On April 28, we remember all those workers who have been injured or killed at work and renew the call for safe workplaces.
This year, 31 Australians have been killed at work. Last year, 190 Australians were killed at work. Many more have sustained injuries or illness simply by being at work and doing their job.
What does it mean for our education workplaces?
We all know colleagues who have sustained an injury or developed an illness because of their work. They may have sustained a physical injury from a trip or a fall or from taking action to keep students safe, or they may have been traumatised or exhausted by extreme and challenging behaviours.
Many of these injuries will have long standing impacts on the individual, their families and their work. Some injured workers will be unable to return to work. The Productivity Commission estimates that 72% of the cost of a workplace injury is borne by the worker, their family & the community.
A major source of Workcover claims in schools in Victoria is work-related stress - stress caused by bullying, harassment and excessive pressure at work.
What can I do?
We’ve put together this list of ways to take action on April 28.
- Make sure everyone knows who their elected Health and Safety Representative (HSR) is.
If you don’t have a HSR, you and your co-workers are missing out on important OHS protections. HSRs are not technical experts, but they are trained and can ask important questions about health and safety strategies. They have important powers under the OHS Act. Contact us for more information on how to elect a HSR.
- Keep an eye our for OHS webinars.
You’ll learn about the importance of employee representation and consultation, and learn to identify and eliminate OHS hazards and risks.
- Report a hazard or near-miss
Reporting hazards and near misses is important because it raises warning bells about a problem. Reporting enables action to be taken to prevent injury, illness and deaths. All workplaces have an OHS reporting system, in schools this is Edusafe.
- Add OHS to your regular meeting agenda
Whether it’s a staff meeting or a sub-branch meeting, make OHS a standing agenda item. That way, you can encourage your colleagues to speak out when they identify a potential issue.
- Ask a colleague to join the union
OHS is core union business, because unions fight to improve working conditions for everyone. The stronger we are, the louder our collective voice will be. Tell you non-member colleagues they can sign up here.