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What does good risk management look like?

Good risk management means:

  • your tasks, items of plant and workplace are designed to be safe
  • effective risk management processes are in place to identify hazards and control risks
  • highest-level controls are used to eliminate or minimise risks
  • controls are checked to make sure they don’t create new risks
  • controls are reviewed regularly
  • workers are consulted throughout each step of the risk management process
  • workers understand risks and control measures
Easy to do
work health and safety

Identify health and safety risks

You must find out what your health and safety risks are, particularly those that could cause harm to your workers.

It’s important to understand that risks are caused by hazards or situations in the workplace.

To find hazards take regular walks around the workplace and look out for potential hazards including:




Type of hazard

Example of hazard

Example of harm caused

Manual tasks

Heavy lifting, repetitive movement

Muscular strain


Working with live electricity

Shock, burns or death


Blade, conveyor belt, auger

Lacerations, crushed or loss of limbs




Working at heights

Ladder, scaffolding

Broken bones from falls, death, permanent disability


Desk height set incorrectly

Neck or back pain

Hazardous chemicals

Exposure to toxic chemicals

Illness, disease and death

Extreme temperatures

Exposure to adverse weather, hot or cold environments

Dehydration, heat stroke, frost bite


Prolonged exposure to noisy machinery

Permanent hearing loss


Exposure to ultra violet light, welding arc flashes, microwaves and lasers

Burns, cancer or blindness


Exposure to blood or bodily fluids

Disease, skin allergies, irritations


Bullying, stress, fatigue

Anxiety, depression, mental health issues


Untidy work area or floor space

Slips, trips and falls

Control measures

Use the right controls to eliminate or minimise risks and protect your workers.

Put in place control measures to protect your workers from any identified risks:  1. Remove the hazard completely. Elimination is the most effective way to manage risks. 2. Where it is not practical to eliminate a hazard, risks must be minimised using one or more of the following:   Engineering - change the design. Substitute the hazard for something safer. Isolate or separate the hazard from people.  3. Minimise remaining risks using administrative controls - eg safe work procedures, staff training 4. If risks remain, control the possible impact on people using personal protective equipment - eg safety glasses, hard hats, protective clothing. This is the least effective way to manage risks.

Regularly review your risks and controls

Controlling risks is an ongoing process that must be reviewed regularly. Review and, if necessary, revise control measures when:

  • an incident occurs
  • the control measure is not working
  • a new risk or hazard is identified
  • consultation suggests a review is necessary
  • workplace changes - eg  planned changes to layout or equipment
  • a health and safety committee requests it

Set up a process to manage your controls and educate your workers. This is called a health and safety system and includes a combination of safety procedures, training for workers, and/or warning signs for hazards.

You must involve your workers at each step of the risk management process. By using the experience, knowledge and ideas of your workers, you are more likely to find safety issues and choose better control measures.

Design tasks and the use of equipment to be safe

When designing tasks and processes, give your workers:

  • manageable workloads
  • reasonable hours
  • appropriate duties - eg avoid excessive manual handling or repetitive tasks

When using new equipment, make sure:

  • the item is fit-for-purpose
  • equipment is safely guarded
  • it is stored correctly
  • workers know how to use it safely
  • you get safety data sheets and operating manuals from your designers, manufacturers, importers and suppliers

To avoid problems, talk to experienced workers before you buy new machinery and equipment. For more information, see ‘safe working environment’.


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