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2014-10-27

Post work health and safety policy fundamentally flawed

CWU National Office has told Australia Post that its revised Work Health and Safety policy is fundamentally flawed.

The main reasons for this view are as follows:

No preventative strategy in the policy that focuses on work systems.

There are well known risks to worker health and safety in Post. These can be reduced through better design of work systems. Research shows the overwhelming majority of workplace accidents are as a result of poor work environment and poor work processes. But the policy makes no mention of these things.

The focus in the policy is on individual behaviour.

But safe behaviour and safety leadership programs etc will not make inherently unsafe conditions safe. For example, safe behaviour will not make long hours on a motorcycle safe. The working environment is controlled by Post and this should be the focus of policy and improvements. Safe workplaces come from identifying and removing hazards, not enforcing safe behaviours to work around the hazard.

The policy fails to recognise the Australia Post Health and Safety Agreement 2013, the rights of workers and the role of unions in the Agreement.

The Health and Safety Agreement 2013 enables workers to be involved collectively through their union in jointly determining with Post what defines safe and healthy workplaces. The Agreement gives workers vital rights and recognises the important role the union plays in improving people’s safety at work. But no mention of the OHS Agreement and the rights contained therein.

The draft policy fails to recognise HSRs.

Australia Post must consult elected HSRs on how it will meet its duty to provide a healthy and safe workplace. HSRs recognise risks often long before management accept the risk even exists. But no mention of HSRs and their rights.

In the union’s view, the policy in its current form could not possibly give comfort to the Australia Post Board that health and safety is being properly managed in this known high hazard industry.

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