WorkSafe ACT ECEC service audit reveals occupational violence concerns
WorkSafe ACT released the findings of recent early childhood education and care (ECEC) service audits, during which the regulator visited 45 centres, issuing 179 improvement notices and 2 prohibition notices for work health and safety breaches.
As well as more traditional safety elements, the regulator looked into procedures, policies and practices designed to protect educators from occupational violence – occasions when someone is abused, threatened or assaulted in relation to their work.
Conducted between 2 November 2020 and 31 March 2021, the initiative was part of a proactive campaign to improve worker safety at ECEC services, with the 2 prohibition notices being issued in relation to safety risks from exposed wires on an electrical power board and a damaged lead on a vacuum.
“When our inspectors visited these centres, they found a range of work health and safety issues which put workers at risk,” ACT Work Health and Safety Commissioner Jacqueline Agius said.
“Trending issues included not having procedures to safely store chemicals (such as cleaning products), no safety data sheets about hazardous chemicals and not regularly testing and tagging electrical equipment.
Auditors were also concerned that a number of centres didn’t have procedures in place to handle situations of occupational violence.
“By having these processes in place, employers can help prevent or minimise the risks of