assigned.
  • How will incidents, injuries and investigations be reported to senior management? Consider how often incidents will be reported and reviewed by senior management and what the mechanism is for the reports (e.g. a weekly or monthly meeting with managers/supervisors, a written report etc.).

As part of the process you need to create a register of all incidents, investigations and outcomes. This is generally a simple summary of incidents that can be accessed easily. Examples of incident registers can be found on the SafeWork SA website.

Use your incident reports and register to help you improve your workplace safety

Incident reports and their associated investigations are a good source of information on the health of your work health and safety systems and general workplace safety.

Whenever you are reviewing your safety systems or your workplace always consider incident reports as they can help you identify adverse trends and help drive improved safety.

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Incidents are being reported but this may be inconsistent and they are not always investigated. More could be done to analyse trends and drive continuous improvement.

Your responses indicate that you are aware of the benefits of incident reporting and investigations but that there may be an inconsistent application of your procedures or that your workers do not always report incidents promptly or at all.

What you can do to improve:

Make sure your workers are aware of your incident reporting procedures and how those procedures help to keep them safe

Some workers don’t report what they consider minor incidents because they do not feel as though they are important enough. Other workers may delay reporting because they feel that an incident means they have done something wrong. In order to encourage your workers to report incidents you can:

  • train your workers in your procedures from induction onwards – make sure they are aware of the importance of reporting incidents
  • make sure you emphasise the link between incident reporting and safety – you cannot address an issue you are unaware of and lodging an incident report can help you improve systems and make your workplace safer for your workers
  • reinforce the fact that incident investigation is not about finding someone to blame but rather to find any issues and fix them so no one gets injured.

Monitor your incident reports and investigation outcomes so that you can identify any trends or emerging safety issues

When an incident or injury occurs it may mean that:

  • you do not have a safe work procedure in place for the task
  • the current procedure is insufficient, old or incorrect – it may be that the task or equipment used has changed, that the original procedure did not cover all risks or it has not been reviewed for a long time
  • your workers are not following the procedure properly.

In all of these cases there is a danger of recurrence or more serious incident if nothing is changed. By investigating the incident and identifying root cause you can put preventative actions in place that will keep your workplace safe.

Provide regular reporting to senior management on incidents, injuries and investigation outcomes

Regular management reporting and review will assist the senior management team in ensuring that business resources are directed to the best areas to improve workplace safety. It will also provide managers with the ability to track progress against safety targets and to make sure those with safety responsibilities are held accountable.

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Your workers are reporting all incidents, they are investigated and corrective actions put in place as needed.

Your responses indicate that you have an established incident reporting procedure and that you investigate incidents as they occur. You also put in place and monitor corrective actions.

What you can do to maintain this:

Monitor and analyse your incident reports to identify any trends and help you to improve your safety

Use your incident reports and investigations to monitor your workplace safety and identify any gaps in your system. These reports can be a valuable tool in prevention by allowing you to address any emerging issues before they become too big or cause major injury.

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