World Day for Health & Safety at Work
The World Day for Health and Safety at Work is celebrated annually on 28 April to promote the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases globally. It is an awareness-raising campaign to focus international attention on the extent of work-related injuries, diseases and fatalities around the world and to highlight ways in which our workplaces can be made safer for everyone.
WorkSafe NZ's health and safety campaign inspires us to listen to our inner Meerkat. Meerkatting is to stay risk-aware and look out for your teammates in the workplace.
For more WorkSafe resources - go to www.meerkats.worksafe.govt.nz
2021 World Health & Safety Theme: Anticipate, Prepare and Respond to crises.
Our approach to health and safety has changed over the last year, and the COVID-19 pandemic has increased our awareness and proactivity around looking after our personal safety. Whether it was the diligent use of hand sanitiser, wearing a mask, getting groceries for an elderly or immunocompromised friend, or minding the physical spacing between us and another person, we all found ourselves invested in taking precautionary measures.
While the threat of a highly contagious virus is real, our risk of injury and or being involved in an accident in the workplace every day is also very real. Whether it is contracting an illness or disease from your colleagues, developing back pain or repetitive strain from a poorly set up work station, or tripping over a hazard, these can all be prevented by taking a proactive approach to protecting your own personal health and safety.
Building Resilient Systems and People
One thing we have been learning throughout this COVID-19 pandemic is that we need an agile and adaptable approach to all areas of our lives. Do your best to be aware of the latest research and findings and know what the current risks are physically and psychologically so you can mitigate them.
The physical aspects of the pandemic are really visible with supply shortages and economic stress, fear of illness, disruption of routines and there is real grief in all of that. Some of the mental health issues professionals anticipate coming to the forefront in 2021 are:
- Burnout and sedentism
- Sleep disturbances and disorders
- Eating disorders and substance abuse disorders
- Work-related economic stress
Understand Your Own Potential Risks
We all have a role to play to protect our personal health and safety and that of those around us. Workplace accidents and injuries can be incredibly debilitating and can impact all areas of your life. To help you understand the risks and potential implications of an injury at work, take a moment to think about the following:
- Within your usual work environment, what are the top three greatest safety concerns for you and your colleagues? (e.g. falling downstairs, tripping over cables, or a repetitive strain)
- What are the three biggest negative consequences to you personally if you were unable to come to work? (eg. unable to earn an income to support your family, ability to enjoy an upcoming holiday, being able to participate in your favourite sports or hobbies)
Take responsibility for your own safety and you’ll improve the safety of those around you. Identifying hazards is essentially anything that is a potential source of harm to any person. Reducing the risk of exposure to something hazardous first involves recognising a hazard.
Read this Spot the Hazard handout for some tips on how to identify hazards in your workplace that you may have never noticed or have become used to. If you do identify a potential hazard, raise this with your manager and get it sorted. Your workmates will thank you for it.
Take Care of Yourself
The best thing you can do to support your own health and safety is to practice our 10 Healthy Habits to ensure you are bringing your 'A-game' to work every day.
- Reduce fake foods
- Eat real food
- Move slowly lots
- Move quickly once in a while
- Get strong
- Get adequate sleep
- Get adequate sunlight
- Manage your thinking
- Engage yourself
The 10 Healthy Habits is a programme on the online Accuro Health Hub to help you to take care of yourself. It is free to access for all Accuro members and advisers.
Think about how much more productive at work you are when you have had a great night's sleep, you have eaten a nutritious breakfast, and have had some water. You've walked or biked to work, getting some sunlight along the way, and plan on taking regular breaks to incorporate movement every hour or two.
All of these small steps help you combat fatigue, confusion, stress, or anxiety and just make you a better human to have around. Taking steps to manage your thinking will also help you avoid stress, and help you feel more fulfilled, so you're more focused on the job. When you are more focused on the job you are in a better position to avoid any workplace hazards or any stress-related ill health.
This month we challenge you to complete a task that supports World Health & Safety Day at Work Day. You can select from the tasks listed below or come up with your own.
- Organising a morning or afternoon tea to discuss health and safety with your work colleagues.
- Attending a workers’ memorial event in your local area.
- Having a safety expert give a talk at your workplace.
- Take some time to care for your own mental health and wellbeing by going for a walk in nature and do some mindful breathing.
- Journal or share how you're feeling with a trusted friend or family member.
- Schedule in something that brings you joy and alleviates feelings of stress (painting, singing, creating, decluttering, etc).
- Prioritise your own sleep and practice mindfulness.
- Take a break - Swap out a regular desk meeting with a sneaker meeting