Doing the Safety W.A.L.K.

Walk and Talk around WorkHere’s a mnemonic guideline for the old Walk and Talk.



Watch what the staff members are doing:

  • are they wearing the correct PPE?
  • are they following procedure?
  • are their actions hazardous to themselves or others?
  • do they look comfortable?
  • do they appear stressed?

Look at the environment

  • is the area clean?
  • is the area free from hazards?
  • are the safety signs adequate?


Ask questions about:

  • what the staff are doing
  • why they are doing it
  • how they feel about what they are doing
  • what they think will improve performance and safety


Listen to the staff’s answers. Too often people ask questions, but only hear what they want to hear! That’s called ‘hearing’ – not listening! Be open to what staff say. This part of the walk and talk equation is why so many irresponsible business owners, supervisors and managers avoid the walk and talk – they simply don’t want to hear their staff’s concerns because they fear it’s going to cost money or increase the admin’s work load.

Keep improving.

Air the concerns of staff (unless they are private) and ask for solutions from all staff. Open the avenues of communication. Walk and Talk implies that the staff will communicate right there and then, this is not necessarily so. A staff member may feel more comfortable sending you an email or filling in a form, or chatting with someone else first before they speak with you. Make these mediums available to everyone.

Whatever you want to call it: Walk and Talk, Saunter and Converse, Swagger and Chat – apply the W.A.L.K. principles and help to eliminate hazards, communicate with staff, and create a safer work environment now and for the future.

Improving open communication and consultation channels in your workplace is not only an OHS requirement in New South Wales, but essential to maintaining happy, motivated and productive staff. A little more talk can go a long way…

IMPORTANT UPDATE: The newly introduced Harmonisation Laws require all employers to consult regularly with employees on safety matters. More importantly they need to demonstrate how they consult on safety matters and show that theses skills are held by the employer or their officers. Safety Concepts has partnered with a Registered Training Organisation to offer the fully accredited course BSBOHS402B Consultation in the Workplace which is designed to satisfy the requirements of the new Harmonisation Laws. You can complete this training course for only $200 per employee using our online learning platform. Busy employers, managers and supervisors do not have to attend classes or lectures – it is all online.

Click here to enroll now for this Government Approved OHS qualification.

Want to know if online learning is for you? Click here for FREE report “7 Vital Facts about E-Learning


About the Author

Safety Concepts is an online resource providing up to date insights and covering issues in the field of Workplace Safety.

Comments (1)

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  1. Cheryl says:

    This is soooo true I have had the pleasure to observe many crews and supervisors within the civil industry. It is a pleasure to work with a supervisor and crew that do apply the W.A.L.K system; Makes my job so much easier!

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