October is National Safe Work Month, so we’re asking you to take five and think about safety in your business. In this final update for the month, special counsel Gemma Sharp talks about creating safe and healthy work for all in the rapidly changing Australian workplace.
October is National Safe Work Month. So, each week we’ve been asking you to think safety in your business. I’m Gemma Sharp. I’m a special counsel in Cooper Grace Ward’s workplace relations and safety team. In week one, I spoke with you about some of the more common health and safety risks which exist within all businesses. In week two, Belinda Winter, partner in our team, asked you to think more specifically about mental health risks and particularly how your workplace hazards may cause an injury to a worker’s psychosocial health and safety. In week three, I then again asked you to think about risk management processes and assessing the hazards within your business and addressing those through the implementation of control measures. Week four of National Safe Work Month asks us to think less about the general duties which exist under work, health and safety laws. Instead, SafeWork Australia are asking you to think about creating safe and healthy work for all. The effect of workplace injuries goes so much further than an individual workplace, an occupation or an industry. It has ripple effects which cross through the Australian economy and each state. The Australian workplace is changing and rather rapidly after the COVID pandemic impacted our workplaces. With more and more Australians performing work from home or performing work through the gig economy. As a result, PCBUs are now being asked to think about how they can deliver on those changes which workers are expecting, but also to discharge their workplace health and safety obligations. This week we’re asking you to think about whether or not you’ve reflected on how your old health and safety systems fit with your changing workplace scenarios. If you implemented more flexible workplace practices, have you updated your work, health and safety systems to account for those changes at work? What have you done to manage the new risks posed by working from home? When workers are performing work from home, they’re exposed to unique hazards caused by isolation from the workplace. Whether that can be an increase in the risk to mental illnesses or injuries, or the risk posed by domestic and family violence. So, this week of National Safe Work Month, take five to think about whether or not you’ve updated your systems and if you haven’t done so, think about those processes you can implement to continue to protect your worker’s health and safety. If you find you need assistance to review your safety systems to account for any changes that have occurred to your methods of work, or to account for your interactions with the gig economy, please don’t hesitate to give a member of our workplace relations and safety team a call.