New codes of practice tackle inappropriate work behaviours

  • Three codes of practice launched today covering inappropriate workplace behaviours
  • Codes are result of extensive consultation with industry, unions and community 
  • The State Government today launched three Codes of Practice covering a wide range of inappropriate workplace behaviours.

    These codes provide guidance to deal with difficult and challenging issues where workers are the subject of inappropriate workplace behaviours. They are:  

    • The Code of Practice on Workplace Behaviour – covering misconduct, prolonged conflict, discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment and bullying;
    • The Code of Practice on Psychosocial Hazards in the Workplace – including: violence, aggression, fatigue, burnout, stress and trauma; and
    • The Code of Practice on Violence and Aggression at Work – provides guidance where workers may be exposed to physical assault, verbal abuse, threats, intimidation and harassment. 

    Since 2014, Western Australia has operated under a Code of Practice on Violence, Aggression and Bullying. The three modernised codes ensure that more inappropriate workplace behaviours are adequately considered. 

    The codes were created by the WA Commission for Occupational Safety and Health, which includes the Chamber of Minerals and Energy WA, Unions WA and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA. They were developed following increasing concerns in various WA industries.

    While in the hospitality and entertainment industries, there has been increased cases of abuse towards staff following the mask and COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

    The new codes follow the McGowan Government’s $1.9 million Mental Awareness, Respect and Safety program, which was launched to address workplace sexual harassment and assault in the mining industry.

    For more information, visit https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/worksafe/mentally-healthy-workplaces-codes-practice

    As stated by Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston:

    “The McGowan Government regards mental and physical health in workplaces as a major priority and is committed towards improving safety protocols for WA workers.

    “Inappropriate behaviours are unacceptable in any workplace, and these codes provide practical risk management guidance that can be tailored to the unique demands of each workplace.

    “Managing psychosocial hazards is the responsibility of employers, but it can be extremely challenging and a proactive and comprehensive approach is needed, hence these very specific codes.”

    As stated by Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA CEO Chris Rodwell:

    “The new codes provide WA businesses with more certainty about the steps they can take to provide a safe workplace.

    “Businesses have continued to become more active and alert to the management of adverse mental health, and the codes provide practical guidance for businesses to follow on a number of issues.”

    As stated by Chamber of Minerals and Energy WA CEO Paul Everingham:

    “CME and its member companies welcome the release today of these three psychosocial codes.

    “Ensuring our people are safe at work – both physically and psychologically – is always the No. 1 priority for the WA mining and resources sector, and a number of national reviews have highlighted the need for further guidance across all industries from WHS regulators around psychosocial risks and hazards in the workplace.

    “We have made it clear that any instance of sexual harassment or assault, bullying and discrimination is absolutely unacceptable. CME members will now use the codes to review the systems and processes they currently have in place, and make sure they are taking a holistic, coordinated and risk-based approach to such issues.

    “On behalf of our sector, I’d like to thank Minister Bill Johnston and the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety for the large volume of work that has been put into a framework that will be of significant assistance to a range of industries.”

    As stated by UnionsWA Secretary Owen Whittle:

    “Modernising our codes to include better protection for working people from harassment, violence and bullying will be important for those most at risk, especially working women, young people, and those from diverse backgrounds.

    “A Code of Practice focused on psychological health is very welcome and important for those who experience work-related stress arising from insecure jobs, and high workloads as well as those who witness traumatic events or are exposed to other people’s traumatic experience.

    “These codes build on already significant work done by the State Government to protect workers and introduce better Work, Health and Safety Laws.”

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