SafeWork SA has launched a proactive audit program that will focus on retail businesses across the state, where businesses will be required to demonstrate that they have appropriate policies and procedures to address aggressive customers in the workplace, as well as appropriate training of staff in how to respond to aggressive customers instore.

The safety blitz is in response to an increasing amount of aggression across all retail sectors, and will not be confined to the metropolitan areas.  Business operators across both metro and regional areas will be asked to show SafeWork SA inspectors that they have policies, procedures and training to address this risk to staff.

“Work-related violence and aggression are common in the retail sector and includes any incident in which a worker is verbally abused, threatened or physically assaulted in circumstances relating to their work,” the regulator said.

“Work-related violence can cause both physical and psychological harm to workers, and result in significant economic and social costs to them, their family, the business where they work and the wider community,” it said.

ACAPMA has, in response to the industry wide increase in aggression, provided a FREE online course for fuel retail staff:  Managing Aggression –

“Unacceptable and Un-Australian, that is the only way to describe the continuing tide of customer aggression that retail staff are facing nation wide.  After a long 18 months of fear, change, rules and stress customers are taking their frustrations out on retail staff.  In the fuel industry these are staff that have turned up, every day throughout the pandemic, to ensure that the community was able to access this essential service…and now they are copping a serve from frustrated customers every single day.  And it is going beyond eye rolling and name calling, with some instances and incidents triggering taskforce responses” explains ACAPMAs Elisha Radwanowski.

The issue of aggression is not new, a few short weeks into the pandemic panic buying and fear caused a wave of aggression that was not only front page news, but front of mind for all essential retail workers – and  However the now extremely sustained and sometimes increasing nature of this wave of aggression has resulted in many incidents and a growing feeling of unease with workers.  Some areas, like the Northern Territory, are facing situations that go well beyond aggression and into Security Situations –

 “The ACAPMA Retail Security Forum is actively working with the Northern Territory stakeholders on addressing those elevated concerns, however there was a keen desire to provide dedicated, industry specific aggression training for all staff nationally.  Aggression is included in the ACAPMA Petroleum Convenience Compliance course, which reaches almost 20,000 staff, but aggression is woven throughout the more detailed Security and Armed Robbery Module.  This mini module on Aggression is targeted and focused on understanding, curbing and responding to aggression” continued Elisha.

 “The full Petroleum Convenience Compliance or PCC course covers everything from tobacco compliance to workplace rights, forecourt safety, food handling, LPG safety, fire response, competition compliance and environmental management, as well as the security and armed robbery module.  Averaging at about 6 hours the PCC is a detailed immersive online course that is designed to provide new and experienced console operators with an understanding of the compliance requirements as well as the risks, hazards and controls when working on a fuel site.  The Aggression Mini Module is not as detailed or lengthy, but does serve as a focused exploration of real world strategies that staff can use, and the very real situations they face in a fuel retail environment.  From fuel prices, to masks, to stock outages, aggression, like most things in our industry, is a bit different when fuel is involved” Elisha added.

 “ACAPMAs suite of custom training products is available at discounted prices for members, but this mini module will be available free to the industry” concluded Elisha.

 To register for access to the ACAPMA Aggression Mini Module email

 For more information on the ACAPMA Petroleum Convenience Compliance (PCC) course see;

 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 , it is free for members.  ACAPMA Membership delivers this and more benefits, see;  for more information.

Elisha Radwanowski BCom(HRM&IR)