SafeWork SA

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Strategic Plan 2019-2022


SafeWork SA is a business unit within the Department of Treasury and Finance and is accountable to the Treasurer. SafeWork SA administers South Australia’s key health, safety and workplace relations related legislation. It does this by providing information advice and support as well as compliance and enforcement activities to ensure safe, fair, productive working lives and high standards of public safety for all South Australians. SafeWork SA works closely with workers, employers, unions, business representatives, industry sectors and other government agencies to ensure positive health and safety outcomes.

Legislation administered by SafeWork SA:

  • Dangerous Substances Act 1979
  • Dangerous Substances (General) Regulations 2017
  • Dangerous Substances (Fees) Regulations 2018
  • Dangerous Substances (Dangerous Goods Transport) Regulations 2008
  • Daylight Saving Act 1971 and Regulations 2009
  • Employment Agents Registration Act 1993 and Regulations 2010
  • Explosives Act 1936 and Regulations 2011
  • Explosives (Fireworks) Regulations 2016
  • Explosives (Security Sensitive Substances) Regulations 2006
  • Fair Work Act 1994
  • Fair Work (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2009
  • Fair Work (General) Regulations 2009
  • Fair Work (Clothing Outworker Code of Practice) Regulations 2007
  • Fair Work (Representation) Regulations 2009
  • Holidays Act 1910
  • Long Service Leave Act 1987 and Regulations 2017
  • Petroleum Products Regulation Act 1995 and Regulations 2008
  • Shop Trading Hours Act 1977 and Regulations 2018
  • Standard Time Act 2009
  • Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA) and Regulations 2012 (SA)

SafeWork SA has two public facing functions, the Regulator and the Educator. Both have direct but separate reporting lines to the Executive Director, who oversees both units. The Executive Director is the Regulator under South Australia’s work health and safety legislation and delegates a number of powers and functions to inspectors in the agency.

The Regulator includes the inspectorate and is led by the Director, Compliance and Enforcement. The Regulator is comprised of investigators, specialists and an inspectorate. Inspectors have experience in the industry sectors they service and ensure that WHS and public safety standards are met and appropriate action is taken when breaches of laws are detected.

The Educator is led by the Director, Workplace Education and Business Services and is unique in that no staff have any inspector powers. The Educator is made up of a help centre, where information officers are ready to take calls from customers, a mobile advisory service where advisors can provide tailored face to face advice and support to small business and a licensing unit that process and issue a variety of licences and registrations. Further information and resources are available from SafeWork SA’s website and online library service.

Our vision

Making South Australian workplaces safe

Workers and the public have a right to be safe from workplace hazards and to return home to their families, healthy, uninjured and without illness at the end of the work day.

Protecting people from unsafe workplace practices is a responsibility shared by State and Commonwealth Governments, industry, unions, business owners and workers. SafeWork SA plays a significant role in protecting the health and safety of workers by issuing a variety of licences for the safe operation of plant, machinery and facilities’ protecting aspects of public safety; taking and investigating complaints of health and safety breaches and injuries and fatalities in the workplace; advising industry and businesses on how to achieve regulatory compliance to eliminate and minimise health and safety risks; and prosecuting where appropriate.

SafeWork SA achieves this in a variety of ways, including requiring and supporting industry, businesses and workers to comply with the law and assisting workers and health and safety representatives to improve workplace conditions. SafeWork SA tailors its advice in response to industry and business size, complexity and the level of risk to workers.SafeWork SA is committed to achieving safe workplaces for all workers and the public. It will work with its stakeholders and customers to uphold health, safety and workplace relation laws and assist in achieving positive outcomes.

The following pages set the strategic context for SafeWork SA and the approach it will take to achieve this Vision.

Our strategic context

As South Australian industry expands, our paramount focus remains on protecting workers’ health and safety and protecting aspects of public safety through flexible compliance strategies. We will enhance this and be more proactive through early engagement with industry and other Government departments.

We are committed to achieving the goals outlined in this Strategic Plan and in our role as Regulator and Educator for work health and safety.

Our goals

To achieve our vision of keeping South Australians safe, we will:

  1. work with industry using more accessible and flexible arrangements
  2. regulate fairly and firmly against non-compliance to protect workers and industry
  3. be a contemporary and agile organisation, supporting innovative ways of working
  4. build a culture of performance excellence, evidence-based and transparent decision making so we are an effective and trusted Regulator.

