Good work design
One of the best ways to prevent and control workplace injuries is to minimise hazards early in the idea planning and design phase.
Principles of good work design
Good work design, or safety in design, considers hazards and risks as early as possible in the planning and design process.
It aims to eliminate or minimise the possibility of workplace injury or illness throughout the life of the product or process.
There are 10 principles of good work design that can be applied to support better work health and safety outcomes as well as business productivity.
The principles can be applied to all design including:
- layout and configuration
- work and work processes.
Making sure that work, work processes and systems are designed to reduce the risk to workers is an important part of a work health and safety management system.
Principles of Good Work Design handbook provides information on each principle and offers guidance and advice to help you put good work design into practice.
Addressing safe and healthy work through design is also a national priority in the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-22.
What you need to consider
To manage work health and safety risks during design, you should consider:
Physical working environment
The design of the product, plant, equipment and work layout to reduce the possibility of hazards occurring in the workplace.
The design of the work includes how long a task lasts and how frequently it occurs, how complex the task is and how work is performed. It also includes the physical, mental and emotional demands of the task.
This includes the physical, emotional and mental abilities and needs of workers, including those returning to work following an injury or illness.
The Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 outline design duties. Offences apply specifically to people in control of design who fail to eliminate or minimise risks in relation to:
- Noise – section 59
- Hazardous manual tasks – section 61
- Confined spaces – section 64
- Plant and structures – chapter 5
- Construction work – section 295.
Case studies show examples of organisations putting good work design into practice:
- Case Study: Good Work through Effective Design video explains how the ten principles of good work design can be applied, using real-life industry case studies.
- Case Study: Good Work Design at Australian Bureau of Statistics shows how a flexible work environment was implemented applying the principles of good work design throughout the project, which was a collaboration between Safe Work Australia, Comcare and the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
- Principles and Evidence for Good Work through Effective Design report (PDF, 871.1 KB) commissioned by Comcare
- Principles of Good Work Design handbook – Safe Work Australia
- Good work design guidance, research and videos – Safe Work Australia
- How to Manage Work Health and Safety Risks Code of Practice
- Biological hazards, chemical hazards, ergonomic hazards, physical hazards and psychosocial hazards.