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Workplace to support domestic violence survivors with additional leave

Workplace to support domestic violence survivors with additional leave

In a landmark decision 3 weeks ago, the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission decided to provide five days’ unpaid leave per annum to all employees (including casuals) experiencing family and domestic violence  which is defined as violent, threatening or other abusive behaviour by people who are, or have been in an intimate relationship.

Whilst the final model will be released 1 May, it does signify a significant change in Australian employment awards.  In their ruling, the Full Bench introduced this change by saying:

  • Almost 2.2 million Australian women have experienced family or domestic violence, or 1in 4
  • Domestic and intimate partner homicides represent the highest proportion of any category of homicides in Australia.
  • At least one woman a week is killed by a partner or former partner.
  • Family and domestic violence is the leading contributor to death, disability and ill-health among Australian women aged between 15 and 44.
    See sources for statistics here.

Fair Work also acknowledged such violence not only affects those who suffer it, but the children who are exposed to it, extended families, friends and work colleagues.  The commission also acknowledged that while men can, and do, experience family and domestic violence, such violence is a phenomenon that disproportionately affects women. This leave will be open to all.

Whilst the final model will be released on 1 May, in addition to updating company policies and informing all your Managers, we see this as an opportunity to further highlight this issue through education.   It is important to remove any stigma regarding domestic violence, the causes and impact, and importantly inform staff as to the support available through this significant change.

We encourage Work Health and Safety and Learning and Development departments to align this change to an education campaign to continue to raise the profile of this serious issue and help reduce those alarming statistics.

For more information on the ruling, click here.

SOURCE

Summary: https://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/sites/awardsmodernfouryr/2018fwcfb1691-summary.pdf

Full Decision: https://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/decisionssigned/html/2018fwcfb1691.htm#P668_52257

More from our blog

How safe is that driver next to you? A trucker’s poor health could increase crash risk

As commuters shimmy past large, lumbering trucks on the road, they may glance over and wonder, “How safe is that driver next to me?” If the truck driver is in poor health, the answer could be: Not very. Commercial truck drivers with three or more medical conditions double to quadruple their chance for being in a crash than healthier drivers, reports a new study led by investigators at the University of Utah School of Medicine in the USA.

The findings suggest that a trucker’s poor health could be a detriment not only to himself but also to others around him. “What these data are telling us is that with decreasing health comes increased crash risk, including crashes that truck drivers could prevent,” says the study’s lead author Matthew Thiese, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (RMCOEH). The results were published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Keeping healthy can be tough for truck drivers, who typically sit for long hours behind the wheel, deal with poor sleeping conditions, and have a hard time finding nutritious meals on the road. Now, examination of medical records from 49,464 commercial truck drivers finds evidence that their relatively poor health may put them at risk in more ways than one. 34 percent have signs of at least one of several medical conditions that had previously been linked to poor driving performance, from heart disease, to low back pain, to diabetes.

Matching drivers’ medical and crash histories revealed that drivers with at least three of the flagged conditions were more likely to have been involved in a crash. There were 82 truck drivers in the highest risk group, and results were calculated from millions data points reflecting their relative crash risk every day for up to seven years. The investigators found that this group was at higher risk for different categories of crashes, including accidents that caused injury, and that could have been avoided.

The rate of crashes resulting in injury among all truck drivers was 29 per 100 million miles traveled. For drivers with three or more ailments, the frequency increased to 93 per 100 million miles traveled, according to Thiese. The trends held true even after taking into consideration other factors that influence truckers driving abilities such as age and amount of commercial driving experience.

The new findings could mean that one health condition, say diabetes, is manageable but diabetes in combination with high blood pressure and anxiety could substantially increase a driver’s risk.

“Right now, conditions are thought of in isolation,” says Thiese. “There’s no guidance for looking at multiple conditions in concert.” Current commercial motor vehicle guidelines pull truckers with major health concerns from the pool but do not factor in an accumulation of multiple minor symptoms.

Considering that occupants of the other vehicle get hurt in three-quarters of injury crashes involving trucks, it’s in the public interest to continue investigating the issue, says the study’s senior author Kurt Hegmann, M.D., M.P.H., director of RMCOEH. “If we can better understand the interplay between driver health and crash risk, then we can better address safety concerns,” he says.


Story Source: Science Daily

Materials provided by University of Utah Health Sciences. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Matthew S. Thiese, Richard J. Hanowski, Stefanos N. Kales, Richard J. Porter, Gary Moffitt, Nan Hu, Kurt T. Hegmann. Multiple Conditions Increase Preventable Crash Risks Among Truck Drivers in a Cohort Study. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 2017; 1 DOI: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000937

Lack of control over high-stress jobs can lead to early grave

Academic research has found that having greater control over your job can help you manage work-related stress. But it’s never suggested that it was a matter of life and death — until now.

New research from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business in the US finds that those in high-stress jobs with little control over their workflow die younger or are less healthy than those who have more flexibility and discretion in their jobs and are able to set their own goals as part of their employment.

