Public comment sought – Code of Practice on Violence and Aggression at Work

WA’s Commission for Occupational Safety and Health is seeking public comment on a revised Code of Practice on Violence and Aggression at Work.

Since 2014, the State has operated under a Code of Practice on Violence, Aggression and Bullying, but the Commission’s Legislative Advisory Committee made the decision to separate this into two Codes – one dealing specifically with violence and aggression and the other with bullying and harassment.

Early this month, the Commission endorsed the draft violence and aggression Code and agreed to a three-month public consultation period. A separate Code of Practice on Bullying and Harassment is being developed and will also be released for consultation in the future.

The Code of Practice on Violence and Aggression at Work focuses on the general principles of prevention and management of violence and aggression in the workplace. The intent is to provide guidance for workplaces where workers may be exposed to violence and aggression such as physical assault, verbal abuse, threats, intimidation and harassment.

It includes information on hazard identification and risk assessment for incidents involving violence and/or aggression, and contains a checklist that can be used to identify areas of potential improvement in managing these issues.

WorkSafe Western Australia Commissioner Darren Kavanagh said today it was gratifying to note that the members of the Commission all agreed on the importance of the Code.

“The Commission for Occupational Safety and Health is made up of the main stakeholders in workplace safety and health in WA, and it has recognised that this is an extremely important issue,” Mr Kavanagh said.

“As a result of the acknowledgment of this priority issue, the Commission has produced a publication on which it is now seeking public comment.”

Trade union body UnionsWA expressed agreement on the importance of the Code, saying that violence and aggression was unacceptable no matter where it occurred, and that violence towards workers that caused both psychological and physical harm was increasing.

They said that the Commission for Occupational Safety and Health had correctly identified this as a priority issue and had produced a draft of a practical code to improve safety outcomes for working people.

Employer association Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA agreed that the Code was a positive step, saying it was a sad reality that employers in many industries had to take steps to protect employees from violence by members of the public.

They said the Code reinforced the positive contribution unions, employers and the regulator can make to improving safety by working together.

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