Supporting safe design through education

Three people looking at building plans

Raising awareness

Safe design, or safety in design, is about hazard identification and risk management early in the design phase to eliminate or reduce risk of injury in construction, use, maintenance and demolition of structures.

A challenge in the building and construction industry is to raise awareness of safe design. The Office of the Federal Safety Commissioner (OFSC) encourages and promotes safe design through a number of activities. One of these activities has been to provide development opportunities for engineers.

Supporting education of engineers

In 2007–08, the OFSC provided support to the Association of Consulting Engineers Australia (ACEA) by funding ten regional engineers to attend the two-day course, ‘Associated Professional Certificate in Safety in Design’. This course was created and organised by ACEA and the University of Sydney.

By the end of April 2008, six OFSC-funded participants had attended. These engineers would not have been able to attend without this funding. A total of 198 participants have attended since courses started in May 2007.

The course is aimed at increasing awareness of the role and obligations of consulting engineers. The course covers topics such as legislation, guidance material, codes of practice, practical tools for safe design and developing a safety culture.

Safe design in action

OFSC-funded participants are already putting their new skills to good use by incorporating safe design in their work planning and procedures. Practical examples from our participants include: 

  • introducing an office procedure to document safe design
  • implementing a simple and effective procedure for safety into the quality management system in the form of a job safety and environmental analysis worksheet
  • instigating a systematic approach to identifying WHS issues in buildings or structures.

The OFSC will continue to support safety in design through awareness and education. More information on the work of the OFSC on safe design is available at

About these case sudies

About these case studies

The Australian Government is committed to improving the WHS standards for all workers on building and construction projects. 

These case studies have been developed to share practical ideas that can be adopted by industry to assist in their own management of WHS issues.

The Federal Safety Commissioner consults widely with industry, WHS authorities and other relevant agencies to promote a cooperative approach to improving WHS performance.

The vision of the Federal Safety Commissioner is a building and construction industry where no one is harmed.


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