Safety Goals – How to set them: Your Complete Guide

We all know that safety is important, but not all of us know how to make our workplace safer. That’s why we put together this article, to help you work out what you need to do to make it a priority in your workplace and set your measurable safety goals.  

Safety is an essential part of every workplace, so it is important that you are keeping you safety goals up to date. Some key things to remember when setting safety goals is to make them SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-based.

Read on to learn about creating a safer workplace and a list of handy links where you can find the safety rules relevant to each state.

How do you set SMART safety goals?

To create good saftey goals you need to consider past incidents, how could they have been avoided? Making SMART safety goals is an essential part of any safety program. Creating a safe environment for staff, contractors, the public, and anyone else who steps foot in a workplace is the responsibility of every business and company.

There are many different ways to making sure that your workplace meets safety requirements. In this article, we’ll cover everything from safety culture, to the critical elements of a safety management plan. We’ll explain the role that occupational health and safety plays in the workplace and tips on how to set your safety goals.

First you need to learn from your past. Look at the recorded incidents from the previous year, find areas that need improvement, and then set goals based on that. It’s important to involve others in the process, it encourages staff to take intitaitve to look after themselves as well as their colleagues’.

Getting your employees involved in the process is a great way to get another perspective from the boots on the ground as well.  It not only provides them with an opportunity to take ownership of their part of the safety culture but will also provide feedback on what makes a realistic or achievable goal.

How do you set SMART safety goals

What are the 5 stages of safety goal programs?

1. Worksite analysis and hazard identification

Knowing the hazards in your workplace is the first step to reducing risks and creating a safer workplace. Complete a worksite analysis or audit with people qualified to recognise both the existing hazards and any potential risks.

2. Management commitment and employee involvement

Everything flows from the top down. For a safety management program to work, management needs to commit to providing adequate resources for a safe work environment.  These include rostering enough staff and appropriate training and equipment. 

Management should also facilitate an environment for employees to get involved and be able to provide feedback or report potential hazards when they see them. You can also consider implementing a stop-work authority.  If an employee, regardless of their rank, believes a task is becoming too risky, they can call a stop.  This makes every employee an active part of ensuring a safe workplace.

3. Policies and procedures

Safety programs need to include plans, policies and procedures for safe practices and operations in your workplace. Keep them focused on the ways that the hazards and risks identified in the workplace can be removed or reduced using the hierarchy of controls. It’s also essential that all safety policies and procedures are communicated clearly to staff. 

4. Safety training

Everyone in the workplace needs to be trained in the safety management system.  This includes the operation of any machinery, the use of personal protective equipment and the conditions they’re used in. 

5. Performance tracking and improvement

Every safety management program requires an evaluation and review. Investigate all incidents that occur, including near-misses, to identify causes and what improvements can be made.  Keep records of all these incidents and look to identify any patterns that indicate a hazard or risk that still needs to be addressed.

What is safety culture and how does it relate to your safety goals?

Safety culture is the way the people within the workplace think and act towards being safe. It comes about when an organisation’s people value and respect their safety goals.  When people come together and commit to the policies and procedures designed to uphold the safety and wellbeing of themselves and others in the workplace, it creates a safer environment.  A safety culture comes about when the group shares the same values, attitudes, perceptions and patterns of behaviour. The overall result is a positive culture around safety within the workplace.

“A strong safety culture is built on open communication, where workers are encouraged to speak up about safety concerns without fear of repercussion, and their input is valued and acted upon.”

Marcus, Local Workforce Hire

This shared way of thinking and acting makes the workplace a lot safer for everyone. In a good safety culture, people talk openly about potential issues, learn from mistakes, and everyone feels responsible for keeping things safe. It’s like creating a team where everyone’s job is to look out for each other, making sure that getting hurt at work is less likely to happen. This team effort creates a positive vibe around staying safe at work, making the workplace not just safer but also a place where people care about and look after each other.

What is safety culture?

Why is safety culture important?

Employers are responsible for the health and wellbeing of staff and visitors to their workplaces and have a legal duty of care.  So, workplaces and organisations should always have safety management policies and procedures in place.  But just having rules isn’t enough, if people don’t value them, they will not follow them.

