Research — 24 June 2014

Ignoring mental health costs Australian industry billions of dollars each year through increased absenteeism, lower productivity and more compensation claims.”- Safe Work Australia chief executive officer Michelle Baxter

Safe Work SA Whyalla is encouraging local businesses to take action on mental health in the workplace.

As part of an Australian first nationwide initiative, business leaders are being asked to adopt the ‘Heads Up’ campaign in their workplaces.

Safe Work SA Whyalla regional compliance team manager Craig Rutjens said the campaign was a joint initiative by beyondblue and the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance, which Safe Work Australia was a founding member.

“Whyalla office will be available to assist the implementation if businesses have the need,” Mr Rutjens said.

The Heads Up website provides a host of resources and a kit to assist businesses to create mentally healthy workplaces.bigstock_Resignation_527483

In throwing her support behind the campaign, Safe Work Australia chief executive officer Michelle Baxter acknowledged the many benefits that a healthy workplace, both physical and psychological, could bring to an organisation.

“While the attention is often on a workers’ physical health, focusing on physical and mental health can have significant return on investments for organisations,” Ms Baxter said.

“Importantly, managing psychological hazards and risks is required by law to ensure the safety of Australian workers.”

Work health and safety regulators have resources that can assist organisations to manage mental health in the workplace.

One of Safe Work Australia’s contributions to the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance is the release of two fact sheets.

Preventing Psychological Injury Under Work Health and Safety Laws assists persons conducting a business address psychological health risks to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all persons at work.

Workers’ Compensation Legislation and Psychological Injury provides a general overview of the employer’s role under workers’ compensation legislation in relation to psychological injuries.

“Managing mental health risks and hazards in workplaces benefits not only workers but also the business itself,” Ms Baxter said.

“I strongly encourage all employers and workers to seriously examine the physical and psychological health needs of their workplace and implement the practical risk management processes to minimise the mental health risks to workers.

“A business that understands its requirement to protect its workers and manage mental health risks will contribute to the health and wellbeing of its workforce.”

This article first appeared on ‘Whyalla News’ on 23 June 2014.


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