For everyone Safety matters: a pivotal moment

Our OHS team has been working hard to ensure we are as responsive as we can be during the COVID-19 crisis to assist our health and safety reps (HSRs) in their vital work to keep workplaces safe. 

A PIVOTAL MOMENT

Health and safety has found a renewed focus over recent months. Our OHS team (Janet Marshall and myself) have been working closely with all our sector leadership colleagues to ensure we are as responsive as we can be during this crisis to assist our health and safety reps (HSRs) in their vital work to keep workplaces safe. 

We have had direct contact with hundreds of members across all sectors through the series of safety webinars we’ve been running throughout Term 2 and 3. We are so pleased to see our webinars generate such interest, and we intend to keep using new technology to support members as quickly as possible. 

This situation has highlighted how vital it is to have elected and trained HSRs in the workplace. We are working closely with our HSRs to support them in their work on behalf of members to seek the best outcomes for their workplaces. 

In addition to our direct communication with members, the health and safety work occurring in the background at the AEU has never been more intensive. Our regular run of meetings with DET, WorkSafe and other unions has been augmented by specific consultations to ensure our members’ issues and concerns are taken into consideration when any policy decisions are made. 

We often say ‘OHS is core union business’ and this statement has never been truer than now.

AEU’s OHS organisers have joined with the early childhood team to run a webinar on OHS in the kindergarten sector and develop a fully funded, five-day HSR initial training course to be run in Term 4.

AEU TO TRAIN EC HSRs

In Term 2, we joined with the AEU’s early childhood team to run a webinar on OHS in the kindergarten sector. The webinar was hugely successful, with a large number of members attending. It became clear to us that many of our EC members find it difficult to elect and train HSRs in their workplaces, particularly in community-run kindergartens.

While the cost of training HSRs is wholly the responsibility of the employer, often community kindergartens simply don’t have sufficient flexibility in their budgets to allow for that to occur. We are pleased to say that the AEU has recognised this issue and has decided to develop a fully funded, five-day HSR initial training course to be run in Term 4. Members should now be focusing on electing HSRs at their centres.

TRADES HALL OHS CONFERENCE

Every year, many of our HSRs enjoy attending the Victorian Trades Hall Council’s annual Health and Safety Conference. Planning for this year’s conference has been affected by the current pandemic and the date has now changed to October 27.

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