How you could Manage Mental Health Safety

In 2005 a National Safe Work Australia Week was first established as a dedicated week for increasing awareness of work health and safety, and in 2013 it was extended to a month.

National Safe Work Month continues to lead in raising community awareness and knowledge of work health and safety across Australia. [1]


During October every year, workers and employers all over Australia devote themselves to safe and healthy workplaces for all Australians.


Being healthy and safe means that you are free from physical and psychological harm. Every workplace has a duty of care to ensure their team’s safety.


This year theme for National Safe Work Month is “think safe. Work safe. be safe.”


Think safe—is the first step to thinking about work health and safety, which covers the planning and forethought that Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBUs) (such as employers and small business owners) must do to identify risks maintain healthy and safe workplaces.


Work safe—is about implementing work health and safety measures to manage risks, including the practical steps you can take to reduce risk and avoid workplace incidents.


Be safe—considering the ongoing managing and monitoring of work health and safety risks – it is not a one-off. [2]


The focus of this Safe Work Month is about safety in construction and mental health.

Mental Health Week 2021

Mental Health Week is recognised all around Australia, celebrated annually in October, with each state and territory adopting its theme and holding its events each year.

The events of recent times have brought the social determinants of mental health into sharp focus across all our communities. It’s essential to take this opportunity of community awareness to get attention to the need to protect people’s social factors of mental health during and after the COVID-19 crisis has passed.

In building supportive communities, we must take a holistic look at mental health, share ideas, and learn through everyday activities. The Mental Health Week promotes the importance of mental health and well-being and aims to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. [3] Building a mentally healthy workplace makes good business sense. It is also a legislative requirement to identify and control any exposure to psychosocial risks and hazards.

A mentally healthy workplace is one that:

  • develops workplace practices that support positive mental health.

  • Removes and minimises psychological health and safety risks through the identification and assessment of psychosocial hazards.

  • Improve the knowledge, skills and capabilities of workers to be resilient and thrive at work.

  • Proactively creates a stigma-free culture

  • supports the recovery of workers returning after a physical or psychological injury from work. [4]

What is Mental health safety in the workplace?

Mental health, just like physical health, is an essential part of workplace health and safety (WHS).

About 1 in 6 workers experience mental ill-health at any given time, so chances are some of your workers are experiencing mental ill-health.


Many factors contribute to poor workplace mental health. Different industries, types of work and work locations have various risks. The COVID-19 pandemic leads to many changes to work, creating new risks and raised issues, such as workplace stress, bullying and violence. This includes threats and abuse from clients and members of the public as well as from other workers. Employers have legal responsibilities to manage these workplace risks.

Some suggestions on how to manage the risk in the workplace? Here are the steps a business can take to address the risk of workplace stress and violence:

  • Identify situations that may increase workplace stress or cause violence, such as the enforcement of new COVID-19 requirements like physical distancing, logging attendance and increased waiting times.

  • preventing the risk by implementing activities such as ensuring clear signage for customers to manage their expectations or physical distance guides and creating clear pathways

  • providing training and support to workers in managing stressful or violent situations, what to do if they are triggered, and how to report them.

  • Consult with the team on the newly implemented measures

  • Responding to incidents by providing support, such as asking aggressors to leave the premises and immediately connecting workers to professional help. Then follow your workplace’s procedures on incident and management investigation.

When risks are managed, everyone benefits. It encourages employee engagement and productivity, attracting and keeping great workers. They are less likely to take sick days or leave, saving the business money while building a great culture.


Mentally healthy workplaces provide workers with many benefits such as confidence, belongingness, financial security, a sense of purpose, achievement, and social connection. [5]

It’s an excellent opportunity to support and implement the goal of this month’s celebration to improve your team’s awareness of safe work and mental health in building a safe, healthy workplace. What does a Mentally Healthy Workplace look like for you and your team?

Suppose you would like to know how to make a positive impact within your business. To improve your team’s mental well-being that’s tailor-made to your team and progress you can test and measure, contact us today on 1300 114 818 for a private and confidential conversation or email us at info@proactiveaction.co. We look forward to talking to you soon.

Sources:

1. https://www.safetydimensions.com.au/october-is-national-safe-work-month/

2. https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/national-safe-work-month

3. https://auspire.org.au/event/2021-mental-health-week/

4. https://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/advice-and-resources/campaigns/Safe-Work-Month

5. https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/resources/campaigns/mental-health-week