Inductions are an important aspect of any employee life cycle. Within the trade industry, safety inductions play a crucial role in ensuring employees can reduce, remove, and prevent physical injuries in the workplace. Regular toolbox meetings are conducted to refresh measures and avoid safety breaches. Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) are utilised on worksites to identify potential risks, reduce their likelihood of occurring and/or remove them from site completely. According to WorkSafe, mental health-related injuries are the second most reported work cover claim in Australia, and approximately 44% of mental injury-related claims, see claimants still off work 6 months later. The leading cause of physical injury-related claims, manual handling, sees approximately 22% of claimants still off work 6 months later1. Despite these statistics, mental health, and psychological safety in the workplace, are not awarded the same time, resources, and importance when addressing workplace safety.
As part of the Workplace Diversity Project, Tradeswomen Australia are working to make psychological safety a priority in the workplace, like physical safety is. Through education and training, we want to equip workplace leaders with the skills and knowledge to be able to include mental health and wellbeing in their safety inductions, their SWMS and their toolbox talks. The more conversation and awareness there is regarding mental safety in the workplace, the more normalised seeking help will become. This is a particularly good opportunity for employers to invest in their apprentices and show them how they are going to be supported throughout their employment, as apprentices are more vulnerable in the workplace to experiences of psychological distress2. Employers have the ability as part of this project to utilise the services Tradeswomen Australia are offering and further develop their safety measures to prioritise psychological safety alongside physical safety and in turn, show their employees that they care about their mental wellbeing in the workplace.
- WorkSafe Victoria, 2019, Psychological Health – is the work safe? Do I feel safe?, 8 March, available via https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkccLEzaPTI, accessed 17 January 2022.
- WorkSafe Victoria, 2021, Young Workers: Mental Health, WorkSafe Victoria, accessed 17 January 2022, available via https://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/young-workers-mental-health.