This October is National Safe Work Month (NSWM) and serves as an important reminder of workplace health and safety (WHS). This year’s campaign theme, ‘For everyone’s safety, work safely’ reinforces that safety is a shared responsibility.
Throughout the upcoming month, Safe at Work will cover various weekly themes, and explore diverse health and safety topics, equipping workplaces with knowledge and strategies to nurture a safer, healthier, and more inclusive working environment.
This message transcends organisational size, reaching businesses and organisations of all scales, underlining the urgent need to establish secure and protective work environments. NSWM stands as a dedicated period each year to reaffirm our collective commitment to ensuring that every worker returns home safe and well, both physically and mentally.
The four pillars of national safe work month
NSWM is structured around four focus areas, each designed to address various facets of WHS and its impact on workers and workplaces:
- Week 1 (1 October – 8 October) Working together to manage risks at work: Safety starts with identifying and mitigating risks. This week is all about collaboratively managing risks to create a safer work environment.
- Week 2 (9 October – 15 October) Working together to protect workers’ mental health: Mental health is as crucial as physical health. This week emphasises the importance of safeguarding the mental well-being of employees.
- Week 3 (16 October – 22 October) Working together to support all workers: Inclusivity is key. NSWM encourages a workplace culture where every worker, regardless of their role or background, feels supported and valued.
- Week 4 (23 October – 31 October) Working together to ensure a safe and healthy workplace: The culmination of NSWM focuses on the overall goal of maintaining a safe and healthy workplace, where risks are minimised, and safety is paramount.
Why we need national safe work month?
Australian organisations must recognise that ensuring compliance with workplace health and safety (WHS) regulations is not only a legal obligation but also a vital responsibility. Non-compliance can have serious repercussions, affecting not just the organisation itself, but also its employees, their families, and the broader community.
Failing to adhere to WHS regulations can lead to legal penalties, fines, and potential damage to the organisation’s reputation. Moreover, it can result in decreased employee morale, increased turnover, and productivity losses. The impact of workplace injuries and illnesses can extend beyond the workplace, causing emotional distress and financial strain for affected employees and their families.
Facts and figures
Understanding the urgency of this cause is essential. In 2021, approximately 169 people lost their lives while performing their jobs in Australia, a stark reminder of the work still ahead of us.
Additionally, in the 2020-21 fiscal year, there were approximately 130,195 serious workers’ compensation claims made. These numbers highlight the severity of the issue and the need for continuous efforts to improve workplace safety.
As we embark on National Safe Work Month, let us be committed to working towards safer and more compassionate workplaces. Remember, our collective commitment to workplace health and safety isn’t just a duty; it’s an investment in a brighter, more secure future for all. Act now to create secure, healthier, and inclusive workplaces, ensuring every worker’s physical and mental well-being.