- Safe Work Australia Act 2008 (Cth) – Items 5 & 6
- Corporate plan – strategies 2 & 6
- Operational plan – activities 3 & 6
- There were over 40,000 views and downloads of 2018 National Safe Work Month campaign materials.
- A total of 75 high-quality entries were received for the National Safe Work Month competition.
- A total of 315 registered participants (unique users who registered on Engage) voted for the 2018 National Safe Work Month People’s Choice Award.
- Safe Work Australia Members
- Communications Reference Group
- WHS regulators
- International Labour Organization
- Media organisations
- Small business
- WHS leaders
- WHS professionals
- Industry associations
‘Engaging with the community is essential to improve and raise awareness about WHS and workers’ compensation in Australia’
During 2018–19 we delivered a variety of national communication and engagement activities to educate and raise community awareness.
We maintained our focus on developing informative and engaging material for use across the multiple communication channels we manage, including for online, press, video, speeches and social media.
In September 2018 we launched our new Media Centre, a designated area on the Safe Work Australia website developed to enhance, separate and distinguish our multimedia content. It is also a place to house and promote national campaigns, including National Safe Work Month.
To ensure we continue to offer tailored communication with a focus on our audiences, in early 2019 we undertook a usability review of our main communication channel, the Safe Work Australia website. This review consisted of both business research with Safe Work Australia staff and comparative usability testing with users of the Safe Work Australia website.
Our website received over 8 million page views, an increase of 21 per cent from last financial year. While managing multiple communication and engagement activities we promoted World Day for Safety and Health at Work and Workers’ Memorial Day, and also delivered four national campaigns, including:
- National Safe Work Month
- National Farm Safety Week
- National Tradies Health Month, and
- Asbestos Awareness Month.
2018 National Safe Work Month
The National Safe Work Month campaign has been delivered annually in October since 2009 and is one of Safe Work Australia’s high-profile engagement and communication tactics to mobilise organisations, communities and individuals to get behind health and safety and promote it at work.
The campaign is developed in consultation with the Safe Work Australia CRG and supports jurisdictional initiatives. National Safe Work Month aims to improve the wider community’s awareness and knowledge of WHS and workers’ compensation by providing access to a range of resources, provoking discussion and showcasing good WHS practice. The campaign encourages publics (one of Safe Work Australia’s key target audiences) to organise or participate in activities which promote WHS during October.
Overall, the 2018 campaign met and in some cases exceeded its objective to improve awareness and knowledge of WHS and increase engagement in National Safe Work Month activities. This demonstrates a steady increase in audience awareness and knowledge compared to previous years.
Some noteworthy statistics include:
- 30 per cent increase from 2017 in page views on the National Safe Work Month website, representing a fourfold increase since 2015
- 35 per cent increase from 2017 in referrals to the National Safe Work Month website from social media channels, and
- 58 per cent of evaluation survey respondents said they now know more about WHS after participating in National Safe Work Month.
The National Safe Work Month website and subscriber mail-outs remain the two most effective methods of directly reaching Safe Work Australia’s audiences. The campaign kit continues to generate high levels of interest and is key to the success of the campaign.
2019 World Day for Safety and Health at Work and Workers’ Memorial Day
We recognise World Day for Safety and Health at Work and Workers’ Memorial Day on April 28 each year. The day raises awareness about the importance of WHS and honours those who have died from work-related injury or illness. This year, we promoted a safe and healthy future of work.
As digital technologies and automation become more common, employment and workplaces are changing. It’s important that—with an ageing workforce and rising levels of stress—we plan our future workplaces to ensure we make them safe and healthy and reduce the risk of workplace injury.
Our campaign shared a number of resources from various regulators and the International Labour Organization, encouraging audiences to promote World Day in their workplace, attend local Workers’ Memorial Day events and share our social media content. To complement the campaign, we featured the keynote speech delivered by Michelle Baxter about the future of work from an Australian perspective at the Singapore Workplace Safety and Health Conference in 2018.
Although there were no paid campaign tactics, the communication results were positive. While web page views decreased by over 50 per cent, people spent longer viewing the content on the page which indicates strong engagement with the content. The number of social media posts reduced in 2019 and there were no paid promoted posts. Given this, the reach was still positive along with the click-throughs and interactions. Only one subscriber mail-out was sent compared to two last year and it yielded a high number of clicked links through to the web content. These statistics will be considered for the 2020 approach to World Day for Safety and Health at Work and Workers’ Memorial Day.
Virtual Seminar Series
The Virtual Seminar Series is in its fifth year of operation and continues to be a popular channel to showcase the latest thinking, research, developments and best practice in WHS.
The purpose of the Virtual Seminar Series is to share ideas, experiences, skills and knowledge relating to the action areas and priority industries identified in the Australian Strategy. The seminars are designed to educate those who influence good WHS practice, demonstrate best practice, present robust evidence, data and research, and showcase innovation. The seminars take the form of live panel discussions, videos, webinars, podcasts, reports and infographics, and feature business leaders, academics, employer associations’ WHS regulators and experts.
The Virtual Seminar Series became so popular with our stakeholders that in October 2016 we moved from broadcasting during the month of October to a year-round schedule.
