Businesses, employers and workers need to quickly and easily find work health and safety information. If information is hard to find, workplace health and safety may be at risk.
To ensure clear and appropriate information is provided when and where it is needed, governments and regulators need to know where people look for information.
In 1995, 1998, 2001, 2009 and 2012 Safe Work Australia (and its predecessors) included questions in some of its surveys to collect data on sources of work health and safety (WHS) information.
The findings are that WHS information sources differ by the size of the business, by the role of the person in the workplace and are changing over time. For example, employer and industry associations were the most popular source of WHS information for medium and large size businesses, second to the media for small businesses. The media has consistently been a popular source of information for managers/supervisors, employers and workers and in recent years training courses have become a more valued source.
Table 1 and Table 2 show the survey results from 1995-2012:
- Chief Executive Officers said they were getting their WHS information mainly from the regulators and industry associations
- large businesses gathered their information from employer and industry associations, government Acts and Regulations, WHS inspectorates and training courses
- medium size businesses received their information from employer and industry associations, industry pamphlets and newsletters and experience/ doing the job itself
- small business were more likely to get their WHS information from the media, industry pamphlets and newsletters and the internet
- supervisors said they were getting their information from the media, training courses and meetings at work, and
- workers get their WHS information mostly from their workplace (training courses, meetings at work and their managers/supervisors) and the media.
The next survey in the series is scheduled for 2014. This will continue tracking where Australian workers get their WHS information.
|Table 1: Main sources of WHS information 1995 - 2012|
|Workers %||Workers %||CEOs %||Supervisors %||Workers %||Employers %||Workers %|
|Meetings at work||24||28||14||26|
|Industry pamphlets or newsletters||49||57||9||22||18||37||12|
|Supervisors or managers||59||44||13||21||9||24|
|Posters/ signs/ notices at work||54||55||2||12||17||11||13|
|Employer or industry associations||30||48||36||14||11||28||8|
|Email at work||6||5||17||12|
|Experience/ doing the job itself||5||4||27||15|
# Includes: Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing, Construction, Manufacturing, Transport & Storage and Health & Community Services only
|Table 2: Main sources of WHS information by size of business, 2012|
|Source||Small %||Medium %||Large %|
|Meetings at work||13||27||28|
|Government Acts/ Regulations/ Publications||14||22||43|
|Industry pamphlets or newsletters||38||34||20|
|Supervisors or managers||7||25||19|
|Health and Safety Representatives||10||20||24|
|Posters/ signs/ notices at work||12||2||1|
|Employer or industry associations||25||52||48|
|Government Health and Safety Inspectorates||9||23||33|
|Email at work||17||21||7|
|Experience/ doing the job itself||26||33||17|
|* Includes: workmates, family, friends, suppliers|