October 10, 2023

National Safe Work Month: For everyone’s safety, work safely

Imagine a workplace where there are no risks, and no one is injured. Sounds like a dream. However, the reality is that there will always be risks present in the workplace and someone will inevitably get injured.

Safe Work Australia runs an annual national campaign in October – National Safe Work Month, to raise awareness of occupational health and safety (OH&S) and to encourage all individuals and organisations to prioritise safety in their workplaces to reduce number of work-related injuries, illnesses and fatalities.

Being healthy and safe means being free from physical and psychological harm. A safe and healthy workplace benefits everyone. We all understand that safety and wellbeing are important and how it impacts everyone, even beyond the workplace.

The theme for this year’s National Safe Work Month is “For everyone’s safety, work safely.” Everyone has a part to play and we need to work together to keep everyone safe. You can refer to this link to find out what simple actions you can take to maintain safety.

Protecting our mental health is just as important as protecting our physical health. Incidentally, October is also Mental Health Month. To understand more about psychosocial hazards for mental health at work and what supports are available, please click on this link.

The OH&S and Wellbeing teams approached staff across different roles, asking “What does OH&S mean to you?”

Siva Sivarajah, Chief Executive: Northern Health has an obligation to keep our staff safe while they work, and to ensure our patients, their carers and visitors to Northern Health are also kept safe. Occupational health and safety reminds us of the responsibility we have as an organisation to maintain a strong safety culture, not just in the physical sense but for the overall wellbeing of staff, patients, their carers and visitors.

Debra Bourne, Chief Operating Officer: OH&S embodies our unwavering commitment to safeguarding the wellbeing of every individual within our workplace; staff, patients and visitors. It means fostering a culture where employees feel safe, valued, and empowered to thrive in a safe work environment. As one of our core values, safety, in all its forms, is a key priority and we can all contribute to a safe and healthy working environment by practicing safety every day.

Simone Jervies, Ward 10 NUM: OH&S means developing strong, positive relationships with a culture based on safety, transparency, empathy, and trust. OH&S mean creating a safe working environment where workers feel more at ease, confident and happy to come to work.

Judy Sonneveld, Ward 22 NUM: OH&S is a way to identify and manage risk to staff to ensure that everyone comes to work in safe environment. We screen our patients for risk to safety to optimise care. We screen our environment and work practices to provide hazard free workplace and reduce injury to staff.

Deanne South, Ward 18 HSR: OH&S means coming to work and feeling safe. It means helping keep myself and my colleagues feel safe, and making sure everyone goes home mentally and physically well to their families. 

Karen Candy, N CCU HSR: Safety, security, and a feeling of wellbeing when coming to work. To know that you work hard for your peers, do the job required, there’s faith in everyone returning to family accident free, at the end of the day.

Mikayla Kingston, Pathology HSR: I think OH&S is often misunderstood. I volunteered to become the HSR of Pathology as I am an outgoing person who loves a challenge. Being able to learn new skills, being the voice for my colleagues and keeping them safe is important to me. I love how diverse OH&S is. Being involved in OH&S, as a HSR, has been rewarding. I have been able to learn new skills and apply them, meet new people and form connections within the hospital. These connections have helped me in assisting keeping the pathology environment a safe space. I believe OH&S is more than following guidelines, although important, it’s also about teamwork!

Roopa Abrol, NWAMHS ECT HSR: Providing safe and secure environment that is hazard free to everyone working in that area, regardless of the nature of their work.

Ebin Ephrem, EMH HSR: For me, occupational health and safety is working towards safeguarding the safety and wellbeing of staff, patients, and visitors. It entails implementing procedures, and encompassing measures to prevent accidents, reduce risks, and maintain a secure healthcare environment for all stakeholders.

Dianne Rainford, NAMHS Hotham Street HSR: OH&S is at times challenging and rewarding. OH&S means having each other’s back and taking a part in what has to happen to make sure everyone is safe including the clients and staff. The staff we have at Hotham Street are exceptional in helping each other to stay safe.

Leon Tan – OH&S Manager: Working across multiple high-risk industries and seeing how situations could easily turn bad has deepen my appreciation for OH&S. Hence this has become my passion to advocate and ensure that everyone returns home safely to what matters most.

There is more we can do, and working together we can make a difference.

Featured image: Ebin Ephrem, Clinician, Emergency Mental Health, Leon Tan, OH&S Manager, Roopa Abrollhos, ECT Coordinator and Simone Jervies, Acting NUM Birthing Suite and Maternity Assessment Care.