Safe Work Australia have released new guidance materials to support businesses in understanding how to prevent and respond to sexual harassment and how to manage the risk of violence and aggression in the workplace, including gendered violence.
Executive Director SafeWork SA, Martyn Campbell said the new guides, which SafeWork SA has collaborated and provide input on, reflect sexual harassment and assault as an emerging work health safety risk.
“There has been significant increase in discussions with a focus in recognising the responsibility of businesses to protect workers from sexual harassment and assault as an occupational hazard.
Sexual harassment and gendered violence can take place in any workplace or industry. We need to take these incidents as seriously as other work health safety risks.
Managing the risks of sexual harassment and gendered violence should be part of a holistic approach to work health and safety”, said Mr Campbell.
These guides support the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA), which requires employers to provide a safe workplace, take care of staff's physical and psychological well-being and take steps to recognise, assess and control hazards.
Employers are responsible for the actions of staff unless they can show that they have taken reasonable steps to prevent the risk of sexual harassment and to deal with it properly if it happens.
The information in these guides is based on the model Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws. The Model Law has been implemented in all jurisdictions, except Victoria.
“The guides provide clear and helpful advice to workers and business in understanding how they can manage and control the risks associated with these types of incidents
“I strongly encourage businesses and workers to read the new guides and understand how to best provide a safe working environment for everyone”, said Mr Campbell.