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Boosting safety in healthcare and social assistance

Social Assistance

Small to medium healthcare and social assistance employers are being urged to make the most of the free OHS Essentials program offered by WorkSafe.

The program is designed to create safer, more positive healthcare workplaces by providing small to medium- sized organisations with consultants who give professional, personalised and confidential occupational health and safety advice.

WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Narelle Beer said balancing patient needs with worker safety was a challenge that required deliberate focus.

“The OHS Essentials program helps workplaces create an environment where the health and safety of neither the client nor worker is compromised,” Dr Beer said.

In a new video to promote the program, Wendy Shanks, the CEO of Shepparton Access, a disability service that helps people increase their skills and be a part of their community, says she engaged with the program to learn how to start a mental health strategy and improve workplace ergonomics.

“One of our biggest issues within the service was risk management,” she said. “It was about the physical environment and the health and wellbeing of our staff.”

“This program has been incredible for us because it’s a whole different way of looking at safety in the workplace.”

One of the resources available to Wendy and her team was the WorkWell Toolkit, which provides online tools and specialised information to help workplace leaders promote positive mental health and prevent mental injury.

OHS Consultant Annette Jakob said the tailored advice provided through the program aims to address risks specific to each workplace and promote a positive culture.

“Work is such a significant part of people’s lives,” she said “They should be doing it safely, productively and enjoying it.”

On average, more than three workers were injured every day in small to medium healthcare and social assistance workplaces in 2021, with WorkSafe accepting 1415 injury claims.

The most common types of injuries were musculoskeletal injury; mental injury; and traumatic tendon, muscle and ligament injury. The most common causes of injury were body stressing; falls, slips and trips; and mental stress.

Dr Beer urged all small to medium healthcare and social assistance employers to take advantage of the OHS Essentials program.

“As the pandemic has highlighted, healthcare and social assistance workers play an invaluable role in the safety and wellbeing of the entire community,” she said.

“It’s crucial that these workers are fully supported when it comes to their own health and safety at work.”

To find out more about the OHS Essentials program, click here. To view Wendy’s story, click here.

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