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Forums / Staying well / Occupational Health & Safety (OHS)

Topic: Occupational Health & Safety (OHS)

8 posts, 0 answered
  1. SapereAude
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    20 May 2020

    Occupational Health & Safety (OHS)

    The current pandemic has caused me to give greater thought to occupational health and safety as more of us return to work and education.

    A few people I have been chatting with have expressed feelings of anxiety over returning to work and how they can feel that their return to work is safe and noneventful.

    Whilst not Covid-19 specific, workplaces can both cause and assist mental health issues, including anxiety.

    Noting that legislation is different between states, a good starting point is Safework Australia. It also includes links to the different states and territories information.

    I’m in Victoria.

    Firstly, I would like to see a direct section addressing mental health in our occupational health and safety laws.

    What are you thoughts?

  2. uncut_gems
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    21 May 2020 in reply to SapereAude

    Hi SapereAude,

    I think you raise a really important point. Up until this point, many of us have been navigating this crisis using our own best judgment and practices, but as people are asked/forced to return to work, we will be forced up against the decisions of our employers and fellow workers. I'm not very familiar with Australian workplace safety regulations, but I totally agree that the workplace plays a huge role in not only safeguarding the health and safety of the workers (i.e. protecting from infection), but in making people feel safe, comfortable, and reassured.

    In the coming days and weeks as we get back to work, it will become clear just how much power our workplaces wield in influencing our mental health. Did you have any specific concerns about your own job/industry? I would be interested to hear how others are thinking about this. Great idea for a thread.

    Cheers,

    Gems

    1 person found this helpful
  3. SapereAude
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    22 May 2020 in reply to uncut_gems

    Hi Gems,

    Thanks for the reply. I’m not too worrried about my return to work with Coronavirus restrictions are lifted (but not complacent either). I’m lucky that our desks are partitioned off with quite a bit of space to my neighbour and that there isn’t a huge amount of interaction between people at work (except for lunch maybe).

    I’m interested in seeing improved mental health in the workplace though and I think more needs to be done through OHS legislation to ensure it gets the attention it deserves.

    Take care.

  4. SapereAude
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    29 July 2020

    Hi everyone,

    Many of us have continued to work through the pandemic from our workplace or from home. Some may have been stood down and then returned to work. Others may sadly be unemployed.

    Would you care to share your experience from an OHS perspective with the rest of us? Both good and bad are fine. Hopefully we can learn from and support each other in ensuring our workplaces are safe, both physically and mentally in these challenging times and beyond.

    Take care.

  5. uncut_gems
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    29 July 2020 in reply to SapereAude

    Hi SapereAude,

    Thanks for reviving this thread– apologies for not responding sooner. This is a hugely important point. Unfortunately due to a regulation from my home uni I was called back to WFH full-time, but the couple of weeks I was back in my office I was generally quite impressed with how things were handled:

    - hand sanitizer and disposable masks widely available at entrances, exits, and common areas

    - good coordination with HR about who was in what office in the building on what day, good record-keeping, etc.

    - ALL meetings still online, even if individual office work returns to in-person

    - signposting about maximum number of occupants per office/room/workspace

    - staying home at the slightest hint of illness

    - free flu jabs

    There were a few times I saw people socializing during lunch where the physical distancing was less than ideal, but in general I thought they ran a tight ship. Interested to hear the experiences of others!

    Gems

  6. SapereAude
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    1 August 2020

    For those in VIC

    https://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/news/2020-07/employers-must-notify-worksafe-covid-19-cases

  7. SapereAude
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    130 posts
    17 May 2021

    How is everyone going from an OH&S perspective this year?

    Do you feel your employer is fulfilling their obligations to complete a physically and psychologically safe workplace?

  8. Summer Rose
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    19 May 2021 in reply to SapereAude

    Hi SapereAude

    This year is much better for my business from an OHS perspective.

    Covid Safe planning was initially quite challenging, requiring a real shift in thinking about the new risks and a need for additional resources to manage change programs to ensure compliance with constantly evolving government requirements. At the same time, revenue was falling due to the impact of the global pandemic on supply chains. Staff were fearful and anxiety levels were elevated.

    To sum up, from an OHS perspective 2020 was very difficult. Thankfully, our state regulator and government was helpful and supportive throughout the year.

    Fast forward to now and Covid Safe plans are routine. Trading conditions have improved. From a mental health perspective, I feel there has been some improvement.

    So far, 2021 is much better. However, Covid complacency has crept in so the new challenge is to maintain engagement with safety measures and programs.

    Kind thoughts to you

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