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National Safe Work Month: Shining a light on work health and safety

October is National Safe Work Month. The national theme for the year is ‘Work Health and Safety through COVID-19’.

Each state and territory have their own themes for the month, and a number of events:

  • New South Wales: In NSW, the focus of Safe Work Month is safety in construction and mental health. Online events will focus on different high-risk harm and how you can better manage hazardous work.
  • Victoria: Health and Safety Month focuses on navigating through COVID-19. There are a variety of webinars taking place throughout October that explore the health and safety challenges arising from COVID-19, including how to better manage risk and the mental health of your employees during the pandemic and beyond. There will be a health and safety representatives’ conference hosted by the Victorian Trades Hall Council 27 October 2020.
  • Queensland: For Safe Work Month in Queensland, there will be various interactive presentations with live Q&As. The topics are broad, and range from the return to work post-pandemic and safety fundamentals. There will also be a week dedicated to mental health.
  • South Australia: In SA, there is a workplace activity competition where workplaces are encouraged to run their own events for National Safe Work Month and register the events with SafeWork SA. Eligible events should focus on work health and safety, and can range from smaller scale safety quizzes or health checks to talks.
  • Western Australia: The theme in WA for Safe Work Month is‘Staying focused on workplace health and safety’. There are a number of health and safety virtual programs and live Q&A sessions with experts. The topics include aged care, occupational violence and aggression, and ergonomics principles.
  • Tasmania: In Tasmania, safe work events will focus on wellbeing, with the theme being ‘Safe Bodies, Safe Minds’.
  • Northern Territory: Events in the NT start on 9 October with a session on the mental health perspective on COVID-19 and work. Events have limited capacity, so make sure you register sooner rather than later.
  • ACT: There doesn’t appear to be any plans for National Safe Work Month in the ACT.

How you can get involved

There are a number of steps you can take to become involved in National Safe Work Month – and attending one of the many events listed above is just the start.

Managers should take the opportunity this October to promote a vibrant safety culture. Strong leadership can achieve better safety outcomes in your organisation.

Other ideas for National Safe Work Month you can implement in your business include:

  • conducting a safety workshop;
  • hosting a session with a guest speaker on safety;
  • distributing information about your business’s commitment to an excellent safety culture;
  • launching a new health and wellbeing initiative; and
  • hosting a morning tea focused on safety.
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