Healthy and safe classrooms - 5 December 2018

Healthy and safe classrooms

As our minds turn towards planning for 2019, it is important not to let professional and educational priorities blind you to the importance of maintaining a healthy workplace.

How we feel at work has a significant effect on our physical and mental wellbeing, which in turn is a workplace health and safety issue. So how do we make our work “good work”, i.e. work that is healthy and safe in which the hazards and risks are eliminated or minimised as far as is reasonably practicable?

Good work contains positive work elements that can:

  • protect workers from harm to their health, safety and welfare
  • improve worker health and wellbeing
  • improve outcomes.

These elements are all contained in good work design, which has three elements:

  • the work 
  • the physical working environment
  • the workers – their physical, emotional and mental capacities and needs.

In a school context, good work design could be:

  • considering how you will set up your classroom to meet your physical needs, as well as the learning needs of your students
  • school leaders being aware of the complex needs of teachers and other staff when allocating classrooms and workspaces
  • identifying the resourcing needs of students to enhance learning opportunities and mitigate the risk of harm to students and their teachers
  • determining the numbers of students and areas for bus and playground duty
  • considering processes of communication, information sharing and professional development and meetings to provide collaborative experiences and safe spaces, and the list goes on…

In adopting these principles, schools will be places where members feel safe, valued and a positive workplace culture is likely to be achieved.

For more information on work design and mentally healthy workplaces, go to www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/news/2016/what-is-good-work-design

Uploaded 5 December 2018

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