Department of Health

Healthy Workers Initiative

Quality Framework  for the  Healthy Workers Initiative

Principles for Healthy Workplaces

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Effective workplace health promotion programs have shown to have significant benefits to both employees and businesses and consistently show positive returns on investment. The workplace is considered nationally and internationally to be a priority setting to drive health promotion and illness prevention programs, not only for the direct impact they can have on a workforces health but the positive flow on effects from workers’ interactions with their families and communities in general.

Workplaces vary considerably across Australia by size, location and industry. Australian workplaces also vary considerably in their current approach to promoting healthy lifestyles for their workplaces. Many workplaces are at the beginning of their journey, while others have been investing in programs which have matured over time and are now reaping the rewards including higher retention rates, reduced absenteeism, and higher productivity.

A lot is known about what contributes and inhibits successful workplace health promotion programs. These Principles are drawn from that evidence base and provide considerations suitable for workplaces. Every workplace should consider how each of these Principles can apply in a practical manner in their workplace, noting the high level of interdependency and interconnectivity between each principal. Adopting all the Principles will support an effective and sustainable approach to supporting healthier lifestyles across the workplace setting.

Principles for Healthy Workplaces Description of diagram

These Principles complement the Joint Statement of Commitment – Promoting Good Health at Work which provides a statement of national level commitment and core principles for improving the health of the population through the workplace and the National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health.

Further, to support implementation of these Principles, the Australian Government web portal is a clearing house of tools, support material, case studies and templates which can assist organisations and provide much more practical detail than is contained here.

Workplaces are encouraged to use the web portal1 to access the tools, templates and reference material they require to progress their journey in supporting healthier lifestyles in their workplaces.

These Principles are provided for the benefit of workplaces and comprise one of three components of the Healthy Workers Quality Framework. There is no formal quality assessment requirement for this component. It is intended as a guidance document for workplaces. An audit tool is included here for the workplaces to undertake a rapid assessment of their workplaces against the Principles.

1 Please note the web portal is still under development. 

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Published date: July 2012