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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.

Work practices, workplace culture, work-life balance, injury management programs and relationships within workplaces are key determinants, not only of whether people feel valued and supported in their work roles, but also of individual health, wellbeing and productivity.

Royal College of Physicians Consensus Statement (2011) Realising the Health Benefits of Work.

What is a healthy workplace?

A healthy workplace is one where workers and managers collaborate to continually improve the health, safety and wellbeing of all workers and by doing this, sustain the productivity of the business.

Work health and wellbeing programs (or work health initiatives) take into consideration the impacts that the work environment and the type of work can have on the health of workers, and provide activities or initiatives that are designed to make healthy choices the easy choices for workers. They are becoming more important in modern workplaces as businesses endeavour to reap the benefits of a healthy workplace.

These programs aim to have a positive impact on worker productivity and performance as well as the health and wellbeing of employees, families and communities.

Work health and wellbeing initiatives should include:

  • healthy people – provide access to health information and build the knowledge and skills of workers to adopt healthy lifestyles
  • healthy places – provide a physical, social and organisational environment that supports healthy choices. Provide healthy lifestyle opportunities and services for everyone in the workplace
  • communication and promotion – consult with workers and keep everyone informed and motivated through targeted communication. Promote participation in activities and encourage personal skill development.

Work health, wellbeing and safety

The distinction between work and non-work related illness and disease is becoming less clear. Broadening the scope of workplace health and safety to include health and wellbeing can provide significant benefits to business and safety performance.

Work health initiatives should:

  • build on a solid foundation of an effective safety management system
  • be complementary to workplace health and safety systems and duties, not a substitute for them
  • include consideration of work design and the work environment, and ensure these are contributing to positive health outcomes for workers
  • adhere to the core principles of the Joint Statement of Commitment – Promoting Good Health at Work..

Queensland Government priorities

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) is partnering with Queensland Health to deliver the Healthy Workers Initiative as part of the National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health. It is aimed at reducing the risk of chronic disease in and through the workplace.

Tools and resources will soon be available to help all Queensland workplaces improve their work health and wellbeing. WHSQ will focus on the industries that are considered 'high risk' when it comes to the health and wellbeing of their workers:

  • Construction industry
  • Transport and storage industry
  • Regional, rural and remote workplaces
  • Queensland public sector.

WHSQ is committed to working with industry bodies, employer groups and unions to ensure that workplaces are positive environments that contribute to the health of workers.

Check back on this site for updates on information, tools and resources to assist your workplace to improve the health and wellbeing of your workers.

Last updated
31 July 2017

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