How is a safe work procedure (SWP) developed?

On 31 March 2022, the Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws replaced the health and safety elements of the Mines Safety and Inspection laws. For information visit

Transitional arrangements may be in place for the compliance requirements on this page.

All health and safety notifications, forms and guidance for mining and petroleum has moved to the WorkSafe website

Information sources

A safe work procedure (SWP) should be developed from information received from various sources, including original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), risk assessments, task observations and consultation with workers.


Things to do when developing a SWP include:

  • observe the task - in real time and in the workplace, to give a true reflection of the risks workers are exposed to
  • break the task into steps - observe each activity in the task to note specific details
  • identify hazards for each step - assess each key step of the task for potential hazards
  • review each step - ensure each step of the task is being conducted most appropriately with respect to associated risks
  • develop controls - specify controls that mitigate the risks, considering requirements made under legislation, Australian Standards and codes of practice
  • develop critical safety instructions or safety rules - highlight critical components of the safe work procedure for high risk tasks
  • document the SWP - ensure information is recorded for future reference
  • test and approve the SWP - review the procedures and amend as appropriate
  • implement the SWP - include worker training in the new or revised procedures to assist with  implementation
  • update and maintain the SWP - update procedures and instructions
    • periodically
    • when significant changes are made to the work process or materials
    • in the event of an incident.