Wannon Water’s zero harm approach makes employees happy, healthy and engaged

Wednesday 30 June, 2021


Cancer Council Victoria’s Achievement Program awards Victorian Government recognition for outstanding health and wellbeing efforts.


Wannon Water has become the first water authority in Victoria to achieve all six health areas in the Healthy Workplaces Achievement Program.


The Healthy Workplaces Achievement Program is a free Victorian Government health and wellbeing program delivered by Cancer Council Victoria. There are more than 1,000 workplaces across Victoria currently signed up to the program and making healthy changes. 


Workplaces that join are supported to achieve targets that address key health areas including healthy eating, mental health and wellbeing, physical activity, smoking, and alcohol and other drugs. Once the targets for each health area are achieved, workplaces can receive Victorian Government recognition.


Wannon Water, which provides water and sewerage services in south-west Victoria, is committed to a ‘zero harm’ approach across the organisation to support its employees to be engaged, high performing and love their job.


Andrew Jeffers, managing director at Wannon Water, said the organisation decided to join the free program in 2019 to build upon its commitment to provide a healthy and safe workplace for its 215 employees.


“Our zero-harm approach is a collective mindset that goes beyond just physical safety of our staff to include mental health and wellbeing. At Wannon Water, everyone has the right to be safe and return home as healthy as when they started the day,” Mr Jeffers said.


By formalising its commitment to supporting staff’s mental health and wellbeing, the organisation has progressed its Employee Assistance Program to enhance the general mental health and wellbeing of staff. Employees have taken part in VECCI Mental Health Essentials Training and a mental health and wellbeing mindset has been encouraged which includes flexible working arrangements and counselling services.


To support all employees with safe and healthy practices around smoking and alcohol and other drugs, Wannon Water has refreshed its smoke-free workplace procedure and provided health information, resources and links to support services in a bid to improve employees’ health knowledge. Wannon Water has also promoted key health awareness days such as World No Tobacco Day.


Staff are also encouraged to participate in community and workplace activities that encourage physical activity including Parkrun, online yoga and push-up challenges and participation in the 10,000 Steps Challenge.

Amanda Wearne, Wannon Water’s Learning and Diversity Officer, said staff have really embraced the chance to get involved in various health and wellbeing initiatives.


“Our 10,000 steps initiative was quite popular with staff during last year’s working-from-home periods. We’ve also had good take-up of our health screenings and flu vaccinations. Some employees have been referred to their GP for follow-ups, so it’s great to see prevention focused initiatives continue to improve our employees’ health and wellbeing.”


Mr Jeffers believes the support and framework of the Achievement Program is an important part of Wannon Water’s continued commitment to and success in maintaining employees’ physical and mental health.


“We believe that creating a healthy workplace is a joint responsibility of an employee and the organisation - everyone has a role to play to look after the wellbeing of themselves and others. We’ve seen this in practice with the enthusiasm our staff have shown to participating in health and wellbeing activities,” Mr Jeffers said.


To join the free Achievement Program, visit www.achievementprogram.health.vic.gov.au