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The Power of Surveying WHS in Your Workplace

Safe Work Australia has a WHS survey on their website which they commissioned that is a good example of a survey that you could find beneficial to use in your workplace.

Surveying workers in your workplace about WHS can be a very effective tool in helping you to improve compliance with the WHS duties and the risk management requirements in WHS legislation.  

This article considers the results shown in Safe Work Australia’s survey and the potential benefits that you may receive from doing a similar survey in your workplace.


The Results of the Safe Work Australia Survey

In 2014 Safe Work Australia published an infographic called Thoughts About Workplace Safety that shows a few of the results of a WHS Perceptions Survey they conducted in 2012 as part of a nation-wide research program. A total of 1,572 businesses and 1,311 workers took part in the survey.

The results in that infographic are shown below in a table format. Imagine that these results are the results of a survey you conducted in your workplace. The last 3 results in this table would be obvious indicators that you had WHS situations that had to be handled before an incident did occur.

WHS Perceptions Survey


90% think their workplace is safe


87% encourage workers to talk to supervisors about problems

9%   think minor incidents are a normal part of daily work

18% think risks are unavoidable in this workplace

4%   accept risk-taking at work


89% think their workplace is safe

88% encourage workers to talk to supervisors about problems

24% think minor incidents are a normal part of daily work

36% think risks are unavoidable in this workplace

15% accept risk-taking at work

Creating and Doing a Survey for Your Workplace

You could use similar questions to the ones that Safe Work Australia must have used or create your own depending on the situation or areas you would like check or review. 


You could do the survey using emails or a fillable form on your intranet. However you may get the best responses and most benefits by face-to-face survey done by your Health & Safety Committee, or HSR’s, or Managers, or Supervisors.


  • Opens the door to reveal risks or perceptions that need to be handled

  • Shows that the PCBU does care about WHS and does take “reasonably practicable” steps for health & safety.   

  • Helps to keep WHS in the foreground of daily work activities

  • Invites and encourages worker involvement in WHS

  • Has the potential to improve the level of health & safety

  • Improves consultation and communication about WHS

  • Has the potential of improving safety culture

  • Helps compliance with section 19, Primary Duty of Care, WHS Act  

  • Has the potential to improve every one of the 5 key elements in Action Area 1 of SafeWork NSW’s Health & Safety Landscape.



You can view and download a copy of Safe Work Australia’s Thoughts About Workplace Safety at this link.


Material in this article from Thoughts About Workplace Safety remains the copyright of the Commonwealth of Australia © Commonwealth of Austr​alia 2014 and is used under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence (link is external) (CC BY 3.0).


You are welcome to download and distribute the article in your workplace if you feel it may be useful 

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