By Nick Hartman
National Safe Work Month, an initiative of the Government workplace health and safety regulator Safe Work Australia, begins on Tuesday 1 October.
During October, Safe Work Australia will run a campaign to “raise awareness of work health and safety at your workplace” as well as promoting “best practice work health and safety and a strong health and safety culture.”
The theme this year is ‘Be a Safety Champion’.
Employsure’s Manager of Health and Safety Larry Drewsen says safety should be a major focus for every business.
“Workplace safety should always be part of the national conversation,” he said. “Every employee has a right to return home safely after a day at work.
“We’ve already seen industrial manslaughter laws introduced in the ACT and Queensland, and the current climate seems to suggest that other states will follow suit.
“It’s a clear message to employers to get their policies, procedures and practices up to scratch.”
So far this year, Safe Work Australia reports that there has been 111 worker deaths in Australia.
On top, in the latest available data, there were 107,355 serious claims from work in the 2013-14 financial year. A serious claim is defined by Safe Work Australia as “an incapacity that results in an absence of work for more than a week”.
Drewsen is eager to stress that workplace health and safety is not all about serious injuries and worker deaths.
“One of the upcoming aspects of workplace health and safety is mental health. Workplaces should really begin to look into how the workplace affects their employee’s mental health.
“Obviously mental health, like physical health, is the sum of the employee’s whole life. Workplaces are a large part of that sum, and things like bullying and stress in the workplace can contribute to poor mental health.
“As we move into the future, I can see mental health awareness being a more important part of workplace health and safety policies, procedures and culture.”
Keep an eye out for Employsure’s October Workplace Health and Safety campaign.