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Safe work procedures

Some work tasks carry risks. Good risk management, including safe work procedures, ensure risk at your work is minimised and workers know how to perform tasks safely.

How do you rate?

Complete the third column of the Compliance at a glance: how do you rate? checklist (PDF, 149.22 KB).

This section focuses on identifying tasks with safety risks and developing, implementing, following and reviewing safe work procedures.

Advice sheet

Check your answers against the green, orange and red sections of the advice sheet for safe work procedures (PDF, 154.87 KB) .

The back page of the advice sheet shows an example of a safe work procedure for using an angle grinder.

Where do I start?

The best way to prevent injuries or illness in your workplace is to find the hazards that could injure people and fix them. You can do this by following four key steps.

Step 1 – Identify the hazard by looking around your workplace, talking to your workers, reviewing incident reports, researching particular tasks and issues, or using the Hazard identification checklist

Step 2 – Assess the risk by considering how severe the harm could be and how likely it is to happen.

Step 3 – Control the risk by eliminating the hazard if possible, or otherwise minimising the risk as far as possible. See managing risk for more information.

Step 4 – Review the controls regularly to make sure they’re working as planned.

You can record each step in this process using the risk assessment template. Once you’re familiar with the process, use the risk register and management plan template to record all risks in your workplace.

Note that while there is some flexibility for known hazards and risks in step 2, there are tasks and situations (such as electrical work and uncertainty about hazards) in which a risk assessment is mandatory. For more detail see the section on managing risk.

How do I develop safe work procedures?

First, consider all the tasks done at your workplace, and identify those with risks that could harm workers. You can do this as part of the above risk management steps, or to manage any remaining risk after you’ve completed those steps.

Next, complete a task analysis for the identified task/s, which highlights the steps of the task, the risk (what can go wrong) and controls (what to do about it).

Finally, document the control measures for any risks you cannot eliminate. The steps of the task and the corresponding control measures make up your safe work procedure. Make sure you train workers in the correct procedure, that the documented safe work procedure can be accessed easily, and that you review your procedures regularly.

Additional resources

Last updated
05 February 2020

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