1. We will work with industry using more accessible and flexible arrangements

What success looks like

Consistent early collaboration opportunities with industry and continued engagement through easy access to information.

We will achieve this by:

  • collaborating with and listening to industry to improve understanding of their safety challenges
  • sharing our expertise and knowledge with industry to help inform their safety policy and practices
  • supporting industry and businesses to comply with their work health and safety obligations
  • identifying early opportunities to lead, influence and contribute to improved and sustainable safety policy and practices
  • assisting stakeholders to improve work health and safety in the workplace.

Success measures

Industry engagement, at least four times a year, to understand current safety challenges.

  • Compliance data trends assessed and shared with industry, businesses and customers.
  • Intelligence-led proactive work health and safety compliance campaigns.
  • A reduction in the number of complaints received about our service delivery.
  • Complaints and notifications are responded to within defined timeframes.
  • Stakeholder and customer feedback is used to make positive service improvements.

2. We will regulate fairly and firmly against non-compliance, to protect workers and industry

What success looks like

A reduction in South Australia’s workplace fatality, injury and illness record and duty holders held accountable for failing to comply with the law.

We will achieve this by:

  • interventions with businesses to support them to voluntarily comply with their workplace safety obligations
  • working with government agencies and other state regulators to develop and implement integrated compliance campaigns
  • applying intelligence-led and risk-based analysis to prioritise workplace interventions that will lead to the reduction in workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities whilst maintaining or enhancing the productive capacity of South Australian workplaces
  • using robust compliance and enforcement tools and methodologies to address non-compliance
  • taking action against the relevant person accountable when workers are injured.

Success Measures

  • Reduction in work-related injuries, illnesses and fatalities.
  • Businesses are appropriately prosecuted and convicted or otherwise required to comply with the law.
  • Compliance and enforcement powers are exercised to reduce the incidence of non-compliance.

3. We will be a contemporary and agile organisation, supporting innovative ways of working

What success looks like

Simplified processes that support continuous improvement and reduce processing timeframes, also effective use of our resources and new technology to deliver high quality services customers, workers and the public.

We will achieve this by:

  • utilising staff skills and knowledge to continuously improve and deliver high-quality services to our customers
  • creating and embedding a sustainable accountability and quality assurance framework
  • using technological solutions and simplified processes for internal processes and external compliance, enforcement and education processes
  • implementing a paper-free office protocol.

Success Measures

  • All processes are reviewed and approved recommendations are implemented.
  • Process Improvement Agents are established across SafeWork SA.
  • Quality assurance framework and governance framework implemented.
  • All forms are made available electronically through online systems.
  • Implementation of an automated licencing system.
  • ‘Objective’ document management system is implemented.
  • Implementation of innovative solutions to become a paper-free office.
  • Budget savings identified as a result of innovative ways of working.

4. We will build a culture of performance excellence, evidence-based and transparent decision making so that we are an effective and trusted Regulator

What success looks like

A highly-trained and educated workforce that have the key skills to deliver services to industry, businesses and workers that is respected by industry for their professionalism, knowledge and expertise.

We will achieve this by:

  • delivering education and training programs that develop staff capability and performance
  • investing in training for Team Leaders and Managers to further develop leadership skills
  • having regular performance discussions with staff to keep them engaged and highly-competent
  • building a safe and positive culture through promotion of our organisational values
  • encouraging and supporting innovative and creative ideas
  • decision-making is evidence based and transparent across the organisation.

Success measures

A training matrix that identifies key skills and competencies required for each role in SafeWork SA.

  • Training delivered in accordance with the training matrix.
  • Regular performance discussions to identify opportunities for staff development.
  • Manager and Team Leader leadership development program is delivered.
  • Positive staff feedback on the Performance Discussion (PD) process.
  • Develop and implement a succession plan for all staff, enabling the identification of new and emerging leaders.
  • Reward and recognition program for staff.
  • A forum where innovative and creative ideas from staff are considered and tested.

Reporting on our progress

Reporting on the progress we make towards achieving our success measures ensures we remain transparent and accountable to our stakeholders and customers on actions taken and outcomes achieved.

We will regularly publish key performance data relevant to the each of the goals set out in the plan. Annual reporting of performance against qualitative measures, including stakeholder, industry and customer satisfaction service delivery outcomes.

We encourage feedback from workers and industry to improve our performance.