Workers engaged in all aspects of work health and safety (WHS) will be more effective at reducing risk and controlling hazards.
Rather than ‘going through the motions’, workers who are attentive, considerate of how their behaviours impact WHS, and thoroughly apply procedures and practices will be more effective at reducing risk by anticipating and controlling hazards before they cause harm.
Workers are more likely to identify issues, speak up about unsafe practices and conditions, report incidents, and contribute to improvements when engaged with their work.
Encourage interest and compliance in WHS by asking workers to think about how they undertake their work. Create opportunities for feedback and challenge workers to identify areas for improvement in procedures and systems. Recognise and acknowledge individuals and teams when they contribute to and improve your WHS systems.
Check to see if workers are complying with current WHS processes. Ask workers if they are interested in contributing to potential improvements. Involve them.
The Safety fundamentals toolkit includes a Toolbox talk (DOCX, 0.02 MB) template to keep a record of issues raised and action taken. This is a good way to show workers you value their input.
Provide job-relevant and up-to-date knowledge, skills, training, and resources to support workers comply with WHS procedures. This will help them:
- understand and manage hazards themselves without policing
- understand they are responsible and accountable for ensuring the WHS of themselves and their co-workers
- follow workplace rules and WHS expectations.
Workplace environments can change quickly, such as outdoor work that is subject to the weather and work tasks conducted in changing terrains. Workers need to know what to do to manage their WHS and others when they encounter changed conditions. Knowing what to do and how to manage risks when encountering unfamiliar circumstances should form part of training provided to workers.
Involving workers in conducting risk assessments at the workplace can help foster worker mindfulness around tasks and when reviewing and updating procedures. This is because workers do the work and will likely understand better than others, how and why tasks are normally performed. Workers should be encouraged to provide their insights when designing or redesigning tasks. This will also help to create a culture of mindful behaviour at the workplace.
Workers often identify risks that others may overlook. Actively encourage workers to consider how they perform their work and share their concerns about where measures may fail. Take their views and suggestions into account when making decisions or planning changes.
Be visible and actively involved in promoting WHS. Walk around the workplace and ask supervisors and workers to explain WHS protocols and check if these are easy to follow.
The Safety fundamentals toolkit has information to improve your worker capability by providing them with information, training and supervision, and how to implement effective consultation strategies to achieve a safer and healthier workplace. As an employer, it's your responsibility to give your workers the information, training, and supervision they need to stay safe at work.
- Walk around your business and speak to supervisors and workers about WHS and check if they are following WHS procedures. If not, ask for feedback and suggestions so you can respond and if necessary, make improvements.
- Use the practical advice in the How to manage work health and safety risks code of practice 2021 (PDF, 0.65 MB) to develop effective controls at your workplace. Apply the hierarchy of controls to help decide how to eliminate and reduce risks. Always choose the highest level controls you can.
- Challenge workers to apply policies and procedures mindfully for better WHS outcomes.
- Encourage workers to participate in WHS activities to make safety everyone’s responsibility.
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.