Research shows that healthy workers are more productive, take fewer sick days, and are less at risk of injuries and return to work quicker than their less healthy counterparts. Research also shows that a well-planned wellbeing program can have a long-term return on investment of 1:5 or higher, and a reduction in workers’ compensation claims, reduced absenteeism, improved morale of workers and increased productivity.
Wellbeing programs can support better lifestyle choices around smoking, nutrition, harmful alcohol consumption, physical inactivity and obesity all risk factors for avoidable chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and some cancers. Additionally, poor mental health can either be a contributor to or the result of having a number of chronic diseases.
Workers can be supported to make healthier choices by providing education and ensuring physical environments, policies and organisational systems support a healthy lifestyle.
This film explores the importance of directing wellbeing activities to areas of need, and that long-lasting and sustainable improvements are best achieved when health and safety is supported by the organisation’s culture and embedded in its procedures and processes.
The four organisations featured in the film are:
- Carlton United Breweries – manufacturing and transport
- Shamrock Civil – construction
- Monadelphous – oil and gas
- Pacific National - transport
Who is this seminar for?
This seminar is for executive, managers, supervisors and workers in industries experiencing a higher risk of chronic diseases due to unhealthy lifestyles exacerbated by challenging working conditions such as long working hours, fatigue, or isolation if working in remote areas.
About the presenters
- Emily Whimster, Monadelphous
- Ben Evans, Shamrock Civil
- Amy Sproule, Carlton United Breweries
- Stephanie Calderbank, Pacific National
These four presenters are health and safety professionals in their industry with a keen interest in improving the wellbeing of workers. They each have practical experience of promoting wellbeing in tandem with health and safety, while monitoring and evaluating the method and outcomes to ensure a sustained long-lasting culture change to their organisations.
Healthy work. Healthy you.
University of Queensland - WorkSafe Queensland
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Chronic disease is one of the big situations that a lot of our employees find themselves in. There are strong links in research between fatigue, lack of sleep and obesity.
I would definitely consider mental health issues to be at the forefront of health issues experienced out on site as well as maintaining that healthy balance. And it is definitely possible to overeat or comfort eat out here and to neglect the healthier options.
The long working hours that are required of workers in the construction industry obviously reduces the opportunities that the guys have for structured physical activity outside of work.
Physical inactivity and poor dietary choices are key aspects of poor employee health that we often come across. We can often see isolation playing a role for our people working in rural and remote locations.
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I think that the responsibility for health does come down to each individual to grasp their opportunities but for them to take that opportunity they need to be given that opportunity and that's where I think management needs to provide options to their workers.
To try and get people more active within the manufacturing industry here at Yatala we have a number of initiatives here on site. We have a walking group. We have a group of people that every morning they go out and they have a walk around the Brewery. Twenty minutes is not a great deal of time for people to be away from work especially when you look at the outcomes that you can get.
The other thing that we do with our physio service our physio is an exercise physiologist. So we certainly promote getting active and being healthy in that way. My role here at Carlton United Breweries is to try and help that health seeking behaviour with the guys so they can get whatever medical attention they need when they need it and early, not before they get so sick that they can't perform at work or their performance suffers.
So some of the initiatives that we've looked to implement include a financial co-contribution in order to get some touch football teams organised. If there's no access to healthy food options we've implemented a weekly fruit delivery to that site. Only recently we've implemented a site resource list. When a site is starting up I'll generally go out and have a look at the area to ascertain if there's any options for the healthy eating, do the local councils offer free or low cost activities which more often than not they do.
Back in the office we have a cycling group that meets every week. We've had a 10,000 step challenge that went out across site. We've brought in gym equipment and set up a little gym here on site. We've opened a running and walking track. It fits in with the walk home. So we don't have to drive home. We can let off steam and have time to get outdoors and actually get in touch with nature a little bit and watch a beautiful sunset.
Providing education resources, providing healthy nutrition for people to have as their option when they're at work. With the canteen we've had a look at all the different options we can do to try and improve the quality and the nutritional value of the food that they have available to them.
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We're definitely seeing a shift where health promotion and health and wellbeing isn't being seen as just an employee benefit and actually using behaviour change principles to have sustainable effective change.
If we can evaluate the success of the health and wellbeing program or the various initiatives we can see the positive impact not only on the health of our workers but the bottom line from a financial point of view.
The advice that I would give to someone coming in to a work health promotion role is to understand their workforce before they put anything into place. You need to establish a baseline so that you can monitor those small elements of change. You need to be realistic that increases to productivity and decreases to absenteeism isn't a short term goal. It is about long, sustainable changes and a journey that the organisation must take.
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You need to be persistent. You need to have a structured program with goals and measureable outcomes as well.
Understand what gets those people excited and try and find something along the lines of the healthy living and community type events that they can get involved in that they're passionate about.
Get out into the work space. Talk to people and observe. You will learn so much about what issues are important to them even through general conversation about their family. So get personal with the people that you're working with.
I'm really motivated to work in this industry. It's very rewarding and you do feel as if you're making a difference.
And I get a great deal of satisfaction out of helping people and helping them achieve their health goals. You know they've participated in these initiatives and they've really got the benefits out of that and it's had a positive influence, not only on how well they're doing at work but also in their home lives and relationships at home. That's very satisfying for me.
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Serious injuries are an ongoing issue in the workplace. They can impose devastating impacts on workers and sometimes preclude them from ever re-entering the workforce. This infographic highlights some of the effects serious injuries have on workers.
This infographic shows research and data about the most common causes of death and serious injury in the construction industry.
This infographic provides information about the causes of the high number of worker fatalities and injuries in the manufacturing industry.
This infographic looks at the key factors attributed to serious claims by healthcare professionals, so that we can focus on how to reduce these statistics.