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Manager, Mentally Health Work

Worksafe New Zealand


Worker wellbeing: why it is important and how to support it

Under the Health & Safety at Work Act 2015 businesses have a legal obligation to prevent harm to both the physical and mental health of their workers. Good work is good for workers, good for businesses, and for the community. However, it is only recently that these truisms have been widely accepted and have started to drive health and safety systems and practices in the workplace.

We know that workers who stop work because of mental harm are away from work for longer periods of time and find it harder to return to work than those who have been physically harmed. We also know that it is not only the worker who experiences the harm. For example, we now have a better understanding of the negative impacts on work colleagues, family and other social contacts of those who experience high stress at work.

This presentation will explore the most recent data from WorkSafe New Zealand on worker exposure to risks, the impact on their (mental) wellbeing, and provide some suggestions about how these risks can be identified and managed.


John Fitzgerald leads the team at WorkSafe focused on Mentally Healthy Work. His role is to provide national evidence-based leadership and advice on mentally healthy work programs, innovations, assessment, and intervention. John is a New Zealand Registered Clinical Psychologist who has worked in adult mental health, alcohol/drug services, and child & family psychological health. He is an Adjunct Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology at Massey University and a Fellow of the NZ Psychological Society.

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