Safety Leadership Challenge

Safety leadership starts at the top and is demonstrated at every level of an organisation. The Safety Leadership Challenge is a collaborative initiative that invites industry leaders (CEO, senior manager/director, owner-operators) to work with Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) and take a more visible role as safety leaders to improve the safety culture of their business and its supply chain.

Take the Safety Leadership Challenge

Leadership is key to a positive safety culture and a healthy, safe and productive workforce. Business leaders have the potential to demonstrate safety leadership by:

  • allocating resources to work health and safety (WHS)
  • showing a visible commitment to WHS
  • supporting WHS initiatives across their business and its supply chain.

With this in mind, WHSQ is supporting three organisations in the Safety Leadership Challenge. Senior executives from these organisations will design, implement, and evaluate their own Safety Leadership Challenge that focuses on improving WHS outcomes within the business. WHSQ will support these leaders and share their progress with all industries to inspire others to take action through visible and impactful safety leadership.

The Safety Leadership Challenge focuses initially on the construction industry. Despite steady improvements to work health and safety performance in the construction industry, injuries and illnesses are still prevalent. On average, 35 construction workers are injured at work in Australia every day, and over the past 12 years, 417 construction workers have been killed on the job. Over $120 million is paid out annually for construction workers’ compensation claims, with even greater costs associated with site shutdowns, project delays, retraining workers, reputational damage and lost contracts. With this in mind, the Safety Leadership Challenge aims to promote effective work health and safety practices, leading to fewer injuries and illnesses, as well as showing that good WHS is also good for business [1].[2]

Are you up for a Safety leadership challenge in your own business?

Follow the progress of the Safety Leadership Challenge and take up the challenge in your own organisation and industry.

Get involved today, make a commitment, set a plan, and make a difference to workplace health and safety in your organisation. Importantly, share your experiences with us and connect with other organisations embarking on a similar journey via our dedicated LinkedIn group.

Step 1: Plan your challenge

Plan your challenge with the end in mind.

One of the first steps in undertaking your own challenge is to plan what you will do –including who, when, how and why.

Every Safety Leadership Challenge begins with a compelling vision of the future. This future vision for safety sets the scene for what is to come and drives engagement across the workforce. Without a well-articulated vision and specific goals, your challenge may lack drive and direction.

Next, you must understand your organisation’s current state of safety.

How far are you from your idealised vision of the future? What gaps exist and what do you need to do to achieve your vision? Involve all levels of your business when making these decisions, as it will be the people who are most connected to the work that will be able to tell you how things currently are.

Our pilot organisations have undertaken their own planning processes. Watch the films to see how they approached the challenge, how they are progressing and get inspired to embark on your own Safety Leadership Challenge.

WHSQ has resources that will help you structure your challenge, develop an inspiring safety vision, and identify the specific actions you need to undertake to improve WHS.

Business case

Within the step of ‘planning your challenge’ it is important to make the case to senior management so you have their support. One way to do this is through making a business case. We’ve developed some templates to help you:


Next you should establish an overarching vision. This vision should be created through the involvement and participation of leaders at different levels of your business or project. Consider running a vision-setting workshop. As part of this workshop, identify the specific actions that need to be taken using the resources below:


As with any organisational change, communication is key to success. Accordingly, the final step you will need to do is develop a communication strategy and supporting materials that let other people know how your organisation will undertake the challenge. These resources should be customised to reflect your specific safety leadership challenge.

[1] Safework Australia (2015). Construction industry profile. Available
[ 2 ] Safework Australia (2015). Work-related injuries and fatalities in construction, Australia, 2003-2013. Available

Last updated
03 July 2017