Workplace health, safety, and wellbeing

The Queensland Government is committed to creating workplaces where employees can thrive and achieve their best. See the Be healthy, be safe, be well (PDF, 5.3 MB) framework.

Complete the Organisational HS&W maturity matrix to understand your agency’s level of maturity in its approach to health, safety and wellbeing and what you need to improve. Use the HS&W organisational maturity matrix self-assessment template (XLSX, 112 KB) to capture your results.

Use the Building better engagement in work health and safety strategy (PDF, 1.2 MB) to support health and safety representatives and workers in the Queensland public sector.

Encourage your leaders to be visible and passionate champions for improving health, safety and wellbeing in the workplace.

Get them to sign the Queensland Government’s leadership statement (DOCX, 949 KB) . Display the statement in your workplace.

Connect with Leading Well Queensland. Use their resources which share best practice information for leaders to create thriving workplaces.

Use the Return on investment calculator. Show your leaders the monetary benefit in investing in health, safety and wellbeing (e.g. a new equipment or an employee wellbeing program).

Help your leaders understand their responsibilities. Get them to read WorkSafe’s Business and employer responsibilities. Encourage them to join the Safety leadership at work program. It’s free and provides resources and opportunities to learn from others on improving health, safety and wellbeing in the workplace.

Get your leaders to complete the Everyday conversations for healthy minds program.

Build health, safety and wellbeing priorities and measurements into your executive performance agreements.

Health and safety representatives

The role of health and safety representatives (HSRs) is to:

  • represent the interests of their work group
  • help resolve issues of concern and investigate complaints
  • raise issues with management
  • act as a conduit for employees to participate in the health and safety system of an organisation.

If you are a HSR you must undertake prescribed training within three months of your appointment, to ensure you have the required skills and knowledge. This generally gives you functions and powers within your own work group.

Access support services though Workplace Health and Safety Queensland HSR Direct (1300 633 419) and the relevant unions that support HSRs in the workplace.

Visit WorkSafe Queensland for more information about the role of health and safety representatives and committees and for a list of approved health and safety representative training providers.

Read Workplace Health and Safety Queensland’s information for workers, and prospective and current HSRs to understand more about becoming a HSR, roles and responsibilities.

Managers

Consultation, representation and participation in health and safety are legal obligations for managers under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2021.

Queensland public sector managers must :

  • understand health and safety policies and procedures, and how consultation happens in their agency
  • demonstrate a commitment to working with their employees to improve workplace health and safety. This includes:
    • raising awareness of ways to consult on health and safety matters
    • encouraging and supporting employees to participate in health and safety practices, process, workplace initiatives and training programs
    • responding to issues early and keeping records to show how employee views have been considered in decisions that impact health and safety
  • promote employee’s rights to be represented and ability to contribute to health and safety matters by:
    • requesting, volunteering or electing a HSR for a work group
    • requesting or joining a health and safety committee
    • facilitating union delegates or officials to represent employees in health and safety matters
  • work directly with HSRs in their work group to identify and assess risks and support them to undertake activities during their usual work hours. Use the Manager’s guide to supporting HSRs checklist (PDF, 193 KB) .
  • ensure there is a shared commitment and responsibility for improving health and safety – with open communication, genuine exchange of information and collaboration to reach solutions.

Visit WorkSafe Queensland to further understand your responsibilities and access resources that will help you improve your safety leadership and culture.

Visit WorkSafe’s Healthy and safe work environment page to identify and manage physical and mental health risks in the workplace.

Read the Work environment and facilities code of practice and the Safe design of structures code of practice. Understand your health, safety and wellbeing obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

Use the Organisational systems benchmarking tool to assess your agency’s approach to workplace health and safety, worker health and wellbeing, and worker’s compensation and return to work practices. Use your results and the resources provided to improve your agency systems.

Complete the People at work survey to understand your agency’s psychosocial hazards. Use your results to help your agency manage mental health risks in the workplace.

Encourage a physically healthy workplace

Use the BeUpstanding program to help improve your desk-based employees’ physical health and wellbeing.

Encourage your employees to participate in the 10,000 Step Challenge to support them in being active every day.

Promote end-of-trip facilities to support employees who cycle, jog or walk to work or who enjoy exercise during their lunch break. If your agency doesn’t provide these facilities, visit End-of-trip facilities on the Business Queensland website to learn more and find out how you can implement them.

