State Government agencies and their executive teams have responsibilities for managing their human resources, including workplace safety and health.
They must comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1984 and Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981, and related legislation.
A committed leadership is key to promoting workplace safety and health matters, and achieving improvements in performance and injury management.
Leaders play a critical role in positively influencing workplace culture, management practices, and the experiences of their workforce.
They should encourage and support effective consultation to improve safety and health outcomes in their workplaces. Visible involvement by the leadership signals the importance of being safe and healthy at work, and encourages workers to engage in positive practices.
All public sector leaders are expected to make a public commitment by outlining the actions their agency is taking to promote and support workplace safety and health.
Key dates such as World Day for Safety and Health at Work and Workers’ Memorial Day in April, and National Work Safe Month in October, can be used to reiterate the agency’s commitment and promote workplace safety and health activities.
A sample statement of commitment is now available to assist in creating a new commitment statement or refreshing an already existing one.
Listed below are some useful resources on the importance of agency leaders leading the safety and health culture:
- Leadership and Culture - Safe Work Australia
- Safety Leadership at Work - WorkCover Queensland
- Responsibilities of agency heads in promoting safety and health culture - Comcare
- CEO/Agency Head - Leadership, health and safety culture – Comcare
- Government leaders, safety leaders - Safe Work Australia and Comcare
- Safe and Sound Discussion Paper - Safe Work Australia and Comcare
- Leading Well: The role of leadership in improving the prevention and management of psychological injury - New South Wales: Department of the Premier and Cabinet
- Working Together: Public Sector Workplace Health and Safety and Injury Management Strategy 2010-2012 - New South Wales Government
- Leading the way- Improving health, safety and return to work in government workplaces - WorkSafe, Victoria
- Zero Harm at Work Leadership Program - WorkCover Queensland
- Leading Health and Safety at Work - Health and Safety Executive, United Kingdom