Reasonably practicable

Reasonably practicable means doing what is reasonably able to be done to ensure the health and safety of workers and others.

Employers and businesses (and other PCBUs) should always try to eliminate, so far as is reasonably practicable, any health and safety risks in the workplace. 

If a risk cannot be removed, you must minimise it by doing one or more of these things:

  • substituting (wholly or partly) the hazard with something with a lesser risk
  • isolating the hazard from any person exposed to it
  • implementing engineering controls (if the risk remains you must implement administrative controls)
  • use personal protective equipment.

If these controls do not fully eliminate or minimise the risk, the you must implement administrative controls and then, if appropriate, ensure the provision of suitable personal protective equipment. A combination of controls may be used to minimise a risk if a single control is not sufficient.

In determining control measures, the you should identify and consider everything that may be relevant to the hazards and risks and the means of eliminating or minimising the risks.

When determining what is reasonably practicable, you should take into account:  

  • the likelihood of the hazard or risk occurring
  • the degree of harm from the hazard or risk
  • knowledge about ways of eliminating or minimising the hazard or risk
  • the availability and suitability of ways to eliminate or minimise the risk
  • cost.

Talking to workers will help you identify hazards. Analysing previous incidents will also provide an excellent source of information about risks.

The WHS Regulation and relevant codes of practice will also provide more information about controlling hazards.

Other sources of information include:

  • technical standards
  • material published by other work health and safety regulators
  • industry practice and publications
  • published scientific and technical literature.