In October 2014, Victorian WorkCover Authority (VWA) will be promoting VWA Health and Safety week. The campaign is aimed at having workers and employers turn their minds to how they can improve on worksite safety. No one should be put at risk because of inadequate safety measures in the workplace, and the consequences of a workplace injury do not simply affect the injured worker. A workplace injury affects the worker’s family, and it also affects the employer and their business. A valued and trained employee would need to be replaced while injured, and the employer may be liable for workers compensation. So ultimately, a safer workplace is a more productive workplace.
The construction industry has one of the highest incidents of workplace injuries every year. VWA Health and Safety week hopes to improve worksite safety by educating workers and employers about Safe Work protocols and policies that address the common hazards of the job. It also aims to promote the importance of supervision by employers, and the need for employees to be vigilant about what they are doing. Injuries can arise out of the simplest of tasks, such as falling off a ladder, simply because due attention has not been given to the task.
VWA Health and Safety week begins at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on the weekend of 20 to 22 October 2014. It will also be promoted across the state of Victoria in regional locations from 20 to 31 October 2014.
During this time VWA will run free seminars. Representatives from VWA and industry experts will be giving presentations to educate and inform any type of employee and every kind of employer about best practice health and safety measures, but will particularly focus on those in industries where workplace injuries are common. These include the construction industry, farming industry, and mining industry.
One of the presentations worth noting this year will be a talk given by Darren Flanagan, who was the explosive expert at the Beaconsfield mine and rescued two miners trapped there. Another noteworthy presentation this year is from Bernard Salt, who will be talking about the social and demographic trends in workplace safety.
In addition to VWA Health and Safety week, VWA presents awards for recognising and rewarding Victorian businesses who have implemented outstanding workplace health and safety measures. Entries for 2014 have already closed, but you can submit entries all year round. Visit Work Safe Awards if your employer deserves to be entered. VWA Awards are all about rewarding leading contributors to health and safety practices. Some of the awards include:
- Health and Safety representative of the year: For 2014 it was Christian Sanderson. You can read about his achievements here.
- Health and Safety Committee of the year
- Best solution to Specific Workplace Health and Safety Issue
- Excellence in Health and Safety Management
- Employer Excellence in the Return to Work: The importance of a personalised and appropriate return to work strategy that supports the injured worker to encourage recovery and sustained integration back to work is recognised with this award. In 2013, Union Hydraulics Pty Ltd won this prestigious award.
Additionally, this awareness week is not simply about safety in the workplace, but also about promoting wellbeing. It is a known fact that stress affects an employee physically as well as mentally, and it’s important for employers and employees to promote mental health and wellbeing just as much as physical safety in the work place. VWA seeks to promote this approach with an award given to the business or employer that has demonstrated a commitment to health and wellbeing at work. In 2013 the award for Commitment to Health and Wellbeing went to Dowell – Boral.
Ultimately, whether its educating workers and employers by rewarding outstanding contributions, or offering free seminars during VWA Health and Safety week the week, the aim of VWA is to minimise workplace stress and injury so that workers return home safely to their families at the end of their working day. For more information about this event, see the VWA website.