WorkSafe Health and Safety Month tours the state

Workplace mental health, safety for young workers and the storage and handling of dangerous goods are among the issues on the agenda for this year’s WorkSafe Health and Safety Month.


Commencing next week, WorkSafe Health and Safety Month will visit 22 locations around the state giving business owners, managers and workers the opportunity to hear from workplace safety experts and industry leaders.

Other topics to be covered in the free seminars include OHS for small businesses, occupational violence and aggression in healthcare and the hazards of manual handling.

Tradies' breakfasts will kick off a number of the regional events, and will address issues affecting the construction industry including silicosis, working with electricity, how to prevent falls from heights and trench safety.

The calendar of events begins with a business Leaders' Breakfast at Zinc on 2 October, where Parliamentary Secretary for Workplace Safety Natalie Hutchins and Arts Centre CEO Claire Spencer will speak.

Spencer has been instrumental in addressing mental health and the unacceptable levels of suicide in the performing arts sector, setting up the Arts Wellbeing Collective. She will share her insights into how to create positive workplaces in a bid to eliminate issues such as stress, anxiety and bullying.

Another highlight will be WorkSafe's showcase event at the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre on 30 October.

This will feature inspiring key note speaker Catherine McGregor, an author and broadcaster who served in the armed forces for more than three decades, and Australia's most prominent transgendered woman.

She'll be interviewed on stage by WorkSafe's new Health and Safety Month ambassador former CNN presenter Anjali Rao.

Rao has previously interviewed high-profile names such as former US President Bill Clinton, the Dalai Lama and pop star Rhianna and covered breaking news on catastrophic world events including the deadly Asian tsunami, Haiti earthquake and 9-11 terrorist attack.

She said she was delighted to be able to help WorkSafe promote the importance of health and safety in all workplaces.

"Having worked in high-pressure 24 hour news environments and reported on devastating events, I know first-hand the toll work can take on health, especially mental wellbeing," Rao said.

Media commentator and former Cats captain Cameron Ling returns as WorkSafe's ambassador for the fourth year to MC events in Melbourne and Ballarat.

"Everyone has the right to be safe at work and I'm honoured to again be ambassador for WorkSafe Health and Safety Month to ensure workers go home safely to their families each and every day," Ling said.

WorkSafe Health and Safety Month will culminate with the WorkSafe Awards, with winners to be announced at a Gala Dinner at Melbourne Town Hall on 31 October.

WorkSafe Chief Executive Clare Amies said the month was an opportunity for Victorian business, employers and workers to refocus on health and safety.

"In the next 10 years it is estimated there will be more than 3.8 million workers in Victoria, so it's essential that we come up with new ways to improve health and wellbeing and make workplaces safer," Ms Amies said.

"WorkSafe Health and Safety Month brings together industry experts, inspiring motivational speakers, businesses and the community to focus on occupational health and safety, and I urge employers and workers around Victoria to consider going along to the event near them."

Events will also take place in Port Fairy and Warrnambool (3 October), Colac (4 October), Lynbrook (6 October), Geelong (8, 16, 22 October), Ballarat (9 October), Dandenong (9, 24 October), Horsham (10 October), Bendigo (11 October), Mildura (15 October), Echuca (16 October), Werribee (17 October), Shepparton (17 October), Inverloch (18 October) Traralgon (21 October), Bairnsdale (22 October), Wangaratta (24 October), Albury Wodonga (31 October).