Skip to content

Worker mistake-oriented proactivity and error management

Support workers to prevent incidents, correct errors, solve safety-related problems and encourage learning from each other.

Involve workers in work health and safety (WHS) discussions to encourage positive safety behaviours, including speaking up when they observe unsafe behaviours. A culture of silence can contribute to problems being hidden, and errors and mistakes being ignored. This creates the potential for injury and illness to other workers unaware of the risk.

The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 states, ‘Workers have a duty to take reasonable care for their own health and safety and to not adversely affect the health and safety of other persons.’

Encourage workers to challenge unsafe behaviour of others, by reinforcing safety values, beliefs, and attitudes such as:

  • our workmate’s lives and wellbeing are important. People should go home in the same condition they came to work in
  • wellbeing and personal safety in the workplace are more important than money
  • promote and support workers who advocate and model good WHS behaviours and practices, especially when safety standards come under pressure.

Promote the idea that differences in ideas and opinions is a positive. Support workers who challenge long held beliefs about how work should be done when they are trying to improve safety for everyone.

If WHS concerns are raised in a group setting such as a toolbox meeting, it is possible not everyone will agree or view the issue as a risk. In this situation:

  • acknowledge the concerns raised
  • invite questions to clarify understanding
  • ask for suggestions to address the concerns
  • manage expectations by explaining next steps.

Where suitable, consider temporary solutions, to manage a risk while a more comprehensive assessment is arranged. This may involve modifying a work procedure.

The Safety fundamentals toolkit has resources and information including an Incident/investigation form (DOC, 0.07 MB) and Tips for investigating workplace incidents (PDF, 0.48 MB) templates you can use to involve workers in responding to WHS concerns.

Reduce the likelihood of incidents by encouraging workers to share their experience when a risk is identified. Support your workers to learn from each other for everyone’s benefit.

Refresh workers’ knowledge of good safety practices and risk management. Workers will often identify risks that you may overlook.

Allow time for workers to talk through errors, what happened, and how it has been fixed. This will help build your organisation’s safety capability.


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.