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Simple steps to safety

Business owners (persons conducting a business or undertaking) are responsible for the health and safety of their workers, as far as is practicable, as well as the health and safety of visitors, the public and your customers.

Successful safety cultures are led from the top, where your actions and attitudes send a message to your workers that you are serious about their health and safety. Effective safety management in a workplace requires an involvement from everyone to make it safe. To do this successfully, people need to understand their responsibilities and how they can meet them.

Our  Simple steps to safety audit tool, with useful templates and checklists, helps small businesses to include work health and safety as part of their business planning. By following these simple steps you can create a positive work health and safety culture that contributes to the safety of your business.

The audit tool can be worked through either online or downloaded and printed.

Online audit tool

Use the Simple Steps to Safety tool (links to ReturnToWorkSA's website) to help assess your current health and safety practices and to identify any areas which you can improve. The tool will assist with creating and implementing an action plan and provides information on where you can go and who you can contact to get help with work health and safety. The online audit tool was created in partnership with ReturnToWorkSA.

Download audit tool

If you prefer to download and print the audit tool you can follow our Simple Steps to Safety guide.

Getting started

Follow the PDF icon Simple steps to safety guide to set up a robust safety system for your workplace. Or check the safety of your business by completing our work health and safety checklist (PDF icon PDF | File Word) to identify hazards at your workplace and determine which areas you may want to start with for improvement.

Use our one-page template to create a work health and safety policy (PDF icon PDF | File Word) that shows your commitment.

Talking with your team

If you are serious about work health and safety then you need to lead by example. You also need the support of your workers and you can do this by involving them in spotting and solving safety concerns, and talking about them as a team.

Effective consultation encourages greater awareness of issues and can lead to improved safety outcomes. This includes concerns about your workers' wellbeing, because mental health is as important as physical health.

Follow up on your workers' suggestions and make improvements with a record of safety discussions (PDF icon PDF | File Word).

Managing hazards

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

Develop an action plan (PDF icon PDF | File Word) that's easy to use and relevant to your workplace and your workers. Your action plan will identify, based on the risk, in what order you should focus your hazard management priorities. Use this hazard list and risk assessment (PDF icon PDF | File Word) to help work out how urgently you should make changes.

Informing, training and supervising your team

Training, including workplace inductions, is one of the best ways to ensure that the people in your business are safe while at work.

Use our induction checklist (PDF icon PDF | File Word) to ensure new and returning workers understand their work environment, their job expectations and employment conditions.

Your workers will also benefit from regular training. Use our training plan (PDF icon PDF | File Word) and training record (PDF icon PDF | File Word) to organise and keep track of this.

Maintaining a safe workplace

Maintaining a safe workplace it is everyone’s responsibility. Regular communication between management and workers is crucial to keeping health and safety top of mind in your workplace. Add it as an item to your regular team meetings so workers feel comfortable bringing up any issues as they arise.

Keeping records

Written accounts of your work health and safety activities, near misses and incidents are important records for your business. To make sure you haven’t missed anything, keep checklists and registers such as hazardous substance register (PDF icon PDF | File Word) and incident hazard report (PDF icon PDF | File Word).

Monitoring and reviewing to improve

Managing and improving health and safety needs to be ongoing. Use our detailed health and safety checklist (PDF icon PDF | File Word) to test how well you are travelling in managing the safety risks related to:

  • manual tasks
  • equipment, machinery and tools
  • moving around
  • chemicals and other hazardous substances
  • electricity
  • smoking
  • unhealthy food and drink habits
  • alcohol and drugs
  • physical inactivity and screen time
  • mental health.

Our free Workplace Advisory Service

For help with work health and safety in your business you can ask for a free visit from our Workplace Advisory Service. Our advisors will work with you to provide tailored face-to-face support and practical advice based on your workplace's industry, size, risk and complexity. They have no inspector powers, so you can be comfortable asking us to help you. To speak to one of our advisors, call 1300 365 255 or complete the request form.

Further resources can be accessed from our Library catalogue.