The year is set to bring some positive changes in the world of health and safety, along with some great opportunities to create safer working environments for everyone.
We have all been waiting patiently for the Psychological Health Regulations set to be introduced this year. These regulations promise to provide all Victorian workplaces with the structures to be proactive about preventing psychological injuries at work. Remember: even without these regulations in place, the OH&S Act already provides rights to a safe workplace – including psychological safety.
Having an elected and trained Health and Safety Representative (HSR) who is a union member is the best start to ensuring a safe workplace. Having a strong union sub-branch with good structures that allow industrial issues to be addressed locally is also a great way to increase safety. This applies to all workplaces, whether you are in schools, TAFE, or an early childhood centre. If members would like information on electing an HSR, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
If you are an HSR, why not use the start of a new year to introduce yourself to any new staff members? Members often report that they don’t know who their HSR is. While it is a requirement under the Act to publicise to all staff who the HSR is, new staff can become overwhelmed by information.
For our school HSRs, be aware of any pre-service teachers with Permission to Teach. These staff members may need a bit of additional collegiate support to ensure they are safe in their new roles.
Throughout 2023, HSRs from all sectors will be able to meet each other and discuss issues affecting their workplaces through the AEU HSR Networks. The network meetings occur twice a term for school HSRs and once a term for TAFE HSRs.
This year will also see a lot more happening in the early childhood sector. All members listed as a HSR on our database will receive an invitation. If you haven’t heard from me, let me know and I’ll add you to the list.
All HSRs are entitled to attend an initial training course of five days and an annual refresher course, as a minimum. Has it been a while since you’ve attended a refresher? Are you a new HSR who hasn’t yet attended training? Check out the Education Specific HSR Initial Training Course and the Education Specific One-Day Refresher Courses available this year: weareunion.org.au/education_ohs_training – or get in touch with me. Learn about health and safety in an environment that is full of other HSRs working in your sector!