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Case study: A team approach to the welfare of all workers

Consolidated Pastoral Company (CPC) knows how important it is to support the mental health, personal health and general wellbeing of its workers, encouraging them to share any new initiatives and ideas.

Anna and Andrew are the station managers of Isis Downs Station. In acknowledging that young workers have different needs and expectations to previous generations, Anna and Andrew started a health and wellbeing program in 2018 to create connections and provide education and professional development in a fun environment. They wanted to give staff access to services and facilities available to city slickers.

Their monthly toolbox meetings have a WHS and wellbeing focus, with staff talking about risks people have been exposed to, and near misses, and how they can mitigate these risks. Everyone provides suggestions on what activities would support their health and wellbeing.

When the harsh realities of the drought were affecting some workers, Queensland Health psychologists and Royal Flying Doctor Service mental health professionals shone a light on mental health and how people can be affected by what is happening in their life. They provided information on what is considered normal and when it's time to seek help.

Anna negotiated a field day with RFDS and invited neighbouring stations, with free skin checks on offer. They also went through emergency evacuation processes suitable for remote areas and provided first aid training.

Anna and Andrew expect their staff to get involved in the local Isisford community and most volunteer at the annual Isisford Show and annual race meet. This provides an activity away from work to connect with locals.

Isis Downs workers have opportunities for professional development by going to agricultural forums which provide both educational and social benefits. Anna and Andrew also facilitate an annual communication and personality type workshop highlighting that different workers have diverse ways of communicating.

Part of the professional development is a 'Leadership at every level' program every six months where young workers must run the yard and work without direct supervision unless necessary.  This makes them assess risks, plan and complete the jobs for the day.

In 2020, Isis Downs plans to have educational sessions by a dietitian and physiotherapist, as well as sexual health and screening.

All activities are mandatory for staff to attend, even the stylist session on colours and clothes! Anna believes these group sessions provide an opportunity for staff to share experiences and connect as a team away from family and friends.

From a business point of view, the approach has increased loyalty, as people feel supported, with the majority of their staff returning each year.

Further information

To find out more about health and wellbeing programs and for advice and resources to embed work health and wellbeing into your business, contact Workplace Health and Safety Queensland at www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/health-wellbeing.