National Safe Work Month 2019: Be a Safety Champion This October
We should all feel safe at work. Thanks to the continuous efforts of many thousands of people across Australia, we are safe at work and our health and safety are supported.
We know these people already. They walk amongst us every single day. They are the safety champions who operate in our workplaces. They are the people who demonstrate compassion and understanding and they are responsible for implementing changes in the workplace. They also create an environment that allows us to take steps to improve our health through nutrition, exercise, and health checks. And the best news of all is that we can all be health and safety champions.
This October is National Safe Work Month 2019 — a chance for us to raise awareness and promote this cause, and ensure that Australians commit to building a workplace that is not only healthy, but also safe.
Currently, lives are still being lost in Australian workplaces. In the first half of 2019 there have been 77 fatalities as a result of accidents at work. Those 77 people went to work one morning, just as you or I do every day, and did not come home again that evening.
The transport, postal and warehousing industries experienced the most fatalities, followed by agriculture, forestry and fishing, and then the construction industry. The 77 fatalities experienced already this year is a fourfold increase compared to the same period for 2018, highlighting how important it is that we continue to make health and safety a priority.
Be a Safety Champion — this is the theme, the title, and the shared ethos of National Safe Work Month 2019. But what does this mean exactly?
It means continuing the great work of those already flying the flag for health and safety in our workplaces. It means nurturing a culture of health and safety within workplaces across Australia. It means putting in place exercise programs, nutrition consultations, regular health checks and focusing on prevention.
This can take many forms. For example:
- Have a conversation about safety in the workplace, and make sure that employees and employers understand what is expected of them.
- Conduct regular health checks.
- Educate teams on the importance of mental health and ensure the relevant support programs are in place.
The concept “at all levels” is vital to Be a Safety Champion in 2019. Upon announcing the theme and title of National Safe Work Month 2019, Safe Work Australia CEO, Michelle Baxter, has this to say:
“This year, we want to let everyone know that anyone can be a champion for work health and safety. Anyone can Be a Safety Champion—workers, employers and organisations, from any industry, can all champion work health and safety at their workplace every day.”
She went on to outline what it means to be a safety leader in the workplace, describing how it is everyone’s duty to support a strong health and safety culture, and encouraging all of Australia’s workers to do their part.
The month-long initiative is run by the Government organization, Safe Work Australia, and is designed to shine a spotlight on workplace health and safety. As we get closer to the initiative’s October start date, the Safe Work Australia site will be playing host to a wealth of resources that can help get you involved and make a real difference in your workplace and community. You can check back here to find out more about these resources and for practical ideas you can implement.
We encourage you to become a safety champion this October and help build a safer, healthier, happier, and more prosperous, Australia.