Healthy Workers Unit
Office of Industrial Relations (OIR), Workplace Health and Safety Queensland
What are you/your organisation currently focusing on in terms of workplace health and wellbeing?
OIR provides a range of policy, advisory, compliance and specialist technical services and includes the Work Health and Safety Regulator and Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.
It strives to achieve the lowest rate of work-related and electrical fatality, injury and disease in the nation, improved workers’ compensation regulatory services and a fair industrial relations framework in Queensland.
The Healthy Workers Unit (HWU) assists industry to prevent and manage chronic disease risks in the workplace and aims to:
- increase industry capability
- Influence workplace leadership and culture to use an integrated, good work design approach; and
- build the evidence to support strategy development and workplace interventions.
The HWU focuses on the modifiable chronic disease risk factors of smoking, poor nutrition, risky alcohol consumption, physical inactivity including sedentary behaviours, obesity and mental health.
What aspect of workplace health and wellbeing does your organisation do well in?
OIR engages with workers, business and the community to build healthy, safe, fair and productive workplaces; ensure compliance with work health and safety, electrical safety, industrial relations and workers’ compensation regulatory frameworks.
HWU have seen a number of organisations implement sustainable health, safety and wellbeing strategies. HWU developed a healthy habits checklist that has helped us stocktake how we are going with our habits and what we can do to stay healthy while working flexible at home or in the office!
What’s your biggest challenge working in workplace health and wellbeing?
Some of the most common challenges workplaces encounter are:
- Lack of management support
- Not identifying the risks in the workplace and putting in initiatives that are ad hoc or “one off” and that do not address the issues in the workplace
- Not planning how they will measure success.
We encourage organisations to follow our work health and wellbeing toolkit which will assist them in embedding work health and wellbeing into their business systems.
How does WayAhead Workplaces add value to your organisation’s health and wellbeing program?
WayAhead Workplaces provides an opportunity to collaborate with workplaces from all industries to discuss key work health and wellbeing issues and explore solutions to barriers that organisations are facing.
How do you deal with stress?
There may be many things that can make people feel stressed. The OIR mentally healthy workplaces toolkit provides practical tools and resources for employers, managers and leaders to create workplaces that are mentally healthy.
What are the key issues and considerations for people in workplace health and wellbeing roles?
It is important to consider the physical, emotional and mental skills and capacities of workers but it is equally important to consider and address the work organisation and work environment. Prioritising interventions that influence the way work is organised and the work environment will have the biggest impact on creating a healthy workplace.
The free Work health and wellbeing toolkit provides a three-step approach, that will help you plan, implement and evaluate work health and wellbeing in your workplace.
How do you switch off from work?
The blurring boundaries between work and home is one of the six megatrends that the CSIRO Workplace Safety Futures report highlights.
Having clear work expectations and work boundaries is important and will ensure quality time to recharge, refresh and spend time with family and friends.
Discussing with your workplace issues such as appropriate email response times, requirements for being contactable outside work hours and flexible work options are some things which will help manage work/life balance.
What do you think the future of work health and wellness programs look like?
If not adequately managed, chronic disease rates are expected to increase which will have an impact on workers and workplace productivity.
Organisations who design healthy and safe workplaces that prevent and manage chronic disease risk factors along with other workplace hazards will see positive results including a reduction in injury and absenteeism rates and improved workforce participation and productivity.