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Building safety capability

Safety capability is the overall potential and ability for an organisation to maintain strong safety and recovery and return to work outcomes in a modern work environment.

Safety capability

Taking action to improve processes and structures, leadership and teamwork, and skills and motivation will strengthen the organisational mechanisms of systems, culture and competence that are the foundations of safety capability.

These mechanisms work together to inform the organisation’s direction, which impacts safety capability and overall business performance. Benefits can include prevention of injuries and illness, promotion of safe and productive workplaces and supporting sustainable recovery and return to work (RTW).

Safety capability model
Safety capability model

Safety capability framework

The Safety capability framework demonstrates the holistic approach to work health and safety that safety capability offers. It shows how the 14 focus areas (‘building blocks’) of safety capability work alongside and complement each other across WHS and recovery and RTW foundations. These building blocks strengthen the mechanisms of safety capability:

  • systems (through processes and structures)
  • culture (through leadership and teamwork)
  • competence of the workforce (through skills and motivation).

Safety capability framework
Safety capability framework (PDF, 0.02 MB).

To better understand and improve your organisation's safety capability, you can:

  • Prepare your workplace by sharing information within your workplace about the benefits of achieving stronger WHS and recovery and RTW capability to improve business performance.
  • participate in the Safety capability survey to identify areas of strong performance and discover where there are opportunities to improve.
  • share the survey results with your organisation. Use the practical guidance material and resources to help develop an action plan to improve WHS and recovery and RTW outcomes in your workplace.
  • commit to making meaningful change in your workplace and dedicate energy and resources to your safety capability journey.


View the Resources page for information and tips on how to improve your systems and processes to build your safety capability and understand your legal obligations.