Western Australia’s (WA) Commission for Occupational Safety and Health (COSH) is seeking feedback on the draft ‘Violence and Aggression at Work Code of Practice’. The draft code provides guidance to employees about developing plans and policies to manage and eliminate the risk of violent behaviours, such as physical assault, verbal abuse, threats and intimidation. The review was developed under the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984, after extensive consultation with employers, unions, government agencies, and health and safety experts.
“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,” Darren Kavanagh, WorkSafe WA Commissioner, said. The code will apply to all workplaces in WA, except mining and petroleum operations. Submissions will close at 5.00 pm WST, on Wednesday, 23 September 2020. Reviews can be submitted by email, using the feedback template. “As a result of the acknowledgment of this priority issue, the Commission has released this publication for public comment,” Kavanagh explained.
The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety reviewed the code of practice, taking into consideration existing research into the area, an International Labor Organisation report on the prevalence of violence in workplaces, Safe Work Australia guidance material and advice from WorkSafe WA psychosocial inspectors. In February 2020, the existing code was separated into two codes — one dealing specifically with violence and aggression and the other with bullying and harassment. The reasoning behind the creation of two codes was that violence and aggression and bullying and harassment are different hazards, requiring different mitigations.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) was not a consideration in the review of the code; however, comments are welcome with regard to the risk of family and domestic violence with increased working from home due to the pandemic. COSH is a consultative body, and it is a standard part of the process with Commission publications to consult with stakeholders and the public. All submissions received will be considered towards the final version of the document.
A copy of the draft ‘Violence and Aggression at Work Code of Practice’ is available here.
The Code of Practice on bullying and harassment is currently being developed, and will be released for consultation in the future.
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