In Australia, all employers have a responsibility to prevent discrimination, harassment or bullying from occurring in the workplace and to make sure that their employees, and people who apply jobs with them, are treated fairly. Under Work Health and Safety (WHS) legislation, employers and employees are required to comply with practices and behaviour that promote health and safety in the workplace. Because of this responsibility, employers are required to minimise or if possible eliminate the risks to employees’ health and safety caused by workplace bullying. Safe Work Australia has recently updated two publications on workplace bullying to provide guidance and assistance for managers and workers on how to prevent, respond and deal with this issue.
Occupational violence is an incident where a worker is physically attacked in the workplace or during work related activities. It also extends to if a worker is threatened in a way that causes them to reasonably believe they are in danger of being physically attacked. With an ageing population, ensuring aged and other care workers are able to cope with the at times aggressive behaviour associated with some types of dementia or disabilities is an important issue for care providers. Recent data shows care workers represent more than 9 percent of NSW workers compensation claims with over 12,000 physical and mental claims made in the recent 3 year period. Addressing workplace bullying and violence be challenging yet SafeWork Australia provide recommendations.
Recently SafeWork Australia released a statistical report comparing injury rates between shift workforces as compared to non-shift workers spanning a variety of different industries administered in 2013-2014. The report demonstrates the injury rate for shift workers is significantly higher (more than twice the rate) when compared to non-shift workers. The increase in incidence of injury did not span across all shift-working industries. Individuals who operate machinery and drivers had significantly lower rates of injury when compared to their shift-working counterparts in other lines of work. So what shift workers are at the greatest risk? High risk shift industries as being; manufacturing, hospitality/food services, public administration and trades/labourers.