Safe Work Month
We’re focusing on work health and safety through COVID-19 in October.
Comcare recognises that 2020 has been an unprecedented year for workplaces nationally and around the globe.
In support of National Safe Work Month, our activities aim to support employers and workers as they navigate the impacts of COVID-19 on the Australian workforce. We have seen how workplaces have adapted and updated policies to reduce work health and safety risks due to COVID-19 and even seen entire workplaces shifting to a working from home or remote work set up.
2020 has required both employers and workers to adapt very quickly – and that has come with work health and safety challenges. On this page you can find resources, guidance and information to help navigate work during a pandemic.
Work health and safety through COVID-19
The theme for National Safe Work Month 2020 is Work health and safety through COVID-19.
We know that a positive safety culture at work is one where everyone accepts personal responsibility for ensuring their health and safety and that of others. This month we are encouraging everyone to focus on work health and safety through COVID-19.
Comcare hosted a series of webinars as part of our Safe Work Month activities to support 2020’s theme: Work Health and Safety through COVID-19.
Mentally health workplaces
A COVID-19 safe and healthy workplace
As some workplaces around Australia have transitioned their workers back to the usual workplace, it is important to maintain a COVID-safe and healthy workplace – this includes physical distancing and personal hygiene during a pandemic.
Our practical resources can help you maintain a safe and healthy workplace during COVID-19.
You can also view the resources tab below for all our COVID-19 factsheets and guidance, that cover topics including transition plans, mental health and wellbeing and maintaining a COVID-safe workplace.
Work health and safety is you
Managing risk and maintaining health and safety in the workplace is essential.
Employees and other workers also play an important role in helping keep the workplace safe and setting the workplace health and safety standards. Practical strategies such as effective communication and consultation can achieve a strong health and safety culture, while minimising injury and illness in the workplace.
- Work Health and Safety Management Plan (PDF, 508.6 KB) can be used to form the basis, or inform, your work health and safety management system.
- Writing a Health and Safety Policy – guidelines to writing a work health and safety policy, prepared by Health and Safety Executive UK though laws mentioned do not relate to Australia.
We also have the Office Safety tool to help you identify health and safety risks in your work or home office. There’s also some useful information on managing risks in the workplace to support your commitment to workplace safety.
Leadership in work health and safety
Management attitude, behaviour and style can have a very powerful effect on workforce health and safety.
Specific qualities and attributes that signal leadership commitment and contribute to a good health and safety culture include:
- Trust – important for many organisational variables such as quality of communication, performance and co-operation.
- Communication style – communication between workers and management demonstrate a concern for safety and provide opportunities for early recognition of hazards.
- Involvement – includes making a personal contribution to work health and safety consultation and frequent contact between workers, management and supervisors.
- Inclusive management – people work more safely when they are involved in the decision-making process, have specific and reasonable responsibilities and have immediate feedback about their work.
- Locus of control – the degree that control over work organisation and task structure is centralised is an important consideration in the culture of safety.
- Investment in work health and safety promotion – Investment in these areas has been found to foster perceptions of organisational commitment and build worker loyalty in areas such as safety behaviour.
As senior leaders in the workplace can positively influence those in the organisation, we have a list of strategies that can help them perform their obligations and duties under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. This includes:
- Promoting wellbeing and intervening early
- Building a strong health and safety culture
- Effective leadership style
- Supporting workers during times of change.
Fact sheets and infographics
- Maintain a COVID-safe workplace poster (PDF, 374.8 KB)
- How to safely wear a face covering poster (PDF, 615.2 KB)
- Striking the balance with flexible working factsheet (PDF, 724.2 KB)
- Practical guide for call centres factsheet (PDF, 510.2 KB)
- Five important ways managers are talking with teams infographic (PDF, 579.7 KB)
- Guidance for parents and carers factsheet (PDF, 536.4 KB)
- Responding to uncertainty factsheet (PDF, 519.8 KB)
- Supporting others in times of uncertainty factsheet (PDF, 523.8 KB)
- The Importance of physical health factsheet (PDF, 539.1 KB)
- Working from home checklist (PDF, 556.2 KB)
- Working from home guide for employers (PDF, 807.3 KB)
- Working from home guide for employees (PDF, 1.3 MB).