When it comes to workplace health and safety, complacency can have serious consequences, such as injury or death. If employees become complacent about safety procedures, others will follow suit. That’s why safety culture and saftey goals are so important.

People in groups tend to have a group mindset. Generally people prefer to go with the flow than stand out with different behaviour.  This can be great or difficult when it comes to setting up workplace culture. Depending on existing values within the group, getting to a positive safety culture may be harder in some workplaces than others. But with the right management and guidance, and getting employees to contribute their ideas, all workplaces can achieve this. It is vital that, from the management down, good practices are being set and encouraged.

Once set up, it is easy to maintain. Once your workplace has a safety culture, then your employees are more likely to adhere to your company’s safety policies and procedures even if it means a little more work to ensure that their activities are conducted safely. 

By creating a positive culture where your employees are mindful of the health and safety of themselves and others, you reduce the chances of accidents.  Any new employees are more likely to join in and follow the established workflows as well, making a strong safety culture self-sustaining.

What are the 5 elements of safety culture?

1. Leadership Involvement

Workplace culture starts at the top. It’s up to your managers and supervisors to set the standard for the rest of the employees. They need to demonstrate, and provide good safety goal examples, that encourage safety conscious behaviour.  Employees take their cues from the people in charge; if supervisors model safety practices and facilitate a positive work environment, then employees are more likely to take an active part in safety culture.

2. Shared Values

The goal is for all members and levels of staff to share the same values.  If they have the right attitudes, perceptions and patterns of behaviour that pertain to ensuring the wellbeing of everyone in the workplace, it creates an ideal environment for the development of safety culture. 

3. Accountability

Both leadership and employees need to be kept accountable.  If your leadership becomes lax, it can have adverse effects on the workplace. The staff beneath them are likely to feel that either:

  • the procedures they’ve had to follow aren’t really necessary, and become complacent themselves, or
  • that their supervisor doesn’t care for their wellbeing, therefore affecting morale.

As well as demonstrating the correct attitudes and practices themselves, supervisors need to hold other individuals accountable. It’s critical that they don’t develop a mindset where it’s okay to let safety practices slip as long as production goals are met. If someone doesn’t follow the safety procedures, it is important that they are held accountable.

4. Responsibility

A safe workplace isn’t just up to the management; every staff member should play an active part in the safety culture.  All employees should value a safe workplace and take responsibility for their actions that could affect the health and wellbeing of everyone around them, whether it’s themselves, colleagues, customers, or the general public. For example, while the employer has the responsibility to provide PPE and train employees on how to use it, each individual has to take responsibility to use it properly as they have been instructed.

5. Constant Support

Safety goals and practices should be communicated clearly to everyone.  Provide training and support to your employees, and allow them the opportunity to provide feedback if they feel that a task or procedure could be made safer.

Safety Goals for Work

Setting safety goals for work is essential in fostering a secure and healthy environment that protects employees and promotes operational efficiency. Incorporating safety goals for work within the business plan establishes a foundation for a culture of safety that permeates every level of the organisation.

By embedding these objectives at the strategic planning stage, businesses can ensure that a safe workplace is not just an afterthought but is integral to operational and management processes. This approach allows for the tailoring of specific objectives to the unique needs and risks of each division, ensuring that measures are both relevant and effective. Managers of different areas are then tasked with implementing these division-specific safety goals, creating a cohesive yet flexible strategy that addresses the particular challenges and hazards their teams may face. This method ensures that protocols are not only standardised across the company but also customized to enhance protection in high-risk areas or in tasks that present specific dangers. By setting safety goals for work at the business planning level and cascading them down through management, organisations can create a proactive environment where every employee is engaged in minimising risks, leading to a safer, more productive workplace.

safety goals for work

Safety Goals For Performance Reviews

Incorporating safety goals into performance reviews is a powerful strategy leaders can use to set clear expectations that shape and drive an organisation’s culture. By defining specific, measurable objectives that align with the company’s core values and strategic vision, leaders effectively communicate what is expected from each employee in terms of behavior, performance, and contributions to the team’s success. It also empowers employees to contribute to the process by setting their own safety goals during performance agreements really lets them interpret what safety means for them in their job. This way, they’re more likely to really get behind these goals, since they helped make them.

