Safe design

Safe design means the integration of control measures early in the design process to eliminate or, if this is not reasonable practicable, minimise risks to health and safety throughout the lifecycle of the product being designed. 

Buildings, structures, machinery and equipment, tools and vehicles all need safe design to protect the people who use them from getting sick or injured. 

Safe design starts at the concept phase, when a PCBU is deciding and identifying:   

  • design and intended purpose 
  • materials 
  • how someone will build, maintain, operate, demolish, dismantle or dispose of it 
  • legislation, codes of practice and standards it’ll need to comply with. 

WHS duties 

Everyone in the workplace has WHS duties under the model WHS Act. You have specific duties if you are: 

  • a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) 
  • a designer, manufacturer, importer, supplier and installer of plant, substances or structures 
  • an officer. 

The model WHS Regulations outline duties that apply to safe design. This includes specific requirements for the design of plant and a person who commissions construction work. For further information see:  

As a PCBU, you must, so far as is reasonably practicable:  

  • ensure the health and safety of workers and others at your workplace  
  • consult with workers, and health and safety representatives (HSRs) if you have them, who are (or are likely to be) directly affected by a health and safety matter, and 
  • consult, cooperate and coordinate activities with all other relevant duty holders.