Using a longitudinal sample of 2,363 Wisconsin residents in their 60s over a seven-year period, they found that for individuals in low-control jobs, high job demands are associated with a 15.4 percent increase in the likelihood of death, compared to low job demands. For those in high-control jobs, high job demands are associated with a 34 percent decrease in the likelihood of death compared to low job demands.

“We explored job demands, or the amount of work, time pressure and concentration demands of a job, and job control, or the amount of discretion one has over making decisions at work, as joint predictors of death,” said Erik Gonzalez-Mulé, assistant professor of organisational behavior and human resources at the Kelley School and the paper’s lead author.

“These findings suggest that stressful jobs have clear negative consequences for employee health when paired with low freedom in decision-making, while stressful jobs can actually be beneficial to employee health if also paired with freedom in decision-making.”

The paper, “Worked to Death: The Relationships of Job Demands and Job Control With Mortality,” has been accepted for publication in the journal Personnel Psychology.

Studies exploring the work factors associated with death are largely absent from the organisational psychology and management literatures. The authors believe theirs is the first study in the management and applied psychology fields to examine the relationship between job characteristics and mortality.

Gonzalez-Mulé said the paper’s results do not suggest that employers necessarily need to cut back on what is expected from employees. Rather, they demonstrate the value in restructuring some jobs to provide employees with more say about how the work gets done.

“You can avoid the negative health consequences if you allow them to set their own goals, set their own schedules, prioritize their decision-making and the like,” he said, also recommending that firms allow “employees to have a voice in the goal-setting process, so when you’re telling someone what they’re going to do … it’s more of a two-way conversation.”

Thus, micro-managing employees can have a public health impact. Among people in the study’s sample, the researchers also found that the same set of causal relationships applied to their body mass index. People in high-demand jobs with low control were heavier than those in high-demand jobs with high control.

“When you don’t have the necessary resources to deal with a demanding job, you do this other stuff,” Gonzalez-Mulé said. “You might eat more, you might smoke, you might engage in some of these things to cope with it.”

Cancer research studies have found a correlation between eating poorly and developing the disease; at 55 percent, cancer was the leading cause of death of those in the paper’s sample. Other leading causes of death were circulatory system ailments, 22 percent; and respiratory system ailments, 8 percent.

The paper provides more reasons for those in stressful, dead-end jobs to refresh their resumes and look for other employment. Twenty-six percent of deaths occurred in people in frontline service jobs, and 32 percent of deaths occurred in people with manufacturing jobs who also reported high job demands and low control.

“What we found is that those people that are in entry-level service jobs and construction jobs have pretty high death rates, more so than people in professional jobs and office positions,” he said. “Interestingly, we found a really low rate of death among agricultural workers.”

Gonzalez-Mulé said the new study highlights the benefits of job crafting, a relatively new process that enables employees to mold and redesign their job to make it more meaningful. Other research suggests that workers who engage in job crafting are happier and are more productive than co-workers who don’t.

“In some settings, it will be difficult to do this. For a construction worker, it’s going to really hard to allow them autonomy; there’s usually just one right way to do things. In jobs like that, it’s more about just warning the employee of the risks that are here,” he said. “But with some blue-collar jobs, you can. Some people have experimented with this in factory settings, using things like flex-time and paying people based on piece-rate … showing employees what the outcome is of their work.

“There’s a lot research that shows that people who have a social connection with the beneficiaries of their work are much more satisfied and have less stress in their jobs, with no change in the job itself.”

Their study also found that people with a higher degree of control over their work tend to find stress to be useful.

“Stressful jobs cause you to find ways to problem-solve and work through ways to get the work done. Having higher control gives you the resources you need to do that,” Gonzalez-Mulé said. “A stressful job then, instead of being something debilitating, can be something that’s energizing. You’re able to set your own goals, you’re able to prioritize work. You can go about deciding how you’re going to get it done. That stress then becomes something you enjoy.”

Data in the study was obtained from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, which followed more than 10,000 people who graduated from Wisconsin high schools in 1957. They were interviewed at various time intervals over their lives, through 2011, to provide data on educational, occupational and emotional experiences. All participants in the study were employed but near the end of their careers.

Gonzalez-Mulé and Cockburn only included those who were not retired in 2004 and who responded to questions about job demands and job control, and then followed up on their responses to questions in 2011. They employed rigorous controls for factors such as demographic characteristics, socioeconomic status and affect.

Gonzalez-Mulé wonders if younger workers are better able to cope with demanding jobs, regardless of the level of control, than workers at the end of their careers. Future research could follow people at an earlier point in their careers to see if the Job Demands-Control Model accurately predicts strain over time.


Story Source: Science Daily


Journal Reference:

  1. Erik Gonzalez-Mulé, Bethany Cockburn. Worked To Death: The Relationships of Job Demands and Job Control With Mortality. Personnel Psychology, 2016; DOI: 10.1111/peps.12206

Time To Stand Up – Hazards of Sedentary Work

Time To Stand Up – Hazards of Sedentary Work

A new report from Safe Work Australia has highlighted the hazards of sedentary work.

