Part of managing health and safety in your workplace is controlling the risks. In order to do this you will need to accurately identify potential hazards.

Ask yourself and the people who work in your business what it is about the situation, job, processes, items of plant or substances you use that could injure or harm someone.

Hazards at work include things that could harm the psychological health of workers, such as excessive work demands, bullying and violence at the workplace.

Having identified potential hazards you’ll need to first consider if they can be eliminated. If this is not possible, then consider the risks involved and put reasonably practicable measures in place to control them.

Finding safety solutions can be as simple as asking the people in your business for their ideas, looking at information available from designers or manufacturers, getting help from an association or industry group, or considering relevant Codes of Practice or Australian Standards.

Safe work procedures document the risks associated with a work situation or task and incorporate the appropriate risk control measures.

Safe work procedures are a useful tool for informing and training the people who work in your business. They’re most effective when they are developed with the people who perform the task.

Employer responsibilities

Employers should:

  • involve the people who work in your business to identify and report hazards – see sample Incident and Hazard Report
  • identify potential hazards considering if they can be eliminated; if elimination is not possible, consider the risks involved and put reasonably practicable measures in place to control them
  • develop with worker input to document the risks associated with a work situation or task and the appropriate risk control measures – see sample Safe Work Procedure - Forklift
  • use safe work procedures as a tool for informing and training the people who work in your business.

Worker responsibilities

Workers should:

  • identify and report hazards
  • actively participate in determining risk controls
  • follow any relevant Safe Work Procedures.

WHS checklist

Check the safety of your business by completing our work health and safety checklist to identify hazards at your workplace and determine which areas you may want to start with for improvement.

Example: Managing hazards checklist
 AlwaysSometimesNever
Are hazards identified and their risks considered    
Are control measures implemented for all hazards identified    
Safe work procedures or safe operating procedures are developed with worker input – see sample SWP   
Hazard identification, risk assessment and control processes are in place – see sample Risk Assessment Procedure   

Further resources