During 2018–19, we broadcast a total of 10 seminars, including:
- Silica series:
- Collaborating with industry to tackle silica dust exposure
Keith Bannerman from the Australasian Tunnelling Society presents some key issues facing the industry, and working together to address the challenge of silica dust control.
- Staying ahead of the game – Controlling silica exposure in tunnel construction
Construction Manager Christian D’Hondt discusses his key learnings from delivering the tunnelling contract on Sydney Metro Northwest.
- Preventing illness and disease in tunnel construction workers
Occupational Hygienist Kate Cole highlights international best practice in preventing illness and disease and practical steps to improve WHS in tunnelling projects.
- Beyond the spin on work-related psychological health and safety
Three expert panellists discuss practical steps to managing mental health in Australian workplaces facilitated by Dr Peta Miller.
- The use and abuse of culture
Professor Andrew Hopkins presents a keynote address at the 2019 SafetyConnect Conference and argues that inconsistent and contradictory use of the terms ‘culture’ and ‘safety culture’ has created confusion.
- Heat and work injury prevention – a shared responsibility
WHS experts explore key issues on heat and work injury, including: the importance of developing and adhering to preventative strategies for working in heat, identifying hazards, implementing risk-management strategies, and the need for training and awareness across all levels of management.
We implemented an online engagement system, Engage, in April 2017. We use Engage to dynamically facilitate both public and closed consultations on WHS and workers’ compensation matters. Featuring a sophisticated array of easy-to-use engagement methods, the platform enables us to capture community-driven ideas, insights and evidence which we use to inform the development and implementation of WHS and workers’ compensation policies, guidance material, codes of practice and legislation.
During 2018–19 our Engage platform received over 23,000 site visits, more than double the visits in the previous year. We had over 800 new registrations during the year, taking the total to 2,228 registered participants. We held nine new consultations both public and private, including the workplace exposure standards review and the People’s Choice Award Winner for 2018 National Safe Work Month.
Our sponsorship program provides financial support and subject matter expertise to events and initiatives led by the wider community, bolstering the capacity of the community to actively engage with and promote WHS and workers’ compensation. Involving speaking engagements, conference events and partnerships, the sponsorship program helps us engage with key WHS influencers.
A highlight of our sponsorship program this year was the National Safe Work Month competition. We offered individuals and workplaces across Australia the opportunity to bid for funding of up to $20,000 for their WHS project. Participants with the best projects went into the running to win the People’s Choice Award and an additional $5,000 as decided by public vote.
The winner was Coffey Services Australia Ltd—details are presented in Feature story: 2018 National Safe Work Month competition winners.
Media and stakeholder engagement
Through a combination of media releases, paid media placement and subscriber mail-outs, our 2018 National Safe Work Month campaign received excellent national coverage, achieving a total of 149 media reports. Coverage was broad and reached an influential and engaged audience directly interested in WHS as well as national general media.
Safe Work Australia experts and Safe Work Australia’s Chair Diane Smith-Gander AO also featured in media interviews, including an interview with Safety Culture about National Safe Work Month, and we provided written editorial for AusIMM Bulletin, Electrical Gems and Lifting Matters magazines. We also provided input for an array of trade and industry publications and magazines, television programs and radio programs regarding the 2018 Review of the model WHS laws, national WHS and workers’ compensation data, and WHS issues specific to the agriculture industry, first responders, chemicals and heat-related injury and illness.
During 2018–19 we received and responded to 184 media enquiries.
We manage a comprehensive social media presence, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Soundcloud. With an ever-increasing audience, these platforms have effectively extended the reach of our communication and engagement activities.
Some of the communications from 2018–19 included:
- A tweet promoting Tradies Health Month: ‘August is #TradiesHealthMonth – we’re reminding tradies to protect themselves and their workers, their business’ greatest assets’. This reached over 48,000 people.
- Facebook posts over the summer months about working in heat had great engagement. A video post encouraging workers to raise concerns over working in heat had a reach of over 9,000 people.
- A post on LinkedIn: ‘Some of the top causes of serious work-related psychological injury are unreasonable deadlines, interpersonal conflict, harassment or bullying, exposure to violence, and poorly managed organisational change’. This had excellent levels of engagement, with 55 per cent of those who saw the post engaged in the content.
Outlook for 2019–20
Our focus for the upcoming year will remain to provide tailored, accurate information to our audiences in channels that are easy for them to access. Our flagship channel, the Safe Work Australia website, has been reviewed for usability and functionality. We will endeavour to take on board all of the recommendations put forward by our audiences to continue our approach of ongoing improvements to provide the best possible user experience.
The Virtual Seminar Series will continue regular broadcasting and feature the latest information on such topics as workplace exposure standards, quad bikes, injury prevention, psychological injury and return to work.
Our use of animation to bring national WHS and workers’ compensation data and statistics to life has been embraced by our audiences as demonstrated with our promotion of Key work health and safety statistics, Australia 2018 with over 33,000 unique web page views across the relevant web pages and over 15,000 people reached across our social media channels.
We will continue to conduct stakeholder consultations on our online consultation platform Engage, including the Consultation RIS on the 2018 Review of the model WHS laws and public consultation for the workplace exposure standards review.
Naturally our highlight will be National Safe Work Month held in October to raise awareness about the importance of building a safe and healthy workplace.