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Large Queensland employers should lead with health and wellbeing programs, says WHSQ

Large Queensland employers should take a leadership role in establishing more health and wellbeing programs in the workplace, including programs to reduce obesity, smoking, heavy drinking, unsafe sun exposure and work-related psychosocial injuries.

Dr Simon Blackwood, Executive Director of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ), yesterday told a Brisbane conference that large companies were well placed to develop, implement and evaluate health and wellbeing programs due to their greater resources.

Programs can range from individual health checks, skin checks and counselling to organisational efforts such as healthy food policies and physical activity programs.

Dr Blackwood told the conference, organised by the Association of Self Insured Employers of Queensland (ASIEQ), that WHSQ was committed to implementing strategies that assisted workplaces to introduce these programs.

“The Queensland Government’s Toward Q2: Tomorrow’s Queensland strategy aims to make Queenslanders the nation’s healthiest people by 2020,” Dr Blackwood said.

“The strategy aims to reduce obesity, smoking, heaving drinking and unsafe sun exposure,” he said.

”The workplace has a key role to play in this.”

Dr Blackwood said health and wellbeing programs could have substantial benefits for employers.

“There is a cost in not acting, since poor health costs employers in sick leave, compensable injuries and premature retirement,” he said.

A World Health Organisation Report released last year found workplace health programs observed over an average of 3.6 years resulted in:

  • A 27% reduction in sick leave absenteeism
  • A 26% reduction in sick leave costs, and
  • A 32% reduction in workers compensation and disability claims.

Dr Blackwood said worker health and wellbeing programs were not new, since organisations had introduced them already.

“However, we need to encourage more employers to set up programs and we need to sell the benefits,” he said.

Dr Blackwood said employers with health and wellbeing programs should tell WHSQ about their programs and share these programs with others, including other businesses in their supply chain.

He said health promotion also covered injury prevention and management.

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  • Industrial relations.

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Last reviewed
1 February 2010
Last updated
5 November 2015
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