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As a manager, you have an obligation to take reasonable care of yourself and to ensure your actions do not put others at risk of a health and safety injury. You also need to address work health and safety issues raised by workers and take active steps to minimise risks to health and safety at work.

The Office Safety tool can help you identify hazards and risks associated with the work you do so you can take positive action to keep yourself and others safe in the office.

Potential harm

  • Anxiety
  • Stress

Top risks

  1. Musculoskeletal disorder.
  2. Stress.

What you can do for yourself

As a manager, there are actions you can take.

  • Understand work tasks and expectations.
  • Be familiar with your organisation’s policies and procedures.
  • Discuss with your manager if you are unclear of any task.
  • Consider reprioritising work or renegotiating due dates.
  • Look after your own health by eating a balanced diet, drinking enough fluids and getting some exercise.
  • Take your allocated breaks.
  • Take your annual leave.
  • Understand risk management principles.

What you can do for your team

  • Lead by example. If your team see you working through lunch, eating lunch at your desk, staying late or taking work home, they will think that is expected behaviour and follow.
  • Set the standard. The standard you accept and display as manager is often the standard your team will mirror. A manager who turns a blind eye to or encourages short cuts in work practices, does not convey to the team that they are committed to safe work.
  • Understand your duty of care as a manager to your workers and how that translates into action.
  • Monitor the workloads of your team members and help them to readjust or reprioritise where necessary.
  • Try to make sure each has a balanced workload, considering their skills and capacity.
  • Encourage them to take regular breaks.
  • Understand the sources of risk to your workers in the work they do. Identify them and take corrective actions to remove or reduce them.
  • Aim to resolve health and safety issues brought to your attention as soon as possible.
  • Support staff who are injured.
  • Consult with workers using effective open communication. Workplaces where employers and employees regularly discuss and act upon safety issues are safer workplaces.

What employers can do for managers

  • Put systems and procedures in place that enable safe work practices.
  • Offer flexible working arrangements such as working from home or offsite.
  • Provide access to support services for managers, such as a manager assistance program.
  • Set reasonable and attainable key performance indicators for managers and their teams.
  • Verify compliance with procedures and other work practices.
  • Monitor workloads so peaks and troughs can be effectively resourced and managed.
  • If workers do prefer to work outside business hours and they are sending emails to other colleagues, suggest they include in the mail footer something like ‘this is a flexible workforce and workers can choose to work at any time that suits their circumstances’.

More information

For more information, see:

Page last reviewed: 20 May 2021

Comcare (Office Safety tool)
GPO Box 9905, Canberra, ACT 2601
1300 366 979 |

Date printed 21 Apr 2024