‘Reasonably practicable’ is a legal requirement for an organisation under health and safety legislation.

It means doing what you are reasonably able to do to ensure the health and safety of workers, volunteers, customers and anyone else impacted by your work.

Organisations always need to try to eliminate, so far as is reasonably and practicable, any health and safety risks in their work.

If a risk cannot be removed, an organisation must minimise it by doing one or more of these things:

  • substituting (wholly or partly) the hazard with something with a lesser risk
  • isolating the hazard from any person exposed to it
  • implementing engineering controls (if the risk remains you must implement administrative controls)
  • use personal protective equipment.

If these controls do not fully eliminate or minimise the risk, then the organisation must implement administrative controls and then, if appropriate, ensure the provision of suitable personal protective equipment.

A combination of controls may be used to minimise a risk if a single control is not sufficient.

In determining control measures, the organisation should identify and consider everything that may be relevant to the hazards and risks and the means of eliminating or minimising the risks.

Determining Reasonably Practicable

When determining what is reasonably practicable, an organisation and the person who is making the decision for the organisation at that time should take into account:

  • the likelihood of the hazard or risk occurring
  • the degree of harm from the hazard or risk
  • knowledge about ways of eliminating or minimising the hazard or risk
  • the availability and suitability of ways to eliminate or minimise the risk
  • cost.

Talking to other people who are involved with the work will help you understand the risks and identify hazards. Analysing previous incidents will also provide an excellent source of information about risks.

The WHS Regulation and relevant codes of practice will also provide more information about controlling hazards.

Other sources of information include:

  • technical standards
  • material published by other work health and safety regulators
  • industry practice and publications
  • published scientific and technical literature

Reasonably Practicable Tool

We have created a Reasonably Practicable Tool® to assist you in making informed decisions according to the requirements.

Reasonably Practicable Guide Safe Work Australia