Under section 19(1) of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth) (the WHS Act), a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) must ensure the health and safety of workers at work in the business or undertaking, so far as is reasonably practicable. Additionally, section 19(2) requires PCBUs to ensure that the health and safety of other persons is not put at risk from work carried out as part of the conduct of the business or undertaking, so far as is reasonably practicable.
‘Health’ is defined under the WHS Act to mean physical and psychological health.
The employer’s duty of care includes providing:
- a physical and psychosocial work environment without risks to health and safety
- safe systems of work
- information, training, instruction or supervision necessary to protect all persons from risks to their health and safety.
- monitor the health of workers and conditions at the workplace to prevent illness or injury
It’s the right thing to do
The workplace plays an important part in combating the rise in chronic disease, promoting participation in employment, and preventing needless disability. The workplace can affect the physical, mental, economic and social wellbeing of workers and therefore offers opportunities to improve worker health.
To realise the health benefits of work and accelerate the prevention of chronic disease, workplaces need to extend their agenda to include health and wellbeing.
It’s the smart thing to do
Good work is good for you. Strong evidence shows that good worker health and wellbeing boosts organisational health and business performance.
Chronic disease negatively affects worker productivity and workplaces bear a number of associated costs. Health and wellbeing programs can improve performance and productivity and reduce indirect costs from:
- staff turnover
- workers’ compensation
- disability and early retirement.
Other advantages of investment in health and wellbeing include improved workplace culture, attraction of talented workers and improved organisational image.
Healthy and safe workplaces have a future because they are resilient in the face of change and adversity. They contribute to prosperity and a sustainable economy will create new opportunities.
Businesses that protect worker health are among the most successful over time.