ASK RENATA

At my workplace 30 women are required to get changed in an area that's approximately 1 metre by 30 and lean against a wall to put our shoes on.

We think you’ll find our Change rooms and other facilities webpage helpful  as well as WorkSafe’s Workplace facilities and the working environment compliance code.

They explain employer duties in relation to workplace facilities and conditions. The code includes the following:

Where employees need to change in and out of clothing or other apparel at work, employers need to ensure that the employees have access to private, secure, convenient changing areas with secure storage for personal belongings.

The changing room needs to allow a clear space of at least 0.5m2 for each employee, not including space used for other facilities like seats and lockers. Accessible changing rooms need to meet the National Construction Code dimensions for accessible adult changing facilities.

Changing rooms need to have:

  • enough seating for all employees who are changing at the same time to sit down when dressing or undressing
  • accessible mirrors, either inside the room or just outside of it
  • enough hooks.

Where change rooms are provided, employers need to provide each employee with a locker for storing clothing and personal items. Storage lockers should:

  • be well ventilated, accessible, and secure
  • be at least 300mm wide, 450 mm deep and 1800mm high
  • have hooks and a coat hanger rail.

There also needs to be a clear space of at least 1800mm between rows of lockers that are facing each other and at least 900mm between lockers and a seat or a wall. Where the workplace is temporary or is located away from buildings or other fixed accommodation, employers need to provide portable private facilities that have secure storage and seating.

Employers must consult with employees when deciding whether the facilities are adequate for the welfare of all employees, so far as is reasonably practicable.  OHS Act s35(1)(c)

If the change roooms at your workplace fall short of the above requirements we encourage you to correspond in writing with your employer, remembering it’s always a good idea to keep your DWG in the loop and seek their endorsement before making representations on their behalf.

Raise the above requirements with your employer and together work out a way forward so the change rooms can be brought up to scratch.

Knowing our rights is only half the battle of course – we’ve got to have the power to enforce our rights under the law, and the priciples of health and safety, and in a way that maintains a good working relationship with our employer.

We strongly encourage members to contact their Union for expert advice and representation, guidance and ongoing support.  

 

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