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Chronic disease action plan

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 per cent 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 per cent reported one chronic disease, 11 per cent two and 5 per cent 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 (PDF, 229.68 KB) .

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, Physical inactivity, 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
  • transport
  • manufacturing
  • agriculture
  • mining and resource sector
  • Queensland public sector
  • small business
  • health care and social services
  • blue collar workers
  • ageing workers
  • rural and remote workers

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 plan 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

WorkCover’s Corporate Plan 2017-2021, 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 2017-20121 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 2017-2026, 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.

Last updated
13 September 2018

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