Priority areas (areas of focus)

WorkSafe is working with employers, employees and employee representatives to set up and maintain systems of work so that employees are not exposed to hazards.

This page explains how we are setting priorities so that our joint efforts make the greatest possible impact on workplace deaths and lost time injuries.

Approach and business strategy

WorkSafe’s collaborative approach with industry, employers and the workforce is focused on:

  • influencing the commercial environment in Western Australia to ensure the achievement of best safety and health outcomes in the workplace;
  • empowering business and community partners to lead in the reduction of workplace hazards and associated risks to health;
  • developing a modern, world class regulatory environment;
  • enforcing the law; and
  • strengthening organisational capacity to assist business operators and workers to manage occupational safety and health effectively.

Setting priorities

To ensure that our preventive work has the greatest possible impact, we have identified priority areas (areas of focus) that we target through inspection programs. These priority areas have been shown to result in high rates of injury or a higher than average number of deaths. They are:

  • mobile plant;
  • manual tasks (particularly lifting);
  • electricity;
  • work at heights;
  • slips, trips and falls;
  • hazardous substances; and
  • machine guarding

These priorities change over time and new areas and issues may need to be added, particularly as technology changes, new work practices are adopted and new information on workplace risks become available. We are also confident that some problems will be substantially reduced so that they may no longer be considered a priority.

WorkSafe is also guided by the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2022

When our inspectors visit

When a WorkSafe inspector visits a workplace, they carry out an inspection for WorkSafe’s seven priority areas in most instances and where they are relevant. They will also consider other hazards observed during an inspection.

With reactive activity, there are set circumstances where an inspector uses their discretion not to inspect for priority areas. These are where an investigation involves multiple visits to workplace, a fatality or serious injury or disease, a high level of tension associated with a situation or all the priority areas were covered by an inspection in the preceding twelve months or there is limited time. For injury and disease investigations, inspectors are likely to focus on hazards relating to the injury or harm, as well as other hazards.

For investigations as part of a specific campaign focused on a specific priority area, investigations will look at all priority areas and may look at other industry-specific hazards.

For investigations as part of a specific campaign not focused on a specific priority area, investigations will look at the priority areas where they are relevant as well as industry specific hazards.

For most campaigns, specific industry checklists will be developed to ensure all relevant areas are covered.

Where inspectors become aware of non-compliance with provision of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 (OSH Act) and/or the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 (OSH regulations), they may issue verbal directions, improvement notices or prohibition notices, or issue a combination of these.  WorkSafe inspectors refers to WorkSafe's Compliance Policy when making a decision about enforcement action.

Checklists

These checklists will be invaluable to you in checking that you are meeting basic standards of safety for the priority area.

The seven checklists are:

Checklists are available on other safety topics.

 

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