Safe Work Month

In Australia, October is National Safe Work Month — a time to make your commitment to improving safety and health in your workplace.

While the health, safety and wellness of staff and students should always be front of mind in “how we do what we do” at UQ, October is a great time to collectively focus on the health, safety and wellness of our staff and students, and ourselves. Mental Health Week is also celebrated annually in October, promoting the importance of mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.

This year's theme for National Safe Work Month is think safe. work safe. be safe. This theme promotes identifying risks and planning and implementing work health and safety procedures.

There are a number of events and activities during October, both at UQ and across Queensland, to mark Safe Work Month.

HSW Safe Work Forum 2021

Date: Wednesday 6 October 2021
Time: 8.30am for 9am–4pm
Due to the current COVID restrictions, the HSW Forum was an online event.


Morning Program

Session 1:

Professor Deborah Terry AO, Vice-Chancellor and President, UQ

Safety first
Shane Webcke, Safety Ambassador and former Australian professional rugby league footballer

Session 2:

Current issues in work-related psychological health and safety
Dr Kirsten Way, Program Director and Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology, UQ

Work health and safety laws as a tool to realise university disability strategy
Associate Professor Paul Harpur, School of Law, UQ

Afternoon Program

Session 3:

Professor Aidan Byrne, Provost, UQ

Enforceable undertakings
Naomi Kemp, Director Strategic Solutions, Kitney OHS and Chair, Australian Institute of Health and Safety

The UQ enforceable undertaking - 10 years on
Jim Carmichael and Narelle McCallum, Health, Safety and Wellness, UQ

UQ's HSW pandemic response - lessons learned
Jennie Trinder, Associate Director, Health, Safety and Wellness, UQ

Impact of COVID over the next two years
Dr Kirsty Short, Senior Lecturer, School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, UQ

The next pandemic is inevitable – key learnings from COVID-19 to prepare for our next big challenge
Dr Jeannette Young, Queensland's Chief Health Officer

Session 4:

The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and its consequences for UQ
Professor Richard Johnstone, School of Law, QUT

Panel discussion

Speaker information

Dr Jeannette Young Queensland Chief Health Officer
Dr Young is the Queensland Chief Health Officer and one of the Deputy Directors-General in the Department of Health. She has specialist qualifications as a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Medical Administrators and as a Fellow by Distinction of the Faculty of Public Health of the Royal College of Physicians of the United Kingdom. She is an Adjunct Professor at Griffith University, QUT and UQ. Dr Young is Governor-designate for Queensland.
Shane Webcke Queensland's Safety Ambassador
Shane Webcke is an Australian former professional rugby league footballer, who spent his entire club career playing for the Brisbane Broncos. Webcke represented Queensland in the State of Origin 21 times and also captained the side. He made 26 test appearances for Australia
Professor Deborah Terry AO Vice-Chancellor and President, UQ
Professor Deborah Terry AO is a highly experienced leader in the Australian university sector – and an internationally recognised scholar in psychology. Since August 2020, Professor Terry has served as Vice-Chancellor and President of The University of Queensland (UQ). Prior to this, she was Vice-Chancellor of Curtin University in Western Australia, from 2014 to 2020. Professor Terry was made an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AO) in June 2015, in recognition of her distinguished service to education in the tertiary sector.
Jim Carmichael

Director, HSW Division, UQ
Jim commenced with The University of Queensland in March 2013 as Director of the Occupational Health and Safety Division. Prior to joining the University he was in a senior executive role within the Queensland work health and safety regulator for the previous 13 years overseeing the operational and service delivery functions of that organisation. He has a strong professional background in the ergonomics discipline and has previously been elected as national President of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia.

Dr Kirsten Way School of Psychology, UQ
Dr Way is a Senior Lecturer and Program Director at the Centre for Business and Organisational Psychology at UQ where she conducts research on safety, the role of supervisors in conflict, psychosocial hazards, occupational stress, fatigue, injury management, and occupational health and wellbeing. Dr Way is an Organisational Psychologist, Occupational Therapist and Certified Professional Ergonomist.
Associate Professor Paul Harpur School of Law, UQ
Associate Professor Harpur is a leading international and comparative disability rights legal academic having held an academic fellowship with the Harvard Law School Project on Disability, and visiting positions with the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, Institute for Lifecourse & Society, National University of Ireland, Galway and with the Burton Blatt Institute, College of Law, Syracuse University, New York.
Professor Aidan Byrne Provost, UQ
Professor Aidan Byrne commenced as the Provost and Senior Vice-President of The University of Queensland on 4 October 2016. Prior to this appointment Professor Byrne was the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Australian Research Council (2012-2016), and Dean of Science and Director of the Australian National University (ANU) College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (2008-2012). He was also Head of the ANU Department of Physics (2003-2007).
Naomi Kemp Chair of Australian Institute of Health and Safety
Naomi is passionate about helping businesses and leaders to keep their people healthy and safe. She is an established thought leader and professional speaker who volunteers her time to not-for-profit directorships, the UQ Occupational Health and Safety Science Program Advisory Committee and mentoring future health and safety leaders.
Narelle McCallum Senior HSW Advisor
A Senior Advisor with UQ's HSW Division Narelle has a diverse work history that lends itself well to driving HSW strategic initiatives in a complex university environment. Prior to becoming a safety professional, Narelle worked across a broad spectrum of industry sectors (university, government, private and not-for-profit) and has significant research and applied experience in laboratory and field environments, both within Australia and internationally.
Jennie Trinder Associate Director (Governance and Strategy) – HSW Division
Jennie has worked in the higher education sector for 8 years, with 5 as the Director of Health, Safety and Wellness at Griffith University before joining UQ. Jennie’s background is primarily in areas of business management, human resources, and health safety and wellness having worked most of her career in the private industry (manufacturing). She is particularly interested in empowering staff to be accountable for their own safety and wellbeing and with the organisation towards a mentally healthy university.
Dr Kirsty Short School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences
Dr Kirsty Short is one of The University of Queensland's lead virologists, whose research could help tackle the world's next pandemic threat. She is currently working on pandemic preparedness by understanding the immune response in COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) and influenza. In addition to her research, she is also a Senior Lecturer for the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences and has produced a book chapter and many publications in leading journals.
Professor Richard Johnstone School of Law, QUT
Professor Johnstone has research and teaching interests in labour law (particularly work health and safety), regulation, socio-legal research and legal education. The principal theme in his research is whether and how the health and safety of workers is protected by work health and safety regulation. Richard was the founding Director, and until 2016 a Director, of the National Research Centre for Occupational Health and Safety Regulation at the Australian National University. From 2003 to 2010 he was the Director of the Socio-Legal Research Centre at Griffith University, and from 2014 to 2017 the Director of Research in the QUT Law School.

