National Safe Work Month, held each October, raises awareness of work health and safety across industry.

Individuals, their families and the broader community are all impacted by work-related injury and illness. Almost 200 people in Australia die while doing their job and over 100,000 people make a workers’ compensation claim for serious injury or illness.

These numbers show that there is still more work to do. No job should be unsafe and no death or injury is acceptable. Being healthy and safe means not only being free from physical harm but also psychological harm - this means a workplace free from bullying. A safe and healthy workplace benefits everyone. Together we can make a difference.

This is why, during October each year, we ask businesses, employers and workers to join National Safe Work Month and commit to building safe and healthy workplaces.

2021 Organise your own workplace activity competition winners

SafeWork SA’s 2021 ‘Organise Your Own Workplace Activity’ competition ignited an impressive range of creative activities that promoted and highlighted the importance of WHS in the workplace.

Six businesses were recognised for their workplace safety initiatives held during National Safe Work Month. 2021's competition was the closest and fiercely contested to date.

Assessment of all registered events looked at originality of idea, relevance to health and safety to their industry, promotion of events, and workplace engagement.

Gold award for Yadu Health

Yadu Health held multiple activities throughout the month. As an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation with mostly Aboriginal employee, Yadu were driven to enter the National Safe Work Month competition this year because of the enormous impact COVID-19 has continually had on the way they work and on the local community members.

Their program included:

  • COVID-19 Vaccinations offered for all staff.
  • Skin cancer checks offered for all staff.
  • Health checks for all staff.
  • Awareness, training and education workshops.
  • Needle stick injury awareness.
  • Calming music and dreaming art with mindfulness and the importance of mental health.
  • Supplied hand stress balls to each of the employees.
  • 8-week gym training program with personal trainer including healthy eating choices education.

Kingston District Council held several activities focusing on psychological & physical safety within the workplace including:

  • ‘Finding the Positives’ seminar - where employees identified & challenge their self-beliefs, build trust & nourish relationships.
  • Guided stretching session.
  • 20 Question Work Health & Safety Quiz to refresh workers on vital safety awareness.
  • A series of ‘minute to win it’ challenges & team activities.
  • A voucher for the winning team to enjoy a team lunch together.
  • A healthy take home snack pack.

IKEA set a high standard with their gold award winning activity in 2020. This year, they were back with another outstanding month-long program which focused on different areas of WHS in their workplace, including:

  • First Aid - first aid demos, releasing an industry new first aid backpack with DEFIB.
  • Mental Health - Benestar support services onsite with material on services. A free healthy breakfast for co-workers. Mindfulness activities in chill out zones with drawing activities and stress free calming music.
  • PPE - delivering 185 ‘Safety Showbags’ containing relevant PPE, hand sanitizer and a chocolate block to all staff.
  • Manual Handling - videos were created on lifting and pulling techniques. Also have the winner of the incident form writing competition using the Olaf Frozen characters.
  • Safety Data Sheet (SDS) – setting up stations for dealing with chemicals in the workplace. A central point to get all the information required when handling, PPE, disposing, or treating first aid.
  • Lockout & Tag out training - stations with a safe work practice document, educating the workplace on why, how, and when to tag or lock out a piece of equipment or plant. Creating multiple locations around the store for easy access.

Silver award for South Australia Native Titles Services

South Australian Native Title Services held a ‘Crime Scene Investigation’.

Staff had to solve several cases based on mock 'crime scene photos'. Instead of solving a murder, they had to identify the hazard that caused the injury, the level of risk and what controls could be put in place in the future. Some of these were based on true workplace accidents and injuries.

South Australian Native Title Services also promoted indigenous themed masks designed by indigenous artists to encourage safe COVID 19 practices at work.

Spotless at the Royal Adelaide Hospital encouraged their services lines to launch an initiative within their workgroups:

  • Maintenance – hosted events on mental health awareness, suicide prevention, wellbeing and team building.
  • Patient Support Services – focussed on manual handling hazards and mental risk assessments
  • Retail – hosted a demonstration in the workplace focussing on PPE and its importance in reducing the risk of injuries in their fast paced environment.

They also decorated their working areas with promotional materials, changed the screensavers on all computers and provided over 700 staff with cupcakes with the National Safe Work Month logo with the intent of highlighting the importance of safety in the workplace, fostering safety related discussions and bringing awareness to NSWM.

Timberlink Australia delivered a hands and fingers safety focus which is a major safety issue in their line of work. Creating and promoting the theme ‘Safety is in my hand’, their activity included education, awareness and understanding for hand protection including.

They also held a competition where all workers were encouraged to provide the best hazard reduction initiative that will improve hand and fingers safety.