We share 5 steps on how Queensland public sector leaders can boost healthier and safer workplaces.

Safe Work Month is a great time as a leader to pause and think about how you can boost healthier and safer workplaces. Why?… because leaders have a vital role to play when it comes to managing health and safety. When people see and believe their managers are committed to health and safety, they are more likely to not only be motivated to follow suit but raise issues. This in turn supports prevention, which is what workplace health and safety is really all about.

So, while everyone is responsible for safety in our workplaces, as leaders, you have an important role in setting health, safety and wellbeing as important work goals. Top tips to getting it right?

  1. Demonstrate care and compassion. Thinking, working and being safe ultimately means showing care and compassion for others. Creating a culture of care and embedding discussions into ‘the way things are done around here’. Having a cuppa tea and engaging in discussions about the ways your team can create a healthier and safer workplace is a great place to start.

  2. Identify risks. To make real change, you'll need to know what risks are impacting on your team's health and safety. Remember this is as true for psychological safety as it is for physical safety.

    The Public Service Commission (PSC) has resources available to support agencies in using the 2021 Working for Queensland survey data to identify opportunities to drive positive workplace improvements, creating a Queensland public sector for all, where everyone feels safe, respected and included. This includes the wellbeing dashboard, which looks at factors in the workplace, at various levels, that may be impacting on people thriving and being their best. Talk to your agency’s HR unit or WfQ agency coordinator for more information.

    If the dashboard results highlight cause for concern, then you can always do a deeper dive by using People at Work – Australia's own free evidenced-based psychological safety risk assessment. This can help provide more targeted feedback about psychological health and safety in the workplace and pinpoint actions to improve.

  3. Manage the risks. When it all boils down to it, your job is ultimately to manage the risks to workers. How you go about doing this is KEY. Involving your workers in decisions, encouraging and valuing their participation is critical. Worker engagement is not only a legal requirement is a sure-fire way to develop a great workplace culture.

  4. Keep learning. The best leaders never stop learning. When it comes to safety leadership, learning from others can be a sure track to success. Workplace Health Safety Queensland (WHSQ) have a free safety leadership program that can put you in touch with the latest thinking or a safety fundamentals toolkit.

    You can also top up your knowledge by accessing free online Safe Work Month resources compiled by WHSQ. This may just give you the insights you were looking for to make your workplace psychologically safer.

  5. Get support and advice. Looking for someone to reach out to and provide support? Your workplace health and safety representative and human resource practitioners are a valuable source of information and support on your safety leadership journey.

Visit the WHSQ website for more information.