Sexual harassment is a crime and measures to address its impact are being explored and debated at all levels. In the workplace sexual harassment is a safety risk, one that is known and needs to be managed. Safe Work Australia has released a new series of resources to assist workplaces in understanding, and responding to this risk. This weeks Safety Highlight will explore these resources.
Safe Work Australia has made available a detailed Hub of information, including definitions and general information, all aimed at assisting businesses in understanding the risk and implementing appropriate controls – https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/safety-topic/hazards/workplace-sexual-harassment
Of particular relevance is the Preventing Workplace Sexual Harassment Guidance for Small Business – https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/default/files/2021-01/workplace_sexual_harassment_small_business_information_sheet.pdf and the very practical Steps to prevent workplace sexual harassment – https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/default/files/2021-12/Steps%20to%20reduce%20workplace%20sexual%20harassment_infographic_Nov21.pdf
“The Safe Work Australia resources are a great place to start with what can be a difficult topic to approach in a workplace setting” outlines ACAPMAs Elisha Radwanowski.
“The new resources on the Safe Work Australia Hub are worker focused and they open the door for a conversation in the workplace. Sexual harassment can be hard to talk about, but it is a workplace risk and like all risks, the risk elimination management and control outcomes are better if the business and the workers are able to talk about the risks and build systems to identify and respond to incidents and near misses” explains Elisha.
“Even in ‘robust’ environments there are situations, comments and decisions that are, not necessarily ‘over’ the line, but they may be ‘approaching’ the line, it is at that point that it is really helpful to consider that interaction/comment/decision as a near miss from a workplace sexual harassment risk perspective, and to respond to it as an opportunity to clarify the line for all BEFORE anyone crosses it” continues Elisha.
The New Resources
Visit the Safe Work Australia hub or see the links below for the new resources;
Here to Help
Safety Highlights are things to consider, implement and watch out for in your business. They are provided as general information for you to consider and do not constitute advice. You should seek further advice on your situation by contacting your legal advisor. ACAPMA members can access resources and receive advice, guidance and support from the ACAPMA employment professionals via firstname.lastname@example.org , it is free for members. ACAPMA Membership delivers this and more benefits, see; https://acapma.com.au/membership/ for more information.
Elisha Radwanowski BCom(HRM&IR)