Involve everyone in health and safety


A healthy and safe workplace needs everyone involved. You must consult with your workers about any issues relating to their work, health and safety (WHS). They can help you find hazards and choose the best way to control them. It also shows your workers that you take their health and safety seriously.

You must also consult with anyone else who has a WHS duty for the same issue. For example other businesses involved in the same activity or who share a workplace with you.

1. Identify hazards in your workplace


This means finding anything that could harm people. Most hazards come from:

  • the physical work environment, such as a loud workplace
  • the equipment, materials and substances you use, such as chemicals
  • how you complete work tasks, such as lifting heavy boxes.

Find out how to identify, assess and control hazards to improve the safety of your business.

2. Assess risks


Think about what hazards there are in your workplace. Then consider:

  • what could happen if someone encounters the hazard
  • how likely it is for someone to encounter the hazard.

Do a risk assessment to find out:

  • how dangerous a risk is
  • whether any control measures you are using work
  • what you should do to control the risk
  • how soon you need to do something.

3. Control risks


The most effective control measure is to:

  • remove the hazard and any risk it creates
  • avoid introducing hazards in the first place.

If you cannot eliminate the hazard, you must minimise the risks as much as you can, such as:

  • replace the hazard with something safer
  • physically separate the hazard from people
  • use an engineering control (for example, use a trolley to move a heavy box instead of carrying it).

If there are still risks you must use administrative controls such as using safe work procedures. You should also provide training and supervision so your workers know how to do their work safely.

Minimise any remaining risk by using suitable personal protective equipment such as gloves or hard hats.

Read more about assessing and managing risk.

Find out how to create procedures for your workplace.

4. Review controls


Check your control measures regularly to make sure they’re working as planned. Don’t wait for something to go wrong. It’s a good idea to schedule in regular inspections of your workplace. During your inspections, check for new hazards and review your control measures.

You must also review your control measures if you find issues or if things change, for example if you introduce new equipment or activities.

5. Record and report safety issues


Keeping records of your risk management process is a great way to find issues and improve safety in your workplace.

You must keep records in relation to certain hazards including:

  • energised electrical work
  • diving work
  • hazardous chemicals
  • plant
  • equipment.

You must report any workplace deaths, serious injuries or illnesses, or dangerous incidents to your state or territory WHS regulator. Read our information on what you need to do if there is an incident in your workplace.

6. Support return to work


Return to work is about supporting workers whom have had a work-related injury or illness to:

  • get back to work
  • stay at work while recovering.

If you employ staff, you must have a current workers’ compensation insurance policy and a return to work program.

Find out more about return to work.

Learn more about business insurance policies.

7. Stay COVID-19 safe


To limit the spread of COVID-19 at your workplace:

  • Encourage all workers to practice good hygiene. This includes frequently washing their hands:
    • for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or
    • by using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
  • Learn how to spot COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat and shortness of breath). Make sure workers do not come to work if they are unwell.
  • Make sure your workplace is regularly cleaned and disinfected.

Safe Work Australia has created a COVID-19 work health and safety information hub for small businesses. The hub contains tailored information, tools and resources:

  • to help businesses manage risks from COVID-19
  • to keep people safe at the workplace
  • for businesses to reopen following restrictions and stay open safely.

You'll also find a series of short videos with information on key COVID-19 work health and safety topics.

Check out the information on COVID 19 and work health and safety.

Find all the resources you need to promote a COVIDSafe environment.

Learn more about the mental health and wellbeing support for employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

8. Make your workplace healthier


Consider having health initiatives in your business, such as:

Read next

Learn more about work health and safety and guidance for your state or territory.