On 28th April 2021, it was World Day of Safety and Health at Work and Workers Memorial Day. This day is a reminder to revise and improve on your workplace’s health and safety procedures, as well as remembering those who have died on work sites. Australian fatalities at work have steadily decreased over the last decade – although this is good news any death at work is unacceptable and tragic.
The theme for 2021 World Day of Safety and Health at Work is Anticipate, prepare and respond to crises and invest in resilient Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) systems. This year there has been much more focus on psychological safety; with the increase in Working from Home, there has also been a significant rise in mental health issues as well as domestic violence.
Early 2020 saw the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic, forcing many businesses and workers to adapt to new conditions to keep operating in a safe and practical way such as implementing stringent OHS procedures to mitigate the spread of the virus. For many, a newfound reliance on teleworking has provided the opportunities to employees to continue to work in a safe manner. This has been a great saver to the economy and to many jobs, but it has also presented many potential OHS risks, including psychosocial risks and violence in particular.
Under work health and safety (WHS) legislation, an employer must minimise or eliminate the risk to psychological health and safety as much as you reasonably can. This can include reducing workloads, flexible work hours, and zoom calls to check in with staff to help ease the sense of isolation.