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2014-07-07

health & safety

Is Australia Post serious about health and safety?

If you are a worker and you make a small error of judgement that is a breach of health and safety then you can expect to be coded under Australia Post’s counselling and discipline policy.

But if you are a manager and wilfully breach health and safety then you can be pretty sure that you will not be disciplined.

This double standard is a reality in many Australia Post workplaces.

For example:

    • Motorcycle postie caught travelling at 8kms in facility driveway. Postie coded.
    • Manager seen talking on mobile telephone while driving Australia Post car in facility driveway. Incident reported by workers. No action taken.
    • Manager seen reversing Australia Post car into an Australia Post building. Damage to car and building. Incident reported by workers. No action taken.
    • HSRs and other workers punished when they come forward with safety hazards.

How can this happen?

Senior managers turn a blind eye to the behaviour of their managers. It is evident in the way the safety issues are dispensed with. It is evident in the way HSRs and workers who raise safety issues are punished.

What can be done?

Conflicts of interest between Australia Post and workers over health and safety may always exist. Although having a healthy and safe workplace is a management responsibility it is not a management prerogative. This means that you can be involved collectively, through your union, in health and safety. This in turn means workers electing HSRs, not management picks, and setting up local health and safety committees, not hand-picked management committees.

It is not through discipline but involving workers and their representatives in discussions over the safety of equipment, procedures and the job itself that prevents occupational injuries. You can contact us at CWUnion for help.

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