It's no secret that local business and community leaders play a crucial role in shaping a region's health and safety culture.
Victoria is a diverse state and different areas have different industries, concerns and ideas.
That's why WorkSafe has an ongoing commitment to meet with regional communities on a regular basis to share views and talk about workplace safety issues.
WorkSafe's board members and senior executives are this week in the Warrnambool region to visit workplaces and meet with local employers and workers.
We want to support them to set prevention-led examples for others to follow.
By working together, we can keep moving towards a future where every single worker makes it home safely at the end of the day.
In 2021, there were, tragically, four workplace fatalities in the Warrnambool region.
Another 516 local workers were injured seriously enough to have a worker's compensation claim accepted.
Of those claims, 67 were for mental injury, which is an alarming increase of more than 90 per cent over the past five years.
There is no doubt that mental health is one of our biggest challenges at WorkSafe and for the community as a whole.
Community sport plays such a vital role in health and wellbeing in regional areas ...
That's why mental health workshops are now an integral part of WorkSafe's Country Club Program, which is also coming to Warrnambool this week.
This is WorkSafe's 21st year as the naming rights sponsor of country football and netball clubs and it is a partnership we are incredibly passionate about.
Community sport plays such a vital role in health and wellbeing in regional areas; an opportunity to connect with friends, family and teammates on and off the field or court.
And it is this sense of community that makes our partnership so valuable.
It gives us the opportunity to give back to local communities with exciting activities and experiences while also having important conversations about workplace safety.
We want to see the comradery and care shown down at the local club on the weekend extended to the workplace each and every day.
When our workers are safe, we'll see them on the field, on the court and supporting from the sidelines.
And if there's one thing the pandemic has shown us, it is the value of these social interactions. It reminded us how important it is for us to come together each weekend for our physical and mental wellbeing.
North Warrnambool is among six local clubs to host WorkSafe's Country Club Program this year.
So, if you're in the area, please join us at Bushfield Recreation Reserve this Saturday for the big clash between North Warrnambool and South Warrnambool.
Local footy great Leon Cameron will be there, reuniting with his former top draft pick Tom Boyd to help spread the workplace safety message.
Former Australian netball coach, Norma Plummer AM, will also be participating in the activities throughout the day.
Spectators will be invited to sit down for a cuppa as part of WorkSafe's Safe-Tea Break initiative, which encourages farmers to take regular breaks on the job.
We will also take time to call out the work of local volunteers, who we know are the lifeblood of country football and netball and clubs.
Because being part of a club takes teamwork, just like keeping everyone safe at work.
Colin Radford is WorkSafe's chief executive officer
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