UQ Safe Work Month calendar of events

Date and time UQ Events Register
6 Oct
HSW Safe Work Forum
See details above
18 Oct
OHS and Procurement of Goods
Harold Downes (Mills Oakley)
Discussion and presentation on health and safety legal obligations in the purchase of goods (including equipment and materials from overseas).
18 Oct
Occupational health hazards at UQ – what do we need to know
Dr Kelly Johnstone
Unlike safety hazards, health hazards can often go unrecognised and unmanaged. This presentation will explore key potential health hazards in UQ workplaces and discusses actions we can take to ensure we are protecting the health of workers and others.

When, where and how do UQ staff engage with their mobile phones – a one week field study
Associate Professor Margaret Cook
A study undertaken at UQ staff collected 24/7 data on phone use including whole body posture and location during use. Results showed that we use our phone on average 2.5 hours per day, half of which occurs at home. When we were using our phones at home we were often in a lying posture, and this posture was associated with neck and shoulder discomfort. This study highlights new and emerging risks and questions the impact of technology of our health and wellbeing.

20 Oct
UQ Safety Seminar Series: Biosafety / Biosecurity Update
HSW Division Biosafety team
The purpose of this session is to inform UQ Researchers and safety leaders of any legislative changes, audit findings and other Biosafety/Biosecurity related activities.
More details
25 Oct
COVID and impacts at UQ 2021 onwards
Dr Clare Wood
Dr Clare Wood will present a timeline on COVID so far, including how it has involved and affected the UQ community. She will then present on some of the potential physical, mental and public health impacts and effects that we will need to consider and address over the next few years. It will involve discussion around vaccination, testing, quarantine, lockdowns, travel and more.
26 Oct
8.30am– 4pm
WHS Auditors course (EOI Required - spaces are limited)
Dr Kelly Johnstone
This one-day training will teach attendees the UQ HSW internal audit process for Level 1 local internal audits based ISO 19011, ISO 45001 and the NAT Tool.
Email HSW

Queensland Safe Work Month and Mental Health Week events

Date and time Event
1 Oct
Safe Work Month Launch
Celebrate the start of Safe Work Month with a free online event.
11 Oct
Mental Health Forum 2021
The Mental Health Forum is an opportunity to hear from industry experts as we discuss how we can promote, prevent, intervene early and support recovery when it comes to mentally healthy workplaces.
12 Oct
Design for workplace diversity
What are we doing in our working lives as leaders, colleagues, and designers to encourage diversity? Despite a comprehensive legislative framework to support diversity in the workplace, we simply may not have the knowledge, skills, or awareness about how to identify and include typically misrepresented communities in our design of work and jobs.
13 Oct
Work-related violence and aggression in the workplace
Dr Allison J Ballard explores work-related violence and aggression in the workplace - the consequences, frequency and intervention strategies.
14 Oct
Creating mentally safe workplaces - strategies for promoting mental wellbeing
Dr Fisher provides practical tips on reframing how we define accomplishment beyond the performance appraisal and builds your understanding of the importance of belongingness and accomplishment as mental health fundamentals - and the role it plays in mentally healthy workplaces.
19 Oct
Injury Prevention and Return to Work Conference
Expert presenters will discuss, analyse, and give their perspectives on key injury prevention and return to work topics.
20 Oct
Changes in work during COVID-19 (and beyond)
Hear from Professor Sharon Parker, Director of the Centre for Transformative Work Design, as she unpacks their latest research results on how COVID-19 has affected how we work.
26 Oct
The human cost of not speaking up. Psychological safety – not just nice but necessary!
Naomi will look at how fostering a culture of health and safety is no longer seen as a nice to have, but a necessity and foundation for the overall performance of a business. And in this current climate, now more than ever, it’s critical for organisations to manage health and safety risk by designing psychologically safe work environments.