My job involves viewing extremely graphic footage of workplace incidents, vehicle collisions and unlawful pornographic material. The only thing my workplace has offered is a security screen so no others are impacted. What are my employer's responsibilities?
You may find our 'What are Psychosocial Hazards?' page helpful. It delves into Vicarious Trauma, which arises when workers are exposed to traumatic content or encounter distressing details during their work.
The CPSU, representing the Victorian Public Service, has established a website aimed at raising awareness and introducing practices to prevent or reduce the impact of vicarious trauma. The website's content applies to all organisations whose staff engage with traumatic content in their work. It provides information on various approaches to prevent vicarious trauma, including:
- FACT SHEET: Types of vicarious trauma interventions
- FACT SHEET: Preventing vicarious trauma in line with Victorian OHS
- TOOL: Blueprint for a Vicarious Trauma-Informed Organisation
- TOOL: VT-ORG Scoresheet and Action Plan
Moreover, the Institute for Safety, Compensation and Recovery Research (ISCRR) is actively involved in multiple ongoing projects related to vicarious trauma in the workplace. They've highlighted that vicarious trauma is a concept not widely understood. The ISCRR has created an explanatory video outlining the differences between direct and vicarious trauma, while also spotlighting opportunities to prevent worker exposure.
Work together with your DWG to collectively figure out the best approach. Then, bring up the matter officially with your employer, using the given information and highlighting their duty to ensure safe work systems and environment.
If resolution isn’t achieved following this consultation, consider completing a record of consultation form, attaching the employer's response, and allowing 24 hours for reconsideration. Then, you'll be in a position to issue a Provisional Improvement Notice (PIN), granting your employer the minimum required time to comply or challenge the PIN by contacting WorkSafe to investigate the matter.
For further details, refer to our Resolution of Issues webpage.
It's important to note that understanding our rights is only one aspect—we also need the means to enforce these rights within the law while maintaining a productive relationship with our employer.
We strongly urge you to contact your Union, as they employ experienced officials who can provide additional support, advice, and representation should you and your DWG require it.