Thousands of workers are injured each year in Australia Post and sometimes killed. The cost to Post is a $120 million liability on their balance sheet with $11.3 million for claims in 2012/13 and $10 million for 2011/12. But the cost to workers, their families and the community is far greater.
This raises serious concerns about workplace safety especially at a time when there are big job cuts which will have the effect of making workers more reticent to speak up against unsafe, unhealthy and unacceptable working conditions.
We have posters and slogans ‘Stop Think Do’, urging workers to take care, wear protective equipment, lift loads the correct way, obey all safety instructions - the clear implication at present is that if anything goes wrong then it’s the fault of the worker.
Workers are also threatened with formal counselling because they injured themselves. Little wonder health and safety is often associated with discipline and punishment.
This is the exact opposite of what should happen. Workers need to be able to speak up in the workplace.
Only the union can help workers speak up for health and safety. Your union is addressing workplace issues such as, safe work durations and task rotation on the new parcel sorting equipment that suits workers not just Post and the introduction of equipment to assist with manual handling in the parcel bullring areas.
We must act to ensure that we have CWU elected and CWU trained HSRs because workers equipped by the union with knowledge and skills to negotiate good health and safety protections in their workplace are safer. And because Post can do a lot better than it is currently.