Working in an occupied area

This checklist is designed to help you safely work in a place where others are working.

The following checklist can be used when contractors/workers need to do a job in an environment that is occupied by other staff or members of the public. This could be, for example, an office, school or public building.

 The goal is to ensure the environment is safe for all workers and the public and there is minimal disruption to the area.

 Getting the basics right

A contractor/worker coming in must be shown around the site by one of the permanent staff who has the authority to do so.


Before starting the work the contractor/worker needs to plan the work


  • This may require a Task Analysis, Job Safety Analysis, Safe Work Method Statement.
  • The contractor/worker must be inducted into the workplace
  • They must identify any hazard/risks (environmental, other trades, task-related hazards) to themselves and the staff/public in the area
  • They must find out the rules and requirements of the workplace
  • They need to learn the workplace layout, its facilities, emergency provisions, evacuation route and assembly point
  • They need to have the appropriate equipment to complete the job safely
  • They need to have  the appropriate PPE to conduct the work
  • They must conduct a quick safety assessment of the immediate work area (Step back 5x5) to see if any further safety precautions need to be put in place.

 The five questions contractors need to ask themselves are:

  1. What will I be doing
  2. What are the hazards?
  3. What equipment and plant do I need?
  4. How could I get hurt?
  5. What if something unexpected happens?


Keep everyone informed

If the job is taking place in a working environment; it is best if the staff know when, where and for how long work is going on. If they judge it to be disruptive, they can plan to relocate for the work or make alternate arrangements such as working from home. Ideally this notice should go out from a manager 48 hours before work begins.

  • Ensure the staff at the workplace have been told about the work being done and associated hazards by the contractor
  • Explain to the appropriate person what safety requirements are being put in place and why.


Maximum safety, minimum fuss

If it is a safety issue, some changes to the workplace may be necessary. At the minimum, there are precautions that will ensure everyone is protected.

  • Ensure workers/public  have been removed from the immediate work area if required
  • Take precautions to make sure workers/public can’t enter the immediate work area by the use of  barriers and signage.

There are other relevant safety guides about  hazard identification,  dust  and risk control.