Australia's recovery from COVID-19 has the earmarks of an industrial safety disaster, but also presents an unprecedented opportunity for WHS professionals to become a trusted voice in their organisations going forward, a leading safety lawyer says.
New laws accelerating workers' access to COVID-19-related compensation and easing constraints on damages claims have been flagged for Western Australia. The State has also revised the start date for its mobile phone distraction crackdown, and called for comments on an anti-violence Code for workplaces.
A worker's psychiatric injury was not caused by her stressful personal history, as contended by her employer, but a violent workplace confrontation that "reignited" a previous work-related condition she never fully recovered from, a tribunal has found.
A worker's exchange with inadequately trained supervisors in the aftermath of a violent altercation aggravated his PTSD from the incident, a court has found in ordering his employer to pay him more than $350,000 in damages.
The fact that a psychologically injured worker used her treatment sessions to "vent" about her day-to-day life stressors, rather than learn self-management skills, did not diminish the link between her condition and a 2004 work incident, the Federal Court has found.
A major employer has been given the green light to remove an enclosed "safe space" from its workplace, despite workers claiming they rely on it to retreat from abusive customers and threats from members of the public.
Employers planning to introduce new safety or health-monitoring procedures are required to consult with health and safety representatives and workers on the issue of gendered violence, and must not wait for formal reports of gendered violence incidents before addressing the matter, new guidelines warn.
The national inquiry into workplace s-xual harassment has recommended the model WHS laws be amended to control psychosocial risks, in line with the Boland review, and that a WHS Code of Practice on s-xual harassment be developed.