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Health Benefits of Work Mar 20th, 2014

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The Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (AFOEM), a Faculty of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP), is pleased to introduce the Australian and New Zealand Consensus Statement on the Health Benefits of Work. Realising the Health Benefits of Work presents compelling international and Australasian evidence that work is generally good for health and wellbeing, and that long term work absence, work disability and unemployment generally have a negative impact on health and wellbeing. Realising the health benefits of work for all Australians requires a paradigm shift in thinking and practice. It necessitates cooperation between many stakeholders, including government, employers, unions, insurance companies, legal practitioners, advocacy groups, and the medical, nursing and allied health professions.

The following are the fundamental principles of the above document in regards to the relationship between health and work:

  1. Work is generally good for health and wellbeing;

  2. Long term work absence, work disability and unemployment have a negative impact on health and wellbeing;

  3. Work is an effective means of reducing poverty and social exclusion;

  4. Work must be safe so far as is reasonably practicable.

  5. Work practices, workplace culture and work-life balance are key determinates of individual health, wellbeing and productivity;

  6. Individuals seeking to enter the workforce for the first time, seeking reemployment or attempting to return to work after a period of injury or illness, face a complex situation with many variables.Good outcomes are more likely when individuals understand the health benefits of work, and are empowered to take responsibility for their own situation; and

  7. Health professionals exert a significant influence on work absence and work disability, particularly in relation to medical sickness certification practices

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