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Be a leader in work health and wellbeing

Leaders set an example and show their commitment to work health, safety and wellbeing by being actively involved in their business and encouraging and valuing workers.

There is strong evidence that performance is improved when leaders of organisations address work health, safety and wellbeing risks along with other important business tasks. Leaders set an example by showing their commitment to work health and safety, being actively involved in their business and encouraging and valuing workers' participation.

Everyone can be a leader and are often people at various levels of an organisation with practical rather than formal ability to influence, or have people 'follow their lead'. Larger organisations may have multiple leaders within the organisation, including human resource department, occupational  health and safety, senior and middle management, supervisors and relevant external stakeholders. Leaders in smaller organisations may be anyone who has an interest or passion in work health. Industry leaders can be supply chains and peak bodies.

All organisations can show their leadership in building a positive, safe and healthy culture by becoming a member of the Safety Leadership at Work program.

Importance of supply chains and networks

Supply chains and networks are the web of relationships that link the exchange of goods or services between businesses. A good example of this is moving agricultural produce from the farm to the supermarket. Supply chains are usually established through formal or informal contractual arrangements. When people within a supply chain act cooperatively, they can have more influence on health and safety than when they act alone.

Leaders in supply chains and networks need to be champions of work health, wellbeing and safety. Safety often improves when one respected member of a supply chain adopts new practices which then influence other supply chain members' perceptions, expectations and actions.

Role of peak industry bodies and member organisations in supporting work health

Peak industry bodies (PIBs) and member organisations are terms for an advocacy group, an association of industries or groups with allied interests. They are generally established for purposes of developing standards and processes, or to act on behalf of all members when lobbying government or promoting the interests of the members. This can include influencing and shaping the business and regulatory framework.

PIBs provide an important role in promoting work health and wellbeing as they provide a single point of contact for a represented membership group. They are well placed to understand the specific circumstances, needs and challenges of industry. By supporting and encouraging positive work health and safety practices, a positive health, safety and wellbeing culture can be developed for industry. The impetus for peak bodies to focus on work health and wellbeing include:

  • competition between industries to attract skilled workers
  • recognition that a healthier and safer workforce is more productive, especially in the context of an ageing workforce
  • creating a sense of commitment by workers to the industry.

PIBs can support members to address work health, safety and wellbeing by:

  • advocating for registered training organisations to include worker health in their programs
  • have work health and wellbeing policies and promote the importance and benefits to members
  • advocating work health, safety and wellbeing through board members
  • encouraging unions to become involved with work health and wellbeing
  • establish sector wide linkages and partnerships
  • providing access to information, programs and services. This can be done through established links (e.g. website, e-newsletters, partnerships, networks, meetings)
  • include work health, safety and wellbeing information at conferences and forums
  • providing an awards program for members taking an integrated approach to worker health, safety and wellbeing
  • promoting free services to workplaces.

If you would like to partner with Healthy Workers Initiative to improve work health and wellbeing for your membership please  contact us.