Leadership hub


Why is good safety leadership important to you?

Leaders have a vital role to play when it comes to managing safety. When workers know their managers place high importance on working safely, they are more likely to be motivated to follow safety procedures and raise safety issues.

Good leadership promotes compliance with the work health and safety laws. For example, an officer’s duty of due diligence has elements of good leadership, such as knowing about work health and safety matters, having resources to manage work health and safety risks, and monitoring and evaluation.

Leaders can be at all levels of an organisation: from the Board and senior executives, through middle level managers such as site managers, to front-line supervisors.

Principles of effective leadership in work health and safety

The information on this website has been developed as part of a collaborative project between Safe Work Australia Members. It is based on five leadership principles to help you develop your safety leadership practices, and create a workplace culture that promotes safety.

The leadership principles are:

  • Commit to safety
  • Get involved
  • Encourage participation
  • Make work health and safety part of your business
  • Review your performance

Before you start – consultation and engagement

Consultation is a legal requirement and essential to managing work health and safety risks.

Engagement – involving all your workers in decisions, encouraging and valuing their participation – is critical for developing a healthy, safe and productive workplace culture.

Leaders who engage with their workers and promote a culture of consultation and collaboration will actively improve work health and safety in their organisation.

Consulting and engaging with workers helps you to make better decisions about work health and safety matters, and helps you to reduce work-related death, injury and disease.

Consultation and engagement will be a recurring theme in this information because they are the foundation of both transactional and transformational leadership styles, which underlie the leadership principles.

What are consultation and engagement?

Consultation and engagement form a two-way process between you and your workers where you:

  • talk to each other about health and safety matters
  • listen to their concerns and raise your concerns
  • seek and share views and information, and
  • consider what your workers say before you make decisions.

Consultation and engagement require:

  • you share relevant work health and safety information with workers
  • workers have a reasonable opportunity to express their views and to raise health or safety issues
  • workers have a reasonable opportunity to contribute to the decision-making process relating to the health and safety matter
  • workers’ views are taken into account, and
  • workers are told about the outcomes of any consultation in a timely matter.



Questions should be emailed to info@swa.gov.au.

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