Exercise helps prevent depression

A study led by the Black Dog Institute has revealed that regular exercise of any intensity can prevent future depression – and just one hour can help.

The results show even small amounts of exercise can protect against depression, with mental health benefits seen regardless of age or gender.

The study involved more than 30,000 adults who had their levels of exercise and symptoms of depression and anxiety monitored over 11 years.

The study found that 12 per cent of cases of depression could have been prevented if participants undertook just one hour of physical activity each week.

According to an Australian health survey, 20 per cent of Australian adults do not undertake any regular physical activity, and more than a third spend less than 1.5 hours per week being physically active.

At the same time, around 1 million Australians have depression, with one in five Australians aged 16-85 experiencing a mental illness in any year.

To improve your physical and mental wellbeing through exercise, see the institute’s Exercise your Mood campaign.

Centre for Work Health and Safety

The Centre for Work Health and Safety opened its doors for business in December last year.

Comprising experts in the fields of research, insights and analytics, science outreach and business, the Centre leverages data and evidence to create awareness, suggest smarter approaches and bring about behaviour change in work health and safety.

The team doesn’t do this alone – a key approach of the Centre is co-designing its research with industry, workers, government, academia and regulators to uncover insights that:

  • ensure the research is practical and useful for the end user
    generate and disseminate new knowledge about work health and safety risks and controls
  • quickly translate research findings and knowledge into practice and innovative harm prevention interventions
  • identify, pose and tackle important questions around current and emerging work health and safety risks.

Since its launch, the Centre has been hard at work defining its research focus. In March, the Centre released its Research Blueprint, which spells out its research strategy to 2022. This strategy is aligned to the targets and priority areas identified in the Work Health and Safety Roadmap for NSW 2022.

The Centre has also started its first round of research projects. These include looking at effective engagement between workers, industry and regulators; what work health means to NSW workers; and drawing on evidence to inform best practice regulation.

For more information on the Centre for Work Health and Safety, visit centreforwhs.nsw.gov.au or join the conversation on social media @centreforWHS

Take a nap. Eat a snack.

There are more than 1.4 million shift workers in Australia and the chance of them falling asleep at work is 60 per cent greater than those who work during the day.

Naps can help improve alertness. Many shift workers nap before and during their shift, and often before driving home in the morning.

Generally, when shift workers are sleepy, they turn to food for comfort. Tests have shown that those who eat a large meal during their night shift feel sleepier than those who don’t eat at all. The best advice is to eat a snack and avoid large meals.

Read the full article.

Safety starts with you

Everyone has a responsibility when it comes safety in their workplace, but sometimes they just need to be reminded.

Last year, our ‘Safety starts with you’ campaign reached more than 3.3 million people on social media, attracted more than 1.2 million to our YouTube videos, and saw more than 78,000 visits to our campaign website.

Building on this momentum, we’re excited to launch the second year of the campaign.

The campaign reinforces the six-year strategy outlined in our roadmap, entrenching the idea that health and safety in the workplace is the responsibility of all of us.

By highlighting the harms and high risks prevalent in NSW workplaces, the campaign is a stark reminder to employers and workers about the importance of having safety conversations.

Visit the campaign website – and access the free resources in the ‘Free stuff’ section.

Managing hazardous chemicals

Exposure to chemicals is 100 per cent preventable. Without the proper controls, they can cause cancer, respiratory illnesses, skin and eye irritations, and fire and explosion-related injuries.

There are literally thousands of hazardous chemicals used in the workplace – paints, pesticides, cleaners and fuels, to name a few. They come in various forms – powders, solids, liquids and gases.

You must manage health and safety risks when storing, handling or using hazardous chemicals at a workplace by using the hierarchy of controls.

This video demonstrates what to consider when applying the hierarchy and how to go about choosing the appropriate controls.

You should review your chemical management strategies and use controls higher in the hierarchy in combination with lower level controls for the greatest effect.

You should also ensure that your workers receive training and supervision and consider the risks associated with storage, handling and disposal.

Through the implementation of the Hazardous chemicals and materials exposures baseline reduction strategy, the level and impact of workplace exposures to hazardous chemicals will be identified and reduced.

A priority list of 100 chemicals, based on national and international research has been developed, in which formaldehyde and crystalline silica rank first and second.

Read the codes of practice for more information on how to manage work health and safety risks and managing risks of hazardous chemicals in the workplace.

Jason’s story: A young life lost

Jason Garrels was just 20 years old when he died at a construction site in 2012. He had only been working there for nine days and his death was preventable.

In this video, produced by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, Jason’s family and friends share their experiences to raise awareness about the importance of workplace safety, the need for effective communication between subcontractors on construction sites, and appropriate supervision and supportive mentoring for young workers.

It also brings to attention the importance of housekeeping in preventing incidents, and allowing emergency access to sites if an incident does occur.

Statistics show how vulnerable children and young people are in the workplace. They can be oblivious to hazards in their surroundings, are often unaware of their rights and responsibilities, and may not be confident to speak up about safety concerns.

On 28 April each year, countries around the world pause to commemorate workers who have died as a result of a workplace incident or occupational disease.

Each year, Unions NSW and SafeWork NSW hold a service on the day to honour and remember those who lost their life at work.

At the service, families are invited to add ‘memory cards’ and flowers to the Memory Lines sculpture in honour of their loved ones.

We encourage employers and workers across the state to take time on International Day of Mourning to think about the significance of work health and safety and how workplace incidents can affect those around them.

For more information about young workers, visit our website.

Best Individual Contribution to Workplace Health and Safety (WHS manager) winner

Glenn Stewart, Work Health and Safety Manager for Calvary Healthcare, is another proud 2017 award winner.

Glenn joined Calvary, a non-for-profit health organisation, in 2011. With more than 12,000 staff and volunteers, Calvary operates 15 public and private hospitals, 15 retirement and aged care facilities, and a national network of community care centres.

No sooner had he joined Calvary, Glenn set out to develop a group workplace health and safety strategy from the ground up – there was no safety system in place. A significant challenge was the geographical spread of the organisation, so he developed an intranet site that provided a single platform for all health and safety resources. He introduced online forums and discussion boards, audit tools, fact sheets, procedures and manuals.

Glenn also implemented a national safety excellence award program that recognised individuals and teams, a monthly safety scorecard, and a national management review process. He was particularly conscious of the need to engage with workers, health and safety representatives, committees and senior management.

Glenn’s initiatives have been a catalyst for other system and technological changes throughout the organisation. These same initiatives have also resulted in the frequency rate of lost time injuries falling from 60 to three since 2011.

Registrations for the 2018 awards are now open.