Safety Starts With You campaign

Title translated into English

Safety Starts With You campaign

Film: Duration in minutes

1 minutes


Imagine if you were seriously injured at work. Think about the impact on your family, your lifestyle and your career – not to mention the added stress of paying the bills.

Or imagine if it was your workmate who had the accident, and it was a situation YOU could have prevented? How would you feel knowing you didn’t speak up?

SafeWork NSW is the workplace health and safety regulator for NSW, and we are dedicated to raising awareness of workplace safety and encouraging workplaces to initiate discussions about how to improve safety.

To improve working lives, make it easier to run a business and reduce economic costs, SafeWork NSW recognises that, as a safety regulator, we need to help workplaces foster a strong safety culture.

The ‘Safety Starts with You’ mass media campaign was designed to improve safety culture by engaging and activating workers and employers on a mass scale. The primary audience was all workers and employers in NSW.

The campaign focussed on raising awareness of workplace risks and encouraging conversation and commitment in NSW workplaces – conversations at work, in the media and on social media.

Benchmarking research showed NSW workplaces fell into the ‘dependent’ range – meaning a commitment to safety exists, but people see it as a matter of following the rules that someone else makes.

Although ambitious, the aim was to push them over the cultural bridge into the ‘independent’ range, meaning individuals within the workplace take responsibility for themselves – they believe that safety is personal and they can make a difference with their own actions.

The campaign was designed as a three-year campaign strategy:

  • Year 1 (2017) – encourage people in NSW workplaces to commit to adopting good practice.
  • Year 2 (2018) – encourage people in NSW workplaces to commit to valuing their own safety.
  • Year 3 (2019) – encourage people in NSW workplaces to commit to watching out for others.

Each year we used the following channels:

  • Television
  • Traditional press advertising
  • Outdoor advertising
  • Online video
  • Radio
  • Digital display advertising
  • Digital mobile advertising
  • Social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Instagram)
  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
  • A dedicated website which contains free resources for workers and employers to use in their workplace, to start conversations about safety.

The campaign also included the development of an online ‘Safety Promise’ tool. This tool allows NSW businesses to make a public commitment to show how they plan to improve safety in their workplaces.

The campaign yielded positive results for SafeWork NSW.

Post campaign analysis indicated a gradual, incremental and continued positive maturation of survey respondents’ estimated safety culture across the three key areas of maturity, leadership, and process and action.

Further research showed that the people who had seen the campaign believed it delivered an important message and was likely to prompt them to take action with regards to their own safety and the safety of others. See key results below:

  • Campaign awareness grew from 21% in 2016 (benchmark data) to 34% in 2019.
  • After having seen the campaign, the number of people who said they were ‘very likely’ to take responsibility for their own safety rose from 66% in 2017, to 68% in 2018 and then 73% in 2019.
  • The number of people who said they were ‘very likely’ to stop someone from doing something unsafe at work rose from 62% in 2017, to 63% in 2018 and then to 69% in 2019.
  • The number of people who said they would be ‘very likely’ to speak out about safety at their workplace rose was 46% in 2017, 45% in 2018 and increased to 53% in 2019.
  • The number of people who said they were ‘very likely’ to seek advice if they were unsure of the safe way of doing something rose from 53% in 2018, to 61% in 2019 (this data was not captured in 2017).


The creative idea behind the campaign was a simple one; it came from a powerful truth that self-preservation is our strongest and oldest need. It’s why we are our own best safety advisor. It’s this idea and simple truth that has been summarised into a powerful line. A line that gives both workers and employers permission – and responsibility – to adopt safe work practices. It empowers employers and workers alike and allows them to take control when it comes to workplace safety.

The primary key message ‘Safety starts with you’ puts people and their safety at the centre of their work. It tells them that they matter, their safety matters and they can do something about it. It helps to develop a culture of safe work through conversation and commitment; through shared responsibility and empowerment.

The campaign’s full strapline, of ‘No matter what you do, safety starts with you’ is direct and personal, regardless of who they are – employers or workers from any industry, occupation or background.

The campaign employs the use of a ‘safety double’ – where a person’s safer self steps in to prevent an incident occurring. We witness people going about their everyday lives working.  Each of the scenarios depicted highlights the highest risk sectors and harms in NSW. On the surface everything seems in order, but as we see more about each individual scene we become more aware of the risks and dangers each of the workers face. As each scene progresses, their ‘safety double’ steps in to prevent an incident from occurring.


People in NSW workplaces are taking risks every day. In 2016/17 (latest data) a total of 32,360 major employment injuries and diseases were reported. Of these 24,414 were major workplace injuries and 7,834 occupational diseases.

In 2016/17 the total gross incurred cost for reported lost time injuries was $952 million.

For 2012/13, SafeWork Australia estimated the total economic burden of work-related injury and illness in NSW to be $17.3 billion.

Both SafeWork NSW and SafeWork Australia have developed strategies to improve safety outcomes in workplaces – for NSW and Australia-wide.

Improving safety in NSW workplaces is singled out in the SafeWork NSW Work health and safety roadmap for NSW 2022 as the number one priority out of three specific action areas. The roadmap aims to ‘embed a health and safety landscape’ into all NSW workplaces, so that every job is designed to be safe.

At the heart of the roadmap (and the sector plans that have been developed from this) is the objective to improve safety in NSW workplaces.

Advertising forms just part of a much broader strategic plan to do this. SafeWork NSW has a number of other complimentary initiatives aimed at improving safety culture in NSW, such as compliance and intervention programs, workplace blitzes, and programs targeted specifically towards small business.

Target Group

All workers and employers



Contact details Editor / Production company

SafeWork NSW
92-100 Donnison Street, au-2250 Gosford