SAFETY FIRST” DGH Engineering representatives Chris Tambling, left, and Trevor Wellby attended the Resource Industry Network's safety conference.
SAFETY FIRST” DGH Engineering representatives Chris Tambling, left, and Trevor Wellby attended the Resource Industry Network's safety conference. Zizi Averill

Mental health check-ins at work shouldn't stop at the gate

WORKPLACE safety is about more than guard rails and protective equipment, and responsibility doesn't end when a worker's shift ends.

These were the principle lessons Resource Industry Network director Mick Crowe took away from yesterday's safety conference at the MECC.

"Safety is not just physical safety - it's mental health and well-being and the overall security of the community.

"Mental health doesn't stop and start at the gate.”

He and 240 industry and business representatives spent the day hearing stories from people who had lost friends and family in workplace accidents.

Mr Crowe said it was a reminder of "the absolute pain of losing people and knowing we as organisations and communities can act to prevent that”.

He said the conference was "a shot in the arm” reminding the region of the steps needed to protect their workers.

Mr Crowe hoped the conference would inspire workplaces to do more to prevent incidents outside of the workplace, including fatigued employees driving home or people silently suffering from mental health issues.

Conference attendees Gary Kent said there had been a considerable cultural shift in workplace safety.

As a employee of the labour hire company Techserve Mining and Energy, he worked closely with new workers for the resource industry.

He said there was a dismissive attitude to mental health 20 years ago, saying workers were told to "suck it up princess”.

He said workplaces now used camaraderie as a critical control to prevent deaths, by checking in on fatigued or stressed employees.