Overall exposure to sedentary behaviour (especially prolonged, unbroken sitting time) is associated with a range of poor health outcomes, including musculoskeletal problems, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, some cancers and premature mortality.

The majority of these associations remain even after allowing for the impact of physical inactivity, thereby highlighting that sedentary behaviour and physical inactivity need to be considered as separate health hazards.

While most of the evidence to date relates to the health effects of overall sedentary behaviour, a high proportion of workers are exposed to prolonged sitting at work and there is a growing amount of evidence on adverse health effects associated with sedentary work. Sedentary work may occur in both office-based occupations as well as other occupations which may have less scope for changed postures, such as call centre staff, crane operators and truck drivers.

Sedentary behaviour is conceptually different from ‘physical inactivity’, which is the lack of sufficient moderate/vigorous intensity physical activity. The report does not include any of the numerous public health initiatives around physical inactivity or obesity.

Sedentary behaviour can take place in transport, leisure, domestic and occupational domains, and refers to ‘any waking behaviour characterized by an energy expenditure ≤1.5 metabolic equivalent of task (METs), i.e. the energy expended for an activity while in a sitting or reclining posture’. In the report, the role of the employer is limited to that of occupational exposure, and does not cover personal lifestyle choices or sedentary behaviour outside work.

How harm arises from sedentary work

The harm associated with prolonged occupational sitting is likely due to insufficient dynamic muscle activity, insufficient energy expenditure, insufficient movement, lack of postural variety, and diminished gravitational resistance.

What is considered excessive work related exposure?

Occupational sitting is common among workers, with one half of workers reporting sitting often or all of the time at work. Exposure to occupational sitting occurs across different industries and occupations.

There is no clear definition of excessive occupational sitting exposure. However, sitting for longer than 30 minutes without a mini-break, and sitting all day at work (being “too busy” to take a break) are likely to be detrimental to health. To date, assessment of occupational exposure has largely been focussed on office work environments, with limited evidence for exposure or interventions in non-office environments.

Ways to reduce prolonged sitting at work

A range of initiatives has been proposed to reduce prolonged sitting at work, including those focused on the design of safe work systems via the work environment (physical and psychosocial), work tasks, work tools and the individual worker. Multi-component interventions targeting multiple elements of work systems appear to have been most successful.

Good job design can use substitution and breaks to minimise the harm from excessive sitting at work. Safe Work Australia recently published a handbook on the Principles of Good Work Design. It contains 10 principles which demonstrate how to achieve good design of work and work processes, which are all general in nature so they can be applied to any workplace.

Simple interventions can interrupt prolonged occupational sitting by substituting sitting with non-sedentary tasks, such as switching to work on a computer at a standing workstation, standing to read a document, having a standing or walking meeting, standing while talking on the phone, or walking to deliver a message to a colleague rather than emailing. In essence, employers and workers should aim for small and frequent changes from sitting as much as possible and less time sitting in total.

Conclusion

Available evidence suggests that prolonged sitting is common in Australian workplaces. Prolonged sitting is associated with significant negative health outcomes, and is increasingly being recognised in the community as an important issue that needs attention. There have been a number of initiatives that have demonstrated some success in reducing occupational sitting exposure in some industries and occupations.

Download the full report and literature review here:
Sedentary Work – Evidence on an Emergent Work Health and Safety Issue


 

Source: Safe Work Australia
http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/about/publications/pages/literature-review-into-sedentary-work

Guidance for managing the risks of diesel exhaust: Safe Work Australia

diesel-1122312_640Guidance for managing the risks of diesel exhaust

Safe Work Australia has developed a guide and information sheet on managing the risks of diesel exhaust exposure in the workplace.

Short term exposure to high levels of diesel exhaust can cause eye, nose, throat and lung irritation or even suffocation. Long term exposure can worsen allergies, increase the risk of heart and lung disease and increase the risk of lung cancer.

Workers most likely to be exposed to diesel exhaust include drive-in booth operators, miners, construction workers, oil and gas workers, forklift drivers, loading dock workers, truck drivers, farmworkers, stevedores, and vehicle maintenance workers.

You should use this guide and information sheet if you are a worker or if you manage a worker who is exposed to or is likely to be exposed to diesel exhaust.

Download Documents

[ilink url=”http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/SWA/about/Publications/Documents/935/guidance-managing-risks-exposure-diesel-exhaust-in-the-workplace.pdf” style=”download”]Guide to managing risks of exposure to diesel exhaust in the workplace[/ilink]

[ilink url=”http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/SWA/about/Publications/Documents/935/managing-risks-diesel-exhaust-exposure-in-the-workplace-information-sheet.pdf” style=”download”]Managing risks of diesel exhaust exposure in the workplace information sheet[/ilink]

 

This guidance should be read in conjunction with the following Safe Work Australia documents:

[ilink url=”http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/about/publications/pages/managing-risks-of-hazardous-chemicals-in-the-workplace” style=”download”]Managing Risks of Hazardous Chemicals in the Workplace[/ilink]


SOURCE: http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/about/publications/pages/guidance-for-managing-the-risks-of-diesel-exhaust