During October I attended WorkSafes Victoria Conference held in Melbourne, it was apart of Health and Safety Month
I felt it was important to attend this conference after myself having a workplace injury, plus I have met and learn’t since that many more people, have also had their own workplace experiences of occupational injuries. Some of these stories ended positively and unfortunately some not so good
I decided I have so much more to learn about workplace safety, so with my red trainers on and laces tied tight, I got on a tram and arrived to the conference
About The Event
The first thing I noticed at the conference was how diverse the people attending were. There was a great representation of ages, with a diverse mix of females and males and all from many different industries. Quickly, I learn’t different jobs have different stressors, but anyone from any industry can be impacted by a workplace accident.
WorkSafe Victoria is the states Health and Safety regulator and manages Victoria’s workers compensation scheme. They are a service for injured workers with an aim to keep workplaces safe and healthy, they do this by working with employers by providing resources and education. Also, WorkSafe have workplace inspectors who inspect work sites to examine and enforce safe practices.
Statistics show that front line workers are most likely to be involved in a workplace accident-
- In the last 3 years, 69 people have lost their lives in Victoria from workplace accidents
- In 2018, 27,000 people were injured with medical compensation
- High risk industries are agriculture, construction, manufacturing & healthcare
Health & Safety Topics
The day at the conference was comprehensive as it had many sessions on both physical and mental injuries. Sessions were held on prevention of occupational injuries, psycho-social hazards, fatigue, bullying and harassment, sexual harassment and workplace equality.
Work related factors also known as psychosocial hazards are anything in the management or design of work that increases the risk of work related stress, which can lead to physical injury, mental injury or even both at the same time.
As the connection was made that injuries are defined as both physical and mental, therefore support needs to be tailored to the whole person as an individual and in turn to reduce the impact on them returning back to work. For employers, they will have the benefit of reduction in sick leave, reduced turnover and looking beyond KPI’s, the overall improvement of staff satisfaction within the workplace.
Employees require safe systems to return to work with support from leaders which increases trust, clarity and improve wellbeing within a safe environment.
Mental health injury as a result of work may include work-related stress, bullying discrimination and other contributing factors. If your work is causing you a mental health injury, this could impact how you think and feel inside of work and even more so it may impact the daily life of a person, it is important to seek support early.
At the conference a strong theme was placed on prevention, everyone from employers and employees each have a key role to identify risks early, manage any harm by removing risks and supporting recovery. This included strategies such as being involved in education, having workplace environments where everyone can thrive, leadership with the right message and having safe cultures within the workplace.
Guest speaker – Catherine Mcgregor
Catherine McGregor was a guest speaker at the conference and she was outstanding as she talked about diversity, honesty and courage. Catherine is transgender writer and an activist, she talked about being true to self and inclusion as an outsider. She had to adapt and overcome adversity through male dominated careers, as in the military where she gave reflections of pride, shared adversity and caring for one another. She then had a career in sports media with being a cricket commentator.
Catherines sharing of her lived experiences had emphasis around the workplace and the challenges she faced, her story as a whole was inspirational and Catherine made an impact at the conference.
Personally, having been involved in a workplace accident and sustaining injuries was the last thing I thought would have ever experienced. I learn’t that the workplace challenges that are faced by many employees are so real and in reflection to my own experience, its is important to know of your rights and responsibilities, to recover in a healthy manner and more than anything to get back to the job that an individual identifies with.
Some key takeaways that I feel can be applied in various workplaces-
- Be diligent by identifying and assessing hazards appropriately to prevent any possible risks from occurring
- Watch out for co-workers by offering to listen and actually ask what support that individual needs at that time, it was illustrated during the day that mental health injuries are rising
- Most important is that every single person is important and we all should go home safely at the end of a work day
Overall, the day was outstanding as it was delivered with many experts who were extremely informative within their specialist fields of health and safety. I felt I left the conference with a better understanding of how its is important for everyone to play a role and advocate within their workplace, especially to maintain safety. I highly recommend this conference to any health professional as the added bonus was that the conference was free and was a wonderful and professional event.
- WorkSafe- www.worksafe.vic.gov.au / 1800 136 089 (Mon-Fri 07:30-18:30) / 13 23 60 (24hr Emergencies)
- Safe Work Australia- www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au
- Safe Work NSW- www.safework.nsw.gov.au / 131050
- WorkSafe Queensland- www.worksafe.qld.gov.au / 1300 326 128
- WorkSafe NT- www.worksafe.nt.gov.au / 1800 019 115
- Nurse & Midwifery Support- www.nmsupport.org.au / 1800 677 877 (freecall- 24/7)
(DIsclaimer- 1. Statistics were correct during October 2019, they may have varied when this blog was posted. 2. The views & opinions expressed on this blog post are of Aussie Nurse only, they do not reflect or represent the views of any current employers).