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Education and communication

Safe Work Australia’s communication activities aim to build community awareness and knowledge of work health and safety and workers’ compensation through communication and engagement that is tailored, integrated, high quality, innovative and strategic.

COVID-19 communication response

Our most significant communication project over the reporting period has been the delivery of communication and engagement activities to support Safe Work Australia’s COVID-19 response.

Working rapidly and collaboratively, we established the Safe Work Australia website (www.swa.gov.au) as the national hub for COVID-19 WHS information. We published more than 1,600 pages of WHS guidance on COVID-19, including detailed, specific guidance for 34 different industries. The guidance, including case studies, was tailored for employers, small businesses and workers and covered important topics such as WHS duties, how to conduct risk assessments, physical distancing, personal protective equipment, workplace cleaning and hygiene.

To help users find and navigate the COVID-19 material, new functionality was added to the website, including a new content filtering tool, a search tool, and functions to collate, print and save guidance. The website also houses a suite of practical tools and resources to help educate our audiences and build their awareness and understanding of WHS best practice during COVID-19. This includes a business resource kit, links to posters and signage, checklists, fact sheets and infographics.

To support small businesses, we created a small business hub featuring tailored information and 4 short animations on the key topics of risk assessments, cleaning, hygiene and guidance.

We also published translated fact sheets in 63 languages through the Department of Home Affairs COVID-19 in language hub.

We used our other communications channels including social media, subscriber emails and media to promote our COVID-19 guidance and share important WHS messages. We created a specific COVID-19 email subscriber list, which gained over 6,000 subscribers in less than 3 months.

Our website was widely shared as the trusted source of nationally relevant, timely and practical WHS guidance for Australian workplaces. It received unprecedented traffic volumes, with over 5 million page views for COVID-19 content from January to June 2020. Web traffic peaked with over 340,000 page views in a single day on 6 May 2020 – more than 10 times higher than the daily average page views for the website in 2019.

Our COVID-19 guidance was promoted by the Attorney-General and the Minister for Employment in a media release, as well as by the Prime Minister at several COVID-19 media conferences. It was also widely shared by other Commonwealth agencies, state and territory governments, industry groups and businesses.

National Safe Work Month 2019

Since 2009, Safe Work Australia has run a national campaign to build community awareness and knowledge of work health and safety. The National Safe Work Month communication campaign is developed in consultation with Safe Work Australia Members and is supported and shared through their own jurisdictional initiatives.

Our Be a Safety Champion campaign was held in October 2019 over a 4-week period. We promoted the campaign through the Safe Work Australia website, social media platforms, direct mailouts to our subscriber lists, and various media outlets.

The campaign achieved:

  • more than 136,000 web page views on the National Safe Work Month website
  • more than 22,500 downloads of the Be a Safety Champion campaign kit resources
  • more than 6,500 unique video views on our website and YouTube account
  • 221,996 organic (non-paid) impressions on social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook) with engagement meeting and exceeding global benchmarks
  • approximately 575 uses of the hashtags #safetychampion and #safeworkmonth on social media
  • 159 articles published across 75 media outlets including online work health and safety magazines, TV, radio and print.

A paid social media campaign from 22 September to 3 November attracted over 23,000 clicks. Most jurisdictions supported the Be A Safety Champion campaign by running events and providing information and resources on their websites.

The campaign met its objectives of engaging individuals and organisations across a broad range of industries and improving community awareness and knowledge of best practice work health and safety.

National Return to Work Strategy 2020–2030

In September 2019, we launched the National Return to Work Strategy 2020–2030 by developing a standalone brand, designing and printing the strategy and posters, and creating webpages, video content and downloadable resources.

Since September the strategy has been accessed and downloaded 6,873 times from our website and the landing page has had 4,599 visits.

In May 2020 we released a suite of short animations that summarise the strategy and its 5 action areas. We will continue to promote the strategy, including the first national research initiatives arising from it and the return to work measurement framework.


Safe Work Australia is a partner of BeUpstanding – a free, evidence-based workplace health behaviour change program designed to address the significant work health and safety and financial costs associated with prolonged sitting.

In 2019, we delivered a communications campaign to promote the BeUpstanding champion toolkit and trial during National Safe Work Month in October.

A mailout to around 24,000 subscribers resulted in over 1,800 clicks to the BeUpstanding website. A series of social media posts published across Safe Work Australia’s Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts resulted in over 30,000 impressions, 5,400 video views and 825 post-link clicks.

The communications we delivered were successful and met the campaign’s overall objective of raising awareness of the BeUpstanding program and driving our audiences to the BeUpstanding toolkit and website.

