Regulator News

New guidelines to combat gendered violence in the workplace

Last week new guidelines were launched by Jill Hennessy, Minister for Workplace Safety, regarding eradicating gendered violence in the workplace. The union movement has been unwavering in its resolve to see an outcome like this, and has been actively involved in the development of the guidelines. . 

Women, members of the LGBTIQA+ community, migrants and persons with a disability are more likely to experience gendered violence as well as when a person faces multiple forms of discrimination.

The guidance provides information on identifying, preventing and responding to gendered violence in the workplace, which can range from comments and gestures through to sexual assault and rape.

Work-related gendered violence is any behaviour affecting a person because of their sex, gender or sexual orientation, or because they don’t adhere to socially prescribed gender roles, that creates a risk to health and safety. This can include:

  • Stalking, intimidation or threats
  • Verbal abuse
  • Ostracism or exclusion
  • Offensive language and imagery
  • Put downs, innuendo and insinuations
  • Someone being undermined in their role.

Victorian employers face serious consequences under the Occupational Health and Safety Act if they fail to provide a safe working environment.

“More than 60 per cent of women in Victoria have experienced some form of gendered violence at work and have felt at risk in their workplaces – we all have a responsibility to do more to address this,” said the Minister. “These guidelines make clear the types of behaviour that are unacceptable and what employers can do address them and change attitudes.”
Read more: Victorian government media release. Work-related gendered violence including sexual harassment: A guide for employers on preventing and responding to work-related gendered violence and work-related sexual harassment.

New digital licences 
WorkSafe Victoria has introduced myWorkSafe - the new online home for all future WorkSafe transactions.

myWorkSafe is an online portal that will reduce form processing times and give users greater flexibility about when and where they interact with WorkSafe.

One of the first stages of the myWorkSafe functionality is digital licences. Licence applicants can now apply for certain types of licences online via the myWorkSafe portal. When applicants apply online through myWorkSafe they will be issued with a digital licence and will not receive a plastic licence. Digital licence holders will be able to access and display their licence digitally via their myWorkSafe account, using digital devices such as mobile phones or tablets.
The following types of WorkSafe licences are now issued in a digital format:
  • Dangerous goods driver licence
  • Driver transporting explosives licence
  • Pyrotechnician licence
  • Use blasting explosives licence
  • High risk work licences
  • High Consequence Dangerous Goods permit

March 20: Jobs At Home Day

On Jobs At Home Day, Friday 20 March, Victorians can create a customised sticker featuring a fun job at home title such as Chief Cuppa Maker or Master of All Things Doggo – a reminder to return home safely to where they're needed most.

WorkSafe Chief Executive Colin Radford said the stickers are a fun, wearable way to start a conversation about workplace safety. "We know being injured on the job changes everything at home," Mr Radford said. "A workplace injury isn't left behind when you clock off," he said. "I'm the Unpaid Uber Driver in my house, and for me that's a pretty important reason to get home safe every day."

In the past two years almost 20,000 Victorians have taken part in Jobs At Home Day. This year, WorkSafe is hosting coffee carts around Melbourne and regional Victoria where people can receive a Jobs At Home Day sticker and stay for a free coffee. The stickers are designed to be displayed on laptops, hard hats, phones or notebooks. Those participating can also enter a competition to win $1000.

To order a free, customisable sticker, and learn more about the competition and pop-up cafes, visit the Jobs At Home website.

COVID-19 Advice from regulators

Almost all the regulators have been issuing, and updating, advice on COVID-19. Here is a sample:

  • Safe Work Australia: Advice for Employers
  • NSW has issued advice on commuting safely to work during the COVID-19 pandemic.  NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance said travelling to work outside of peak hour, whenever possible, is one of the key actions commuters can take to curb the spread of COVID-19.

  • both NSW and Victoria have introduced tough penalties for those who breach new isolation orders
  • Western Australia has announced special leave arrangements for public servants affected by the coronavirus.

National Fatality Statistics

Safe Work Australia has updated its statistics since the last edition of SafetyNet. As at 12 March, there had been 38 worker fatalities notified to the national body - ten more since the previous update on 27 February. This is a terrible statistic - each one represents a worker with family, friends and work mates who will feel their loss.  Five of these occurred in the Transport, postal and warehousing sectors; two were in construction; one each in Agriculture, forestry and fishing, Manufacturing and Arts & recreation services. SWA is still saying that these are preliminary figures, and are based mainly on media reports.

The fatalities this year have come from the following industries:

  • 16 in Transport, postal & warehousing
  • 9 in Construction
  • 5 in Public administration & safety
  • 3 in Mining
  • 2 in Agriculture, forestry and fishing
  • 2 in Manufacturing
  • 1 in Arts & recreation services

To check for updates, and for more details on fatalities since 2003, go to the Safe Work Australia Work-related fatalities webpage and in particular, here.

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