1. Leadership in workplace health and safety culture – embedding a WHS landscape within your business. Two business size categories: small and large.
  2. Safe by design – best solution to high risk work health and safety issue. 
  3. Safety champion - best individual contribution to WHS. This can include Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs).  
  4. Excellence in recovery at work - for a business
  5. Recovery at work achievement award – for a worker.
  6. Most significant contribution to the improvement of workplace health
  7. At risk worker achievement award.
  8. SafeWork NSW Excellence Award – across all categories, selected from all winners by the judging panel.

The SafeWork NSW Awards aim to raise awareness of work health and safety (WHS) and return to work, promoting high standards of health and safety in NSW workplaces.

The Awards were established to encourage public and private workplaces throughout NSW to develop and implement initiatives that help to achieve a safer and healthier work environment.

The SafeWork Awards continue to encourage innovation in work health and safety and return to work and provide a forum for sharing ideas and solutions to common safety issues.

The SafeWork Awards publicly recognise and reward outstanding work health and safety and return to work innovations and achievements.


  1. The 2019 SafeWork NSW Awards are now closed.
  2. Winners will be announced 31 October 2019.

Enter online through the online entry process. Accompany your entry with supporting images/videos and address all selection criteria relating to the Award category you are entering.

For information or help with your entry, email the SafeWork Awards: awards@safework.nsw.gov.au or call us on 02 4321 4444.

Entries are open to all businesses operating in NSW, organisations and individuals and include sub-categories that specifically recognise innovation in small business and those NSW employees who have made outstanding contributions to the improvement of work health and safety and return to work in their organisations.

Organisations cannot enter the SafeWork Awards if they:

  • are currently under investigation by SafeWork NSW
  • do not operate a business in NSW or are not based in NSW
  • do not have current workers compensation insurance (if applicable)
  • have previously won a SafeWork NSW Award for the same, or substantially same, initiative/solution/contribution.

Yes, being involved in another SafeWork NSW program does not affect your application.

No, there are no entry fees and you may enter as many times as you want and in more than one category.

Yes. You will be required to submit a separate application for each category entered, addressing the criteria for that category. Each entry must have a unique application name.

Note: Please do not submit the same entry in every category.

You can get help with your entry by emailing awards@safework.nsw.gov.au or call us on 02 4321 4444.


Before writing your entry ask yourself 'how has the initiative improved work health and safety and/or return to work in my business/company?'

Remember, your initiative needs to be over and above your normal work health and safety and workers compensation legislative requirements.

Describe the ways your work safety solution is innovative and how it has improved your business.

Provide examples and demonstrate the successful business outcomes achieved as a result of your initiative.

Remember the judges may not necessarily be familiar with your industry so try and use plain English and avoid using jargon.

Entrants are required to complete the online application. Each category has a number of specific judging criteria that are explained within each relevant category. You must address all criteria in the category you are entering.

Entries in categories 1-7 can be for individuals or organisations and can be submitted by the entrant or nominated by a third party. Category 8 is selected by the final judging panel from all finalists.

SafeWork NSW is seeking excellence, innovation, outstanding commitment, and solutions to work health and safety and return to work issues in the workplace. The SafeWork Awards also seek to recognise leadership by individuals or organisations that contribute towards achieving safe and healthy workplaces in NSW.

Solutions: SafeWork NSW is seeking solutions to work health and safety and return to work issues. The ideas don't have to be big to be effective. Sometimes small-scale solutions can be most effective in dealing with identified issues.

Leadership: Activities by individuals or organisations – this covers the work done within a workplace by health and safety representatives, committees, managers, individuals or an entire organisation.

You may be able to. However, SafeWork NSW reserves the right, acting in its sole discretion, to decline an entry where the entrant or a related person or organisation is under investigation for possible breaches of work health and safety or workers compensation law (whether or not a prosecution is pending), or where the acceptance of the entry may be detrimental to the objectives of the SafeWork Awards program.