Quad bike safety

In late 2018, Safe Work Australia Members asked the agency to develop and deliver a national awareness-raising campaign on quad bike safety. The campaign was launched with a media release and a series of paid press and digital advertisements during National Farm Safety Week (21–26 July 2019).

The online advertisements attracted approximately 1,488,157 impressions and an audience reach of 630,433 and the social media posts attracted approximately 511,452 impressions and an audience reach of 2,126. Media placements in work health and safety online publications attracted an audience reach of approximately 48,375.

As a result of the awareness campaign the quad bike information page on the Safe Work Australia website attracted 2,943 web page views during the campaign period.

Working in heat and air pollution

Over the 2019–20 summer we delivered a communication campaign to educate audiences on the risks from working in heat and air pollution, and to build understanding of how to manage them.

The campaign was originally planned to focus on work-related illness and injury associated with working in heat, but was expanded during Australia’s bushfire crisis to include new content addressing the emerging WHS risks from poor air quality.

Communication tactics included a new infographic, fact sheets on working in heat and air pollution, updated website guidance for PCBUs, subscriber emails, and social media messaging.

The highly relevant and timely campaign reached a wide audience, with web content receiving over 26,000 pageviews and social media posts gaining over 62,000 impressions.

World Day for Safety and Health at Work and Workers’ Memorial Day

Each year, we recognise World Day for Safety and Health at Work and Workers’ Memorial Day (World Day) on 28 April. The day raises awareness about the importance of work health and safety and honours those who have died from work-related injury or illness. Our World Day communication activities are guided by the global World Day theme set by the International Labour Organisation. This year, the theme was ‘Stop the pandemic: Safety and health at work can save lives’, acknowledging the COVID-19 crisis.

The communications we delivered during April and May were successful in driving a high level of traffic to our World Day web page. The web page received a total of 6,150 page views, with an average time of 4 minutes and 27 seconds spent on the page, indicating that the audience was engaged with the information and resources.

Our mailout to subscribers received 6,350 unique opens and 1,319 clicks to links, representing an increase compared to 2019. Our World Day social media post on 28 April received 20,273 total impressions across Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, with an accumulative total of 533 engagements including link clicks, likes and reshares.

Other publication and communication activities

Our publications in 2019–20 included:

  • guides on storage of flammable liquids and swimming pool chemicals
  • Labour hire: duties of persons conducting a business or undertaking
  • Working with silica and silica containing products, including translations
  • Managing risk in construction: prefabricated concrete
  • Work-related musculoskeletal disorders in Australia report
  • 33 new and updated health monitoring guides
  • reviews of workplace exposure standards
  • updates on adopting GHS 7 under the model WHS laws for workplace hazardous chemicals.

We also undertook publication and communication activities relating to the release of the following national data and statistics:

  • Comparative performance monitoring 2019–20, 21st edition
  • Comparison of workers’ compensation arrangements in Australia and New Zealand 2019
  • Australian workers’ compensation statistics 2017–18
  • Work-related traumatic injury fatalities in Australia 2018
  • Key work health and safety statistics Australia 2019.

Communication channels

Safe Work Australia website

Our website received over 14 million page views, an increase of 81% from last financial year. A significant proportion of the increase was due to the COVID-19 content that was added to the website from January 2020. However, before this the website was on track for a 20% increase in traffic to our standard content.

A substantial upgrade and migration of Safe Work Australia’s web platform occurred in April 2020, moving from GovCMS Drupal 7 (hosted by the former Department of Employment) to GovCMS Drupal 8 (hosted by the Department of Finance).

Media engagement

We received 154 media enquiries covering a wide range of topics, including COVID-19 and work health and safety, air pollution, GHS 7, and occupational lung diseases.

We provided data and statistics on work-related injuries, illness and workers’ compensation to a range of media outlets including the ABC, the Wall Street Journal and the Australian Financial Review.

Throughout the year Safe Work Australia Chair Diane Smith-Gander AO and other experts conducted media interviews with the Sydney Morning Herald, the ABC’s The Drum, the Australian and Safety Solutions, among others.

Our largest proactive media campaign was for National Safe Work Month in October 2019, generating 159 media mentions. As part of this campaign we also provided editorials for a number of industry and general magazines including Build It, Lifting Matters and Vigour.

Social media

Safe Work Australia publishes and promotes work health and safety policy initiatives and communication activities across 3 social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

We have a combined following of 52,722 users across the 3 accounts and post between one and 3 posts a day.

Our current monthly (June 2020) cross-network profile performance average is approximately 223,633 impressions, 6,589 engagements and 3,011 post clicks.

During 2019–20, Safe Work Australia received over 4,700 media mentions across online, radio, television and print media.

Infographic about the various communication channels we use such as YouTube, our website, social media and the number of views, subscribers and followers.