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Safe operating procedures

Last updated May 2019

This chapter explains the importance of safe operating procedures, and how to develop and implement them in your workplace.

What is a safe operating procedure?

Definition: Safe Operating Procedure (SOP)

An SOP is a written document that provides step-by-step instructions on how to safely perform a task or activity in the workplace.

You should use an SOP for tasks in your workplace that:

  • are undertaken on a regular basis; and
  • create a health and safety risk.
Important: You should develop a different SOP for each item of plant in your workplace and each task your workers perform, even if there are only small differences between them.
Tip: For tasks undertaken infrequently, it may be more appropriate to develop a job safety analysis (JSA).