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Braemar have reduced absenteeism and improved staff retention by improving workplace safety

Braemar has been operating within the aged care sector for some 61 years. The organisation has over 180 employees of which over 50 per cent are mature age workers. Mature age workers are an integral part of their workforce and fill a large number of critical positions in the organisation.

Braemar's participation in the Corporate Champions programme helped them to recognise the importance of merging staff wellbeing, company culture and occupational health and safety to create a holistic approach to health and wellbeing within the organisation.

Braemar conducted a Staff Safety Perception Survey to understand what employee's thoughts were regarding the safety culture in the organisation. This resulted in the development of the Safety & Wellness Framework 2014-2017.

Braemar believes the framework will reduce and prevent injury within the workplace. The simple philosophy of 'healthy employees are happy employees' will be the driving force of this framework. It will become an effective retention tool and improve the continuity of care provided to their residents through reduced absenteeism within the organisation. The survey will be repeated annually to provide feedback on progress made in the implementation of the Framework.

An OH&S representative had this to say about the new framework: "With the introduction of the Organisational Safety and Wellness Framework, this has made a huge impact to our roles as OHS Representatives, as we are not just looking at incidents and hazards, but we have the ability to review the organisation and its employees' wellbeing as a whole. This framework has provided us with significant structure to identify and correct behaviour prior to it eventuating into a major injury. We believe this structure will further assist us as an organisation to change the culture to becoming more safety conscious."

For the future, Braemar have developed an annual Occupational Health and Safety Calendar –'Step up for Safety 2014' which addresses core subjects on Health and Wellbeing, Company Culture and Occupational Health and Safety. Activities each month will be linked to the various Health Events that are conducted nationally, for example Heart Week, World Asthma Day, and World No Tobacco Day. To further create healthy competition, an internal competition was launched (OHS Cup 2014) with participation as its main criteria for winning.

As a result of participation in the Corporate Champions programme, Braemar Presbyterian Care is a finalist in the Aged and Community Services Western Australia Excellence in Care Awards 2014 in the category of Health and Wellbeing.

Braemar strongly believes that with this framework they can provide a healthy workforce and a healthy work environment to ensure continued excellence in the care for their residents.