New Item: Workplace sexual assault reforms for ACT – Canberra Weekly

Changes to workplace health and safety laws were passed in the ACT Legislative Assembly yesterday, including a new rule requiring employers to report sexual assault incidents to WorkSafe ACT.

Mick Gentleman, ACT Minister for Industrial Relations and Workplace Safety, said all forms of workplace violence, including sexual assault, are absolutely unacceptable.

“Protecting workers is central to what we do,” Mr Gentleman said.

“Historically, there has been a gap in legislation around the country that has meant workplace regulators, like WorkSafe ACT, have only had to be notified of workplace sexual assault incidents if there was a hospital admission or medical treatment provided. This should not be the case.

“Every employee in every business operating in the ACT is now protected by our new law. It means that employers must formally notify WorkSafe ACT as soon as they become aware of a sexual assault incident in their workplace.

“This reform is an important step forward in addressing psychosocial hazards in the workplace.

“The ACT Government is working on broader reforms to address the impacts of psychological illnesses and injuries at work. This will include a code of practice for managing psychosocial hazards in the workplace, which we’re aiming to introduce next year.

Other changes passed in the Legislative Assembly include a ban on businesses insuring against their liability for work health and safety fines and penalties, and clarifications for management about safety responsibilities.

“We are committed to making the ACT to be the safest place to work in Australia,” Mr Gentleman said.

Source: Ross Arrowsmith