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Health and wellbeing at work

Health and wellbeing at work

In the changing world of work, healthy workers are essential for workplace economic prosperity.

Workers face a number of challenges in the workplace that can affect their overall health including high job demands, insecure and competing labour markets, long work hours, shift work and non-standard working hours.

In addition, many Queenslanders are affected by poor health, with 41% of Queensland adults reported having at least one of the following chronic diseases: arthritis, asthma, cancer, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), diabetes or a disease of the circulatory system. Of these, 25% reported one chronic disease, 11% two and 5% three or more.

Targeting these chronic disease risk factors through a supportive work environment and promoting good work design to improve work health is a priority for Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) and forms the basis of the Chronic disease action plan.

Through the implementation of this action plan, WHSQ aims to build industry capacity to identify and manage work related chronic disease hazards.  An integrated health, safety and wellbeing approach underpins all activities outlined in the action plan and will utilise high-level collaboration with peak industry bodies and industry associations to influence a positive culture shift and healthier lifestyle choices for Queensland workers.

Activities proposed under the action plan will engage with all employers in all industry sectors throughout Queensland to address the key risk factors for developing chronic diseases include Smoking, poor Nutrition, harmful Alcohol consumption, Obesity and poor Mental health (e.g. SNAPOM risk factors).

A key priority is targeting industries and occupation groups identified as having a higher risk of chronic disease, these include:

Industries Occupational groups
Construction Blue collar workers
Transport Ageing workers
Manufacturing Rural and remote workers
Mining and resource sector  
Queensland public sector  
Small business  
Health care and social services  

Our goal is to make Queensland workplaces safer and healthier through good work design practices to manage chronic disease, musculoskeletal and mental health.

The Chronic disease action action plan  (*note provide link to action plan here)  aims to:

  • develop practical, evidence based tools and resources for workplaces
  • build leadership capability at all levels of industry to better understand and manage workplace hazards
  • assist businesses in adopting an integrated health, safety and wellbeing approach to manage chronic disease
  • engage industry to respond to chronic disease hazards.

Strategic Alignments

Global level

The Global Plan of Action of Workers Health, World Health Organisation:

At a global level the World Health Organisation endorses a holistic approach to address different aspects of workers’ health. The Global Plan of Action of Workers Health provides a framework for development of policies, infrastructure, technologies and partnerships for linking occupational health and public health to achieve a basic level of health for all workers.

National Level

Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2020, Safe Work Australia:

Identifies well-designed, healthy and safe work to ensure workers have more productive working lives. Promoting worker health, wellbeing and capacity to work is identified in the strategy as a key mechanism to improve health, safety and productivity outcomes. Progression towards achievement of producing healthy, safe and productive lives is supported through seven action areas: Health and safe by design, supply chains and networks, health and safety capabilities, leadership and culture, research and evaluation, government, and responsive and effective regulatory framework.

The Principles of Good Work Design, Safe Work Australia:

Achieving well-designed healthy and safe work identified in the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2020 can be done if hazards and risks are eliminated through good design.  There are ten principles demonstrating how to achieve good design of work and work processes in the handbook of Principles of Good Work Design.

State level

Safe, more productive Queensland strategy 2015-2022, Office of Industrial Relations, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland :

The Office of Industrial Relations (OIR) is the regulator for both workplace health and safety and workers’ compensation and  has identified three guiding principles to assist workers, business and wider community to build a culture that places a high value on health, safety and rehabilitation as part of the overarching Safe, more productive Queensland strategy 2015-2022.

Priority Disorder Strategy: Office of Industrial Relations, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland:

Complimentary to the Safe, more productive Queensland strategy 2015-2022, the Priority Disorder Strategy identifies ‘building the capacity of workplaces to promote and integrate work health and wellbeing’ as a key mechanism to improve health, safety and return to work outcomes. This strategy identifies ‘disorders arising from lifestyle chronic disease risk factors’ as one of the seven work-related health priority disorders.

WorkCover’s Corporate Plan 2015-2018, WorkCover Queensland:

Supporting the role of health and wellbeing programs to improve injury management and return to work outcomes aligns with WorkCover’s Corporate Plan 2015-2018,   to reduce common law claims, injuries, premiums, and workplace/industry costs. WorkCover promotes stay at work and encourages recovery at work by recognising that these provide important health and wellbeing benefits for both the worker and employer.

The Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2015-2020 , Queensland Health:

This strategy supports the use of proactive and preventive health and wellbeing programs through settings and partnerships to promote good physical and mental health that can prevent illness and injury.

Work health: health and wellbeing in the workplace

Well designed and well managed workplaces can play a beneficial role in promoting worker health and wellbeing, minimising avoidable ill health, and facilitating faster recovery and return to work after injury or illness.


Taking steps to help you and your workers improve health and wellbeing could also improve your business' safety performance, productivity and workplace culture. Broadening the scope of your workplace health and safety systems to include work health can have considerable benefits for your business.


Worker health and wellbeing can have a direct effect on work health and safety and business performance.

Integrating health, wellbeing and safety in the workplace

Good work health and safety systems can easily incorporate health and wellbeing risk management into existing policies and procedures, because the fundamental goals of work health are the same as work safety.

Work health in key industries and sectors

The construction, transport, and the rural and resources industries in Queensland have been identified as high risk when it comes to the health and wellbeing of their workers.

Work health links and resources

There are lots of useful links available to you. Whether you are looking for more information, or ideas for your workplace work health program, or specific advice on a range of health and wellbeing topics, the links below can assist.

Work health planning guide

This interactive work health planning guide is designed to assist businesses take steps to improve the health and wellbeing of workers in a workplace setting.

Work health and wellbeing events

The work health and wellbeing leadership breakfast forum series is for managers and leaders interested in leveraging work health and wellbeing to improve injury prevention and return to work.

Health and wellbeing articles

A healthy workplace can help reduce an individual’s chances of developing many chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes by supporting workers to be active, reduce stress, quit smoking and eat healthy. Useful links and articles on these topics are included here.

Last updated
09 August 2017

Register now for Safety Leadership Challenge Mid-Point Event

Attend an after-work event on 20 November 2017 on the progress of the Safety Leadership Challenge. Hear directly from the leaders involved around their challenges and solution.


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There's nothing like getting back for getting better

Workers who get back to safe work as soon as possible recover more quickly than those who wait until they are fully recovered.


There's nothing like getting back for getting better