Workhealth Improvement Network Program

The WorkHealth Improvement Network (WIN) is a two-year program from WorkSafe Victoria that promotes health, safety and wellbeing in the manufacturing and healthcare sectors. The program offers information, education and support to employers in these industries to test the application of integrated approaches to occupation health, safety and wellbeing.

As Network Chair for the manufacturing sector, we are working with manufacturing businesses to reduce the risk of workers developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), promote mental wellbeing, and improve the health and safety culture in each participating workplace.

The program combines OHS, health promotion and human resources expertise to take an integrated approach to overall health and wellbeing at work. The program applies an action learning approach, which sees each workplace test ideas or solutions to health and safety problems and apply them more broadly if they are successful.

The program is due for completion at the end of 2016 and we will publish a research report outlining successful approaches in 2017.

Why focus on manufacturing?

Manufacturing is the third largest employer in Victoria, behind healthcare and social assistance and retail. WorkSafe data shows that in the manufacturing industry, musculoskeletal disorder claims account for 52 per cent of workers’ compensation claims and stress claims account for five per cent. Lower skilled workers continue to suffer more manual handling injuries and WorkHealth data shows this cohort are also more likely to be at risk of chronic health conditions.

In this video, staff from two participating WIN employers, Austin Health and Joy Foods, discuss why they decided to join the WIN, what interventions they’ve tried so far, and what they hope to achieve from taking an integrated approach to their OHS issue. Also hear from Dr Nerida Joss, who talks about the value of data collection and benchmarking across participating worksites implementing integration in their workplace.

The benefits of an integrated approach

Taking an integrated approach to worker health, safety and wellbeing is a good idea for employers because:

  • It enables employers to build on existing OHS structures and introduce low-cost, quick-to-adopt physical and mental health promotion strategies.
  • It can increase participation in OHS and health promotion activities amongst workers who are more likely to experience hazardous working conditions, engage in risk-related health behaviours and live in higher risk communities.
  • There is strong evidence of a positive return on investment.

Hear from Professor Niki Ellis about integrated approaches, and how they are different to traditional health promotion and OHS approaches. Professor Ellis encourages employers to take this forward-thinking approach and offers practical tips to implement integrated approaches for optimal outcomes.

Case study

Read about Joy Foods' WIN experience