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) detailing guidance and resources on COVID-19 and work health and safety
- Work Health and Safety Act – detailing our role under the Work Health and Safety Act and Regulations, regulatory guides and Codes of Practice
- Psychosocial hazards – detailing psychosocial hazards and mental health and wellbeing in the workplace
- The Evidence of Positive Change Management – a video and transcript of a presentation given by Kirsten Way, Australian Catholic University, at Comcare's Mental Health Community of Practice held in November 2018.
- Office Safety tool to help you identify health and safety risks in your work or home office.
- Employees and other workers – communication and consultation are vital to building a strong health and safety culture and minimising injury and illness in the workplace
- Effective leadership style and attitude - management attitude, behaviour and style can have a very powerful effect on workforce health and safety
- Senior managers and executives – practical strategies to promote a safe workplace.
COVID-19, safety systems and safety culture
Comcare presented this webinar on 28 October 2020, which discussed COVID-19, safety systems and emerging trends and risks.
Watch the webinar
- Comcare’s Coronavirus webpage has information and resources.
- Information on the role of PCBUs
- Comcare’s Micro Learn and printable posters on the use of face masks
- Work health and safety management systems
- National WSH Audit Tool audit report (PDF, 292.6 KB)
- National Self Insurer WHS Audit Tool user workbook (PDF, 370.6 KB)
- National Self Insurer WHS Audit Tool user guide (PDF, 730.4 KB).
Safe Work Australia
COVID-19, our work, mental health and wellbeing
Co-presented by Comcare, Beyond Blue and Future of Work Institute on 14 October 2020. This webinar explored some of the impacts of COVID-19 on the nature of our work, mental health and wellbeing.
Watch the webinar
- Comcare’s COVID Guidance and resources
- Comcare’s Mentally Healthy Workplaces page
- Comcare’s Learning Management System (LMS)
- Information on Lead Indicator Mentoring Program
- Information on NewAccess Workplaces.
- Comcare Psychosocial hazards - Preventing psychological injury at work.
- Beyond Blue website
- Heads Up website
- Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service
- Beyond Blue: ‘Developing a workplace mental health strategy’
- Safe Work Australia: Work-related psychological health and safety: A systematic approach to meeting your duties
- Tracking outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic (August 2020) – Divergence within Australia
- Thrive at Work Toolkit
- Beyond Blue Wellbeing Plan template
- Beyond Blue online training
- Beyond Blue resources catalogue.
Future of Work Institute
- Curtin University Future of Work Institute
- Centre of Transformative Work Design – Thrive at Work at Home Study
- Centre of Transformative Work Design – About Work Design
- Centre of Transformative Work Design SMART Work Design Resources – SMART Work Design
- The Future of Work Institute’s Thrive at Work Initiative and Wellbeing Strategy Resources - Thrive at Work.
Accelerated workplace change in the face of COVID-19
Co-presented by Comcare and Safe Work Australia, this webinar explored the rapid and large-scale changes that workplaces of different sizes and across various industries have undertaken in the face of COVID-19.
Watch the webinar
This webinar was recorded on 8 October. The post-webinar survey for participants is now closed. If you have more feedback, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other useful resources
- Safe Work Australia develops national policy relating to work health and safety and workers’ compensation. They also organise the National Safe Work Month every year and have comprehensive information including Safe Work Australia's leadership and culture information
- Heads Up – an initiative by the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance
- World Health Organization – the directing and coordinating authority on international health within the United Nations system; the organisations of WMHD
- Work Safe Queensland – tools and resources to help build a strong safety culture in your workplace
- Safe Work NSW – information on leadership and commitment, including demonstrating leadership and consultation.