- Workplace category
Create a safe, inclusive and comfortable place to work.
The work environment is the physical and psychological spaces created by your organisation.
- What equipment is used by your employees?
- What spaces are available for different tasks, lunch breaks or meetings?
- Do you have the right lighting, heating/cooling, and cleanliness?
- Are materials and equipment well maintained?
What you can do
Certain spaces can encourage healthy behaviours, such as facilities for showers after a ride to work. Policies, and systems for reporting and managing risks, such as trips or falls, bullying and fatigue are essential. Ongoing employee training to prevent injury is a core responsibility of an employer.
1. Physical and psychological hazards
Identify potential hazards that could affect people’s physical or psychological safety. Have systems for employees to report concerns.
- Have a risk management system across the entire business
- Clearly define how to identify, eliminate or reduce/manage all safety risks
- Make it easy for all staff to see and respond to hazards
Design spaces for specific activities or preferred ways of working. The way you set up workspaces can encourage healthier behaviours.
- Provide spaces where people can have confidential conversations
- Offer dedicated break space/s for relaxation and social connection
- Minimise isolation by providing opportunities for face-to-face interactions
3. Plant, equipment and materials
Regularly assess and maintain your plant, equipment and materials. Ongoing training can prevent injury.
- Check the equipment is right for the job – it may need to be replaced or updated
- Have equipment maintenance schedules and audits
- Keep bathrooms and kitchens clean and offer useful items
4. Vehicles, buildings and structures
Assess and maintain vehicles, buildings and structures. Policies and systems should be accessible and practical.
- Consider the accessibility of your work locations for employees or clients with a disability
- Make sure all locations have a compliant emergency plan
- Make emergency equipment part of a regular inspection and maintenance program
Please note: These are only suggested resources. Organisations should consider their own needs when selecting resources to use.
Physical and psychological hazards
- ACT Government: Managing Psychosocial Hazards at Work Code of Practice/ and infographic – The Code of Practice and the WHS Regulation Amendments set out clear duties for persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) when managing psychosocial hazards at work.
- ACT Government: Managing the risks of airborne crystalline silica (silica dust) in the workplace Code of Practice commences on 15 November 2023. It sets clear guidance for persons conducting a business or undertaking when managing the risks of silica dust at work.
- Safe Work Australia: Psychosocial hazards – Details common psychosocial hazards, how they cause harm and how to manage them.
- Comcare: Psychosocial hazards – Identifies 14 psychosocial hazards and provides information on what they are, the risks they pose and how to eliminate or minimise them in your workplace.
- Black Dog Institute: Psychosocial hazards – Details how to manage psychosocial hazards in your workplace
- Comcare: Physical hazards – Details types of physical hazards, types of work and industries, and provides suggested training.
- Safe Work Australia: Hazards – Details how you to manage hazards, and keep yourself and your workers safe from harm.
- WorkSafe ACT: Risk management – Details how the risk management process applies to all hazards and risks, and can be used for physical hazards and psychosocial hazards alike.
- Comcare: Office Safety Tool – Tool for identifying hazards and risks in your office.
- Safe Work Australia – Identify, assess and control hazards– resources on how to identify, assess and control hazards.
- Comcare: Spaces and rooms – A tool to help you identify health and safety risks in your home or office space.
- WorkSafe ACT: Working safely from home – Guidance on how to safely work from home including a checklist and further resources.
- Safe Work Australia: Working outside – Information to assist workers understand the risks of working outside and the duties of their employer.
- Safe Work Australia: Managing work environment and facilities – This model Code of Practice provides guidance on how to provide and maintain a physical work environment that is without risks to health and safety.
- Safe Work Australia: Model Code of Practice for Managing Risks and Hazardous Chemicals in the Workplace – This model Code of Practice has been developed to provide practical guidance on how to manage health and safety risks associated with hazardous chemicals.
Plant, equipment and materials
- Safe Work Australia: Model Code of Practice: Managing risks of plant in the workplace – This model Code of Practice provides guidance on managing risks of plant in the workplace.
- Safe Work Australia: Guide for safe design of plant – This guide provides information on designing, redesigning or modifying plant to be used in a workplace.
- Safe Work Australia: Personal protective equipment (PPE) – Information on what your duties as a PCBU are when providing PPE for your workers.
- WorkSafe ACT: Plant registration – Information on registering plant in the ACT.
- Comcare: Storage and equipment areas – Information on identifying health and safety risk in storage and equipment areas.
Vehicles, buildings and structures
- Comcare: Drivers, riders and pedestrians – Information on what workers can do and what employers can do to minimise and control hazards.
- SafeWork Australia: Emergency plan template – This template is for organisations to write an emergency plan.
- SafeWork Australia: Emergency plan factsheet – This factsheet provides information on preparing and maintaining general emergency plans.
- WorkSafe QLD: Vehicles as a workplace – Driver Safety Maturity Model (DSMM) that supports identification of WHS controls to manage work-related driving.
- WorkSafe QLD: Vehicles as a workplace National Guide – This risk management framework is for individuals and organisations and includes processes for managing risk in line with relevant legislation and contemporary road safety principles.
- Australian Human Rights Commission: Creating accessible workplace – This guide provides information on creating an accessible workplace in relation to: the physical workplace, workplace attitudes, workplace technology and reasonable adjustments.
All businesses are different and face unique problems and challenges. Make your health and wellbeing program relevant for your business and your employees. It may take a few attempts to find the right strategies that work for your organisation.
To explore all potential work environment strategies, download the information sheet.
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