Exposure to violent or traumatic events is a psychosocial hazard. Some jobs, such as those in mental health care or emergency services, involve consistent exposure to these events. Work-related violent or traumatic events are incidents that can cause fear and distress and involve exposure to abuse, the threat of harm or actual harm. The fear and distress from violent or traumatic events can lead to work-related stress, psychological injury and physical injury. The impact of traumatic experiences can arise from a single distressing event, or from the cumulative impact of many events over time, including direct or indirect exposure.
It is an employers duty to provide a safe workplace as far as reasonably practicable under section 21 of the OHS Act 2004. Additionally, employer must consult HSRs on all issues of health and safety, including potential exposure to violent or traumatic events and how to manage this exposure.
For useful resources on managing exposure to violent or traumatic events see:
1. WorkSafe's topic page on violent and traumatic events - contains substantial information on implementing controls for employers as well as detailed information on identifying the hazard.
2. Safe Work Australia's topic page on violent and traumatic events - contains substantial information on implementing controls for employers as well as detailed information on identifying the hazard. However, as OHS is state based legislation Safe Work Australia's advice does not carry legal weight but is still useful.
3. The ANMF's ten point plan on addressing occupational violence