By Matt Dwyer
Today (28th April) Is World Day for Safety and Health at Work.
According to Safe Work Australia in 2021 there were 169 workplace fatalities and has been trending down by 35% in the past 10 years and down by 57% since the peak of 2007.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics state that 497,300 people suffered a work-related injury or illness in the 2021-22 financial year. This means that that almost 4% of 13.4 million employed Australians and their families were affected.
Safe Work Australia’s statistics show that 9.3% of serious claims were due to mental health conditions, which caused a median time lost of 30.7 weeks and an average of $55,270 of compensation per claim.
ABS shows the average days absent for stress or other mental health condition is on the rise from 40.4 days in 2017-18 to 43.7 days in 2021-22
71% of all serious claims were for injury.
The Australian Institute of Health & Safety states that human behaviour contribute to more than 80% of accidents in the workplace. This means that minds were not on task.
Everything we do in life has a ripple effect on everybody around us, including our families, friends, work colleagues, managers and stakeholders such as business owners, suppliers, contractors, clients and the community.
As business leaders we need to support our workforce by understanding what we do and how any changes that we make, can impact the mental health or mindset of our people, and how these changes may impact safety within the work place.
Business leaders need to be conscious about how they relay information, including not only the content but the timing, delivery method, intention and tone.
Consider the impact of change and the effect it can have on the mindset of the stakeholders. Think of how you can assist in getting minds back on task after delivery of an email. Think of what is the next email that you send after delivering news and how that may be perceived.
Health and safety including mental health must be at the forefront of Change Professionals and leaders when developing strategies on how to implement change in the work place.
When assessing risk consider:
- How can we keep staff task focused when we are announcing and implementing change?
- What impact does change have on workplace health and safety and the mental health of the stakeholders?
- What may happen when someone is reviewing in their mind how change has impacted or will impact them on the drive home from work while not focusing on the road?
- Think about how it could affect their sleep quality and contribute to a workplace accident due to fatigue.
Change starts and ends with communication. Be conscious in knowing that delivering communication has an impact on Workplace Health & Safety and implement strategies to reduce incidents.
The Australian economy would be $28.6 billion larger each year without work-related injuries and illnesses, according to Safe Work Australia.
How can you contribute to creating a safer workplace this year?