This approach ensures that everyone is working towards the same targets, fostering a unified and motivated workforce. Furthermore, when leaders include goals that emphasise collaboration, continuous improvement, and innovation, they encourage a culture that values teamwork, adaptability, and creative problem-solving. Setting such expectations not only guides employees in their day-to-day activities but also cultivates an environment where excellence, accountability, and mutual support are ingrained in the organisational DNA.

As employees strive to meet these goals, they become active participants in reinforcing and enhancing the company culture, ultimately leading to a more engaged, productive, and cohesive team. This process not only achieves short-term objectives but also lays the groundwork for long-term success by developing a strong, positive culture that attracts and retains top talent.

Example of Safety Goals for Employees

Examples of safety goals for employees encompass a wide range of specific, measurable objectives aimed at reducing risks and fostering a safe working environment. One common goal could involve completing specific training sessions or certifications within a set timeframe, enhancing employees’ knowledge and skills in handling potential hazards. Employers might also set goals around the proper use and maintenance of personal protective equipment (PPE), ensuring that employees are well-protected and PPE is in good condition.

Encouraging the reporting of near-misses and concerns without fear of reprisal is another critical goal, as it helps identify and mitigate risks before they lead to accidents. Finally, participating in safety meetings and contributing to discussions on improving practices can be a goal for employees, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and collective responsibility for workplace safety. These goals not only aim to minimise the incidence of workplace injuries but also emphasise the importance of proactive measures and employee involvement in creating a safer work environment.

safety goals for performance review

What are the goals of Occupational Health and Safety?

It’s the goal of Occupational Health and Safety to promote a safe and healthy work environment.  No workplace is free from risks, and workplace injuries can have serious consequences. These can range from mild to severe, including physical harm, illness, inability to work (temporary or permanent), mental health, emotional stress on family members, and in severe cases, death.

Occupational Health and Safety’s purpose is to protect anyone who steps foot into a workplace.  It aims to ensure employees’ health, safety and welfare at work, promoting a positive work environment.  It also protects visitors from the health and safety risks arising from work activities. Occupational Health and Safety standards even dictate the storage and use of explosive, highly flammable, or dangerous substances to reduce the associated risks. 

Although it can sometimes feel like a lot of red tape and rules to people who aren’t familiar with workplace injuries, and just how easily they can happen, it really is there for everyone’s benefit.  By implementing policies, procedures and safety management programs, you’re taking steps to carry out your legal duty of care to people in your workplace.

Occupational health and safety standards

Occupational health and safety standards are the standards set in place by Worksafe Australia to ensure the safety, health and welfare of people in all workplaces.  Referred to as a “model WHS (Workplace Health and Safety) Regulations”, they form part of the “model WHS laws”, and set out the detailed requirements to support the duties in the “model WHS Act.”

You can find a list of the government regulators for each state here, or read through our list below.

Australian Capital Territory

WorkSafe ACT is responsible for administering, enforcing and educating industry on all matters pertaining to the Worker’s Compensation Act 1951 and associated legislation.

New South Wales

SafeWork NSW is the state’s workplace health and safety regulator (with the exception of mines and petroleum sites). It focuses on harm prevention and improving the safety culture in NSW.


Workplace Health and Safety Queensland ( WHSQ ) – Office of Industrial Relations is responsible for improving work health and safety in Queensland and helping reduce the risk of workers being killed or injured on the job.


WorkSafe Victoria is the statutory authority responsible for promoting and enforcing health and safety in Victorian workplaces.


WorkSafe Tasmania’s primary role is to improve workplace safety, health and return to work. It administers the laws that regulate work health and safety, workers compensation, occupational licensing, asbestos compensation, dangerous goods, and more.

South Australia

SafeWork SA is responsible for providing work health and safety, public safety and state-based industrial relations services across South Australia

Western Australia

WorkSafe WA is the Western Australian Government agency responsible for the administration of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.

Northern Territory

NT WorkSafe is the administrative and regulatory arm of the Northern Territory Work Health Authority and is responsible for the Territory-wide regulation of workplace health and safety.

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