SafeWork SA recently released the report into the 2022 campaign targeting violence and aggression in hazardous industries and the results show that fuel retail locations were overrepresented in the improvement notices with a lack of clear Safe Systems of Work and a need for more tailored and documented training being the clear call outs.

Announced in July 2022 (https://acapmag.com.au/2022/07/safework-sa-auditing-retail-business-aggression-training-and-management/) the campaign ran for 7 months targeting violence and aggression in the retail sector.

The campaign saw the regulator visit 89 metro and regional retail workplaces including service stations, supermarkets, pharmacies, general retailers, alcohol retailers, department stores and fast food outlets.  The visits resulted in the issuing of 28 improvement and one expiation notice to businesses directly, as well as over 215 criminal charges to individuals pertaining to incidents involving assault, assault causing harm, theft using force, prohibited acts with human biological material, and other offences.

The report into the campaign identifies unsafe workplace layouts, and training and first-aid failings, were among the WHS issues that attracted improvement notices.

“In this case the most common reason for an improvement notice to be issued was a lack of appropriate, tailored and well documented training for workers and managers on how to deal with violence, aggression and armed robberies.  All businesses have an obligation under the work health and safety legislation to ensure that risks are reviewed and that all staff are training in the risks and hazards associated with their work, and what steps they should take to minimise or control those risks, as well as what they should do in response to an incident”, explains ACAPMAs Elisha Radwanowski.

“These areas are fundamental for businesses to detail and provide, and for a couple of years now ACAPMA has provided access to detailed, customised, free training for fuel retail businesses in this area, so it is disappointing to see that as aggression incidents have increased compliance appears to have slipped for some SA operators”, continued Elisha.

ACAPMA Aggression Mini Module – https://acapmag.com.au/2023/08/free-customer-aggression-training-for-all-acapma-members/

The other main area identified in the improvement notices was either incomplete or inadequate safe systems of work pertaining to managing aggression and violence in the workplace.

“A safe system of work is more than just a folder on a shelf, it is a live thing.  In the area of aggression and violence in a retail setting the system would involve; risk identification and review, staff training, facility design including jump wires or screens, safe rooms, duress alarms, CCTV, signage and staffing numbers.  These elements need to be considered and implemented in a mix that is appropriate to the particular risk in the particular area”, added Elisha.

“There was one other area that fuel retailers particularly need to take note of, and that is safe egress.  There were several instances of stock being stored in hallways and doorways that would prevent the safe escape of workers, and that is something that as an industry we need to be vigilant about”, noted Elisha.

Learnings for all businesses

“This report is a big reminder to all businesses nationwide to review thier systems of work and physical controls to ensure they are addressing the known increased risk of workplace aggression and violence”, said Elisha.

“ACAPMA has released a simple Factsheet on building a safe system of work regarding aggression and violence, and will shortly release a more detailed Guide with templates and case studies to assist members in ensuring compliance in this area”, concluded Elisha.

More Information

Report – https://www.safework.sa.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/945973/ViolenceInRetail2022_ClosureReport.pdf

Here to Help

ACAPMA members are reminded that the ACAPMA Employment Professionals are available to assist with employment, safety and training compliance. For more information email employment@acapma.com.au

HR Highlights are things to consider, implement and watch out for in your business. They are provided as general advice and you should seek further advice on your situation by emailing employment@acapma.com.au its free for members.

ACAPMA membership is affordable at only $860 per year for a single site and valuable with sites gaining HR and IR advice support and representation as well as a raft of other benefits and discounts.

Elisha Radwanowski BCom(HRM&IR)
ACAPMA

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