Use the Healthy choice catering guide from WorkSafe’s Health and wellbeing resources page to encourage better food choices at work.

Build an inclusive and healthy workplace culture that encourages employee wellbeing (physically, psychologically, socially and occupationally).

Review your agency’s Working for Queensland survey results. This may provide some insights into your current work culture and its impact on wellbeing. Engage employees in work health and safety

Engage employees in work health and safety

Involve employees in decisions about health and safety matters by encouraging consultation, representation and participation in your workplace.

If your agency does not already have one, implement a health and safety representative or committee to give employees a voice in health and safety matters in the workplace, and to help resolve issues early.

Read the Work health and safety consultation, cooperation and coordination Code of Practice 2021 for examples to help you achieve legal standards set out in the  Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2021.

Encourage a mentally healthy workplace

Read Creating mentally healthy workplaces: healthy minds (PDF, 111 KB) . Understand our approach to creating mentally healthy workplaces and find out how you can help.

If your agency doesn’t have a workplace mental health strategy, consider implementing one. It will help you to eliminate or manage risks to psychological safety at work and promote good mental health and wellbeing. The strategy should outline your plan to create a mentally healthy workplace through protection, promotion and support for those recovering from illness and injury.

Use these resources to help you with your strategy:

Promote mental health and wellbeing

Build a positive and healthy workplace culture that is inclusive, destigmatises mental health problems and encourages employees to seek help. See WorkSafe’s Mentally healthy workplace toolkit and Comcare’s Mental health stigma in your workplace for help.

Participate in events like Mental Health Week and RU OK? Day. Encourage managers to use the Employee wellbeing check-in tool for leaders and managers (PDF, 407 KB) .

Support employees with a mental health condition to stay or return to work. Provide manager training on how to support employees recovering from a mental illness and stressful life events.

Consider implementing additional mental health and wellbeing programs to help address mental health issues proactively. Find the programs that are right for your agency.

Mental health first aid program

Mental health first aid officers can offer practical first aid skills to help employees experiencing mental health problems. Visit Mental Health First Aid Australia or email mhfa@mhfa.com.au to organise workplace training.

Psychological first aid program

Psychological first aid officers can help support people affected by an emergency, disaster or traumatic event. Visit Psychological First Aid: A guide to supporting people affected by disaster or email contactus@redcross.org.au to organise workplace training.

Psychological wellbeing and resilience program

The Queensland Government has standing offer arrangements with providers (SOA QGP0048-18) who can create tailored psychological wellbeing and resilience programs to help your employees be at their best at home and in the workplace.

Early intervention program

Minimise the impact and duration of emerging symptoms of ill health. An early intervention program offers early and appropriate clinical and self-management treatment and support to employees experiencing emerging symptoms. Visit Comcare’ Early intervention service pilot project page for more.

Peer support program

Peer supporters are trained and qualified employees who champion workplace wellbeing initiatives, act as a referral point and provide basic support and mental health first aid for peers.

Use these resources to help you establish your peer support program:

When you set up your program, recruit peer supporters that can help with your agency’s specific needs. Ensure your peer supporters are well trained and looked after.

Suicide prevention program

Build knowledge, understanding, and the confidence in your agency to support employees in suicidal distress. Reach out to your EAP provider or see either:

Design roles, work tasks, workloads and systems with wellbeing in mind. The Workload management guide for employees (PDF, 150 KB) can assist with this.

Visit WorkSafe’s Creating safe work page for help understanding your responsibilities, good work design, managing risks, and best practice safety reporting.

Encourage your managers to use the Workload management guide (PDF, 213 KB) for help designing work practices that promote wellbeing, work-life balance and prevent harm.

Implement flexible working arrangements that support work-life balance and wellbeing.

Identify and reduce psychosocial hazards in your workplace. Understand the risks and how to manage them when it comes to work-related bullying, sexual harassment, work demands, fatigue, and occupational violence.

Make reasonable work or role adjustments for employees:

Visit Working after illness or injury to find out how Queensland Shared Services (QSS) can help you support employees remaining in, or returning to, work after illness, injury and Work Cover claims. If your agency does not use QSS as a service provider, see your intranet or speak to your HR team.