The Issue

How businesses and workers gain access to work health and safety information has been identified as an area of interest in The Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012–2022 under the action area of Health and safety capabilities: Improved work health and safety capabilities.

The Study

This brief reports on sources of work health and safety information used by Australian businesses and workers as measured by the Perceptions of Work Health and Safety Survey (2012) and the Health and Safety at Work: Your experience and costs Survey (2014). How employers provide information to their workers is also examined.


These surveys include responses from 1052 employers, 520 sole traders and 1311 workers (2012) and 706 sole traders and 1644 employers (2014). The data were weighted to produce national estimates of the number of businesses and workers in Australia that hold particular attitudes and perceptions about work health and safety. Due to the low response rate obtained for these surveys we cannot be confident that the information is representative of the whole population.

Main Findings

Sources of information

In 2014 the three main sources used by Australian businesses overall to get information about work health and safety requirements were Government documents and publications (33 per cent), the Media (32 per cent) and Employer/ Industry associations (31 per cent).

Employer/ industry associations were the most used source of work health and safety information for employers and sole traders operating in the Manufacturing (42 per cent), Construction (44 per cent), Road freight transport (43 per cent) and Health care and social assistance (58 per cent) industries.

Figure 1 shows that in 2012 the most common source from which something about work health and safety was learnt for Australian business owners (employers and sole traders) was the Media. Conversely, the most common source for Australian workers was Training courses (39 per cent) followed by the Media (29 per cent). For HSRs and WHSPs the most common sources were Government Acts/ regulations and publications (42 per cent) and Employer/ industry associations (38 per cent).


Figure 1: Sources of work health and safety information by worker type 2012

Employer dissemination of work health and safety information

In 2014 Australian businesses indicated that workers were provided with information or notified about work health and safety policies and procedures during a walk around the workplace alone or with other managers (68 per cent), through informal communication with workers (54 per cent) and during meetings on work health and safety with management and through notice boards (35 per cent each). Thirty seven per cent of businesses indicated they informed workers through other means.

Related materials

The Sources of work health and safety information in Australian workplaces research report provides full details of the study.


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