It would be better to wait until your safety solution is fully implemented. SafeWork NSW prefers to receive entries that have been fully developed and implemented in all the appropriate areas of the workplace. Additionally some evaluation of the effectiveness of the solution is required to confirm its success. Such entries have more conviction and credibility and provide more confidence to those judging the entries.

In principle there is nothing to prevent a business entering commercial products or services in the SafeWork Awards, as long as they fulfill the entry criteria.

SafeWork NSW policy is that all workplaces should be complying with what the legislation requires at all times. The SafeWork Awards are not intended to provide recognition to those who have only sought to comply with their obligations. SafeWork NSW is seeking excellence beyond the simple application of the law.


There are four stages of judging for the SafeWork Awards.

Stage 1: Review

All entries are reviewed by a SafeWork NSW subject matter expert. The role of this review is to shortlist entries for Stage 2 - Site visit.

Stage 2: Site visit

Site visits are conducted by SafeWork NSW inspectors. The role of the site visit is to obtain more detail and substantiate the information provided in the entry. During site visits, the inspector may need to speak to a number of different people. Based on their on-site assessment they may also need to obtain additional information.

Stage 3: Finalists panel

Following a successful site visit, entries then progress to the Finalists panel. The Finalists panel will include senior management representatives from SafeWork NSW. The panel reviews all successful site visits and selects finalists to progress to the Winners Selection panel.

Stage 4: Winners Selection panel

Winners are selected by a panel that includes senior representatives from SafeWork NSW, industry groups and worker representatives. SafeWork Award winners are announced at the SafeWork Awards ceremony event in late October 2019.

Generally the Inspector responds no differently from any other occasion on observing non-compliance with the legislation on a SafeWork Awards visit. Additionally, this usually means this entry is eliminated from the Awards.

SafeWork Award winners will be announced at an event in Sydney in late October 2019.

Finalists will be advised prior to the event. However, SafeWork NSW Award winners will not be advised prior to the event.

Yes.  Entrants can request feedback at the end of November 2018 by emailing the SafeWork NSW Awards team, awards@safework.nsw.gov.au.



SafeWork Award winners will be presented with a trophy and certificate and finalists will receive a certificate, together with award ceremony photos and SafeWork awards "winner" and "finalist" logos. Winners also receive access to a $3,000 safety rebate to support further work health and safety improvements.

Yes. Winners will be announced on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. A press release will be issued for all finalists/winners as a group as well as individual releases for all winners. Winners will also be featured on the SafeWork NSW and SafeWork Awards websites.

Yes, photographs will be taken of the recipients receiving their SafeWork Award and an electronic copy will be made available after the Awards ceremony.


Click on the reset password link found on the login page and a new password will be sent back to you.

If you are having problems uploading your supporting images check the file type first. Remember you can only upload .jpg, .jpeg. or eps and PDF file types. If your files type is correct and you are still having difficulties please contact the Awards hotline by email: awards@safework.nsw.gov.au or call 02 4321 4444.


For entries involving innovations or inventions it is a condition of entry for a SafeWork Awards entrant to own all the intellectual property rights for the concept where this is relevant. The only additional matter is the requirement for the entrant to confirm, via the entry form, such ownership.

Read the Terms and conditions of entry for the SafeWork NSW Awards.

The hierarchy of hazard controls is a list which emphasises controlling a hazard at the source. This is done by giving preference to the use of the 'engineering controls' over 'administrative controls'.

  1. Eliminate the hazard altogether, for example - get rid of the dangerous machine
  2. Substitute the hazard with a safer alternative, for example - replace the machine with a safer one
  3. Isolate the hazard from anyone who could be harmed, for example - keep the machine in a closed room and operate it remotely
  4. Use engineering controls to reduce the risk, for example - attach guards to the machine to protect users
  5. Use administrative controls to reduce the risk, for example - train workers how to use the machine safely
  6. Use personal protective equipment (PPE), for example - wear gloves and goggles when using the machine