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SMB owners: how to be your own health and safety manager and department

Large corporations have entire departments dedicated to occupational health and safety (OHS). In the world of small business, this is generally yet another responsibility which sits with the business owner.

Maintaining a safe and healthy environment for your customers, your team and yourself is the best way to help avoid injuries, sickness and incidents within your business. Here are some tips to follow which could help you to effectively run your own OHS department.

Find the right tools and information

WorkSafe has dedicated an area of their website to small business health and safety. You can take a quiz to see how your business measures up, find some useful tips and factsheets, or access a toolbox of templates and forms to help you create and manage health and safety in your business.

You can also visit Safe Work Australia for a range of health and safety guidance and tools related to your industry. This information is updated based on national policies, so you can find the latest information you need for your business.

Set a high standard

If a pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that situations and regulations can change quickly. Rather than having to react to sudden changes, it’s worth setting a high standard of safety and cleanliness for your business at all times.

Keep learning


It’s important to keep on top of the latest requirements and recommendations for your industry. Stay in touch with your industry network and look for courses, events and information related to health and safety protocols in your field.

Share your commitment

Within your team, make sure everybody receives proper health and safety training. Communicate any changes to your policies and practices and make sure these are recorded clearly in writing.

While a safer working environment is a reward in itself, you could consider ways to really get your team on board with health and safety through incentives or your own recognition program. Be open to feedback from your team (and also your customers and suppliers) if they have suggestions or concerns about your health and safety practices.

Don’t overlook mental health

An important part of a maintaining a safe and healthy workplace is making sure you look for ways to manage work-related stress, including your own. Whether they have just started in their role or have been part of your team for years, it’s worth holding regular sessions with your team to make sure everybody is working in a safe, healthy and supported way.


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