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September HSR Update


WHS Conference

September has been a busy month for Work Health and Safety and October is going to be even bigger, but for now let’s take a look back and recap WHS in September.

First week of September - the ACTU’s Mentally Healthy Workplace Safety Organising Conference was held in Melbourne. Discussions were held on the new Qld Psychosocial Hazard Code of Practice and Regulation which are expected to be operative from 1 April 2023, its importance, and recognising prevention of psychological injuries arising from work is the key. The understanding that the most effective form of prevention is elimination followed by and knowing how to apply the Hierarchy of Controls; [Eliminate, Substitute, Isolate, Engineer, Administrate, PPE].

There was also a focus on back to basic fundamentals and the importance of building power through Health and Safety in the workplace, including discussions on setting up Designated Work Groups (DWGs), the election of HSRs and HSR/worker rights.

Next - how critical a good ‘workplace culture’ is, as a poor workplace culture can lead to sexism, racism, bullying, poor organisational justice, and severe workplace injury.

Discussions were also held around exposure to vicarious work related trauma (secondary trauma) as well as responding to customer and client aggression.

On day 2 there were more discussions and information sessions covering topics such as gendered violence, rights of clients’ vs rights of workers, job demands and workloads.

All of these are Health and Safety issues in the workplace. All have an impact on mental health and are recognised as a health and safety issue under the new Queensland Psychosocial Code of Practice.


WHS Act Review

There is currently a five-year review of the Work Health and Safety Act occurring in Queensland. This is an exciting time as it will be another 5 years before having this opportunity again. Over the past couple of weeks, we asked Health and Safety Reps across Queensland to complete a survey, sharing their experiences and challenges as the HSR at their workplace. By understanding the issues on the ground, this gives us the opportunity to submit corrections and hopefully improve the rights of the HSR.