Focusing on Safe Operating Procedures

Focusing on Safe Operating Procedures

Our second blog in the series about ‘Safety First’ strategies focuses on Safe Operating Procedures (SOPs).  SOPs are another of the key tools used to ensure safe worksites.  So, let’s spend a bit of time exploring what they are, the benefits of using them, and where they fit into your professional development?

In general terms, the definition of Safe Operating Procedures by SafeWork NSW pretty much nails the concept, by defining it as:

“As a document that outlines the risks associated with a work task, and lists appropriate control measures into a sequence of steps for doing the task safely.”  (Ref: 13/12/2016)

SOPs have a particular relevance for work tasks carried out on construction worksites, amongst others.  These include excavation and trench work, working in confined spaces and operating plant such as excavators, backhoes, forklifts, and EWP.

Upon identifying the potential risks, the SOP outlines the measures that will be put in place to mitigate, or control the risks.  For example, an operator may need to use a piece of equipment/machinery in a confined space.  The SOP would outline the safety measures including personal protective equipment (PPE), and any operating strategies needed to ensure operator safety.

Linking your knowledge of Safe Operating Procedures to your professional development is relatively straight forward.

Let’s again take the Certificate III in Civil Construction Plant Operations (RII30815) delivered by A1 Group Training as an example.A1 Group Training assists experienced plant operators to turn their skills into this valuable qualification through a course facilitated by renowned trainer Danny McCartin.Within the course content of 19 units, participants will study a range of information related to workplace health and safety policies and procedures.  The SOP falls within that content, as it does in a range of other courses.  If you happen to be interested in this course, then funding is available to eligible applicants.  (See website link for details.)

The SOP is a vitally important document that workers need to know and follow before stepping foot onto a construction site, as it helps them meet their duties under Workplace Health and Safety legislation.  As we’ve said before, if it seems a bit overwhelming, then it’s important to link up with a registered training organisation delivering nationally recognised training in a way that all participants will understand.  It just makes ensuring safety on the job site a lot easier!

A1 Group Training operates in Toowoomba, the Darling Downs and across Queensland.  View course options and details at or LIKE us on Facebook @