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A manager is not a separate duty holder under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, however , you have other important roles, such as:

  1. You have a duty as a worker.
  2. You may have a duty as an officer if you are a senior manager.
  3. You are one of the key enablers to assist the Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) to meet the primary duty of care.
Potential Harm

Top risks:

  • musculoskeletal disorders
  • Stress

What can I do? (for myself )

  • Lead by example on health and safety. Reinforce expected behaviours
  • Understand work tasks and expectations
  • Be familiar with your organisations policies and procedures
  • Discuss with your manager/supervisor if you are unclear of any task
  • consider reprioritising work or renegotiating due dates
  • look after your own health by eating a balanced diet, drinking enough fluids and getting some exercise.
  • Take your allocated breaks.
  • Take your annual leave
  • Understand risk management principles

What can I do? (for my team)

  • Understand your duty of care as a manager to your workers and how that may translate into action.
  • Monitor workloads of your workers and help them to readjust or reprioritise trying to make sure each has a balanced workload for their skill capacity
  • Encourage them to take regular breaks
  • Lead by example. If workers see you working through lunch, eating your lunch at your desk staying late or taking work home they will think that is the expected behaviour and follow suit.
  • Understand the sources of risk to your workers in the work they do. Identify them and take corrective actions to remove or reduce them
  • If health and safety issues are brought to your attention aim to resolve them ASAP.
  • Support staff who are injured
  • Consult with workers using effective open communication. Workplaces where employers and employees regularly discuss and act upon safety issues are safer workplaces.

What can my employer do?

The standard a manager accepts and displays is often the standard that their workers will follow and mirror. A manager who turns a blind eye to, or encourages short cuts in work practices, does not convey to their workers that they are committed to safe work practices.

  • Put systems and procedures in place that enables safe work practices.
  • Verify compliance with procedures and other work practices.
  • Monitor workloads so peaks and troughs can be effectively resourced and managed.
  • Offer flexible working arrangements such as working from home or offsite.
  • Provide access to support services for managers (such as a manager assistance program).
  • Set reasonable and attainable key performance indicators for managers and their teams.

If people do prefer to work at 2am and they are sending emails to other colleagues then it may be worth including in the mail footer, something along the lines of ‘this is a flexible workforce and workers can choose to work at any time that suits their circumstances’.