Hazard: Work Health and Wellbeing

Work health and wellbeing focuses on improving work processes to benefit the health of workers and prevent chronic disease risks at home and in the workplace. The work people do can positively or negatively affect the likelihood of a person developing an injury or illness. When it comes to work health and wellbeing, risk factors include physical inactivity including sedentary work, unhealthy eating, harmful drugs and or alcohol consumption, smoking, obesity and poor mental health. Obviously, this can affect you at work as well as at home.

Risk:

There is clear evidence the general physical and psychological health of a workforce has a direct impact on work health, safety and wellbeing outcomes. Workers regularly exposed to hazardous working conditions, physically demanding tasks, high levels of stress and long working hours are more likely to smoke, consume too much alcohol, have low levels of physical activity and poor nutrition. Workers who suffer from physical or mental health problems are likely to have higher rates of injury/illness, absenteeism and presenteeism.

Control Measure:

When we look at work health and wellbeing in the workplace there are many factors, we must consider.

  • Work organisation– the way work is done. This includes systems, policies, procedures, processes, physical and mental demands, work characteristics and the organisational context.
  • Physical environment– the plant, equipment, materials, vehicles, buildings and structures where the work is performed.
  • Workers– the physical, emotional and mental capacities and behaviours demonstrated.

The three core elements in creating a healthy workplace are:

  1. Plan – embed work health and wellbeing into your business systems and identify and assess risks.
  2. Implement – manage risks by implementing appropriate interventions and monitor them to make sure they are effective.
  3. Evaluate the impact of embedding work health and wellbeing into your business systems and make sustainable improvements.

 

Workplace factors provide a physical, cultural and organisational environment that supports healthy lifestyle choices for workers, supply chain and networks. Workplace interventions should:

  • build on a solid foundation of an effective safety management system;
  • be complementary to workplace health and safety systems and duties;
  • include consideration of work design and the work environment, and ensure these are contributing to positive health outcomes for workers, and
  • adhere to principles of good work design.

Benefits of investing in work health

Embedding work health and wellbeing into organisational systems and culture will benefit the health of workers and prevent chronic disease risk in the workplace. Many business goals will take time to achieve. Therefore, it is important to have a mixture of data sources to show short, medium and long-term outcomes.

Within a few months Within one to two years Within three or more years*
  • improved worker engagement
  • improved team cohesiveness
  • improved health behaviours of workers
  • improved levels of energy and concentration of workers
  • improved health status of workers
  • improved corporate image/social responsibility
  • improved productivity
  • indirect cost savings (job satisfaction, skills retention)
  • reduction of stress and poor mental health
  • reduced absenteeism.
  • reduced workplace injuries.
  • reduced workers’ compensation costs up to 32 per cent).1
  • savings of up to $6 for every $1 invested in employee wellbeing.1
  • reduction in employee risk factors by up to 56 per cent.1
  • prevention of musculoskeletal disorders.

Be a leader in work health

Leaders of organisations addressing work health, safety and wellbeing risks along with other important business tasks can achieve positive business outcomes. #Courageous Conversations

Integrating health, safety and wellbeing

Integrated approaches to health, safety and wellbeing can prevent work-related injuries and illness and enhance worker health.

If you do not feel well, physically or mentally, then don’t hesitate to ask for help. Alternatively, if you see someone that is not acting quite right, then don’t hesitate in asking them if they are OK. #RUOK?

 Help Lines

  • Lifeline (24/7) 13 11 44 Lifeline.org.au
  • Beyond Blue (24/7) 1300 224 636 Beyondblue.org.au
  • Suicide Call Back Service (24/7) 1300 659 467 Suicidecallbackservice.org.au
  • Kids Helpline (24/7) 1800 55 1800 Kidshelpline.com.au
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