Australian federal work health and safety regulator Comcare has highlighted several occupational health and safety issues, including bullying and drug and alcohol harm at work, in its Work Health and Safety Plan for the current financial year.
According to a report from Comcare, the plan commits to improving work health and safety across federal employers by focusing on four key priority areas: worker health, preventing harm, stronger enforcement, and a smooth transition to national work health and safety laws.(WCxKit)
Comcare’s Work Health and Safety General Manager, Neil Quarmby, said this is a major change in the way Comcare delivers its services.
“Our new regulation model highlights the importance of preventing workplace injuries. This year we’ll deliver strong enforcement outcomes, but also commit to stopping workers getting harmed in the first place,” Quarmby said.
This includes an initiative to target federal employers with poor workplace cultures with relation to drug and alcohol harm.
Also on the agenda is a workplace bullying campaign which will address the recent growth in mental stress claims.
“We’re targeting workplaces where bullying is just ‘how things work,’ and we’ll be working with employers where alcohol harm is a known risk in the workplace. We’re sending the message that it is not OK — that it’s unacceptable,” Quarmby says.
Harmonized work health and safety laws due to start on Jan. 1, 2012, are also a major priority. Comcare will re-train its inspectors to exercise new powers under the laws, such as providing assistance to victims and families involved in workplace harm.(WCxKit)
Quarmby adds harmonization will reduce red tape on a national level and help regulators such as Comcare improve the way it deals with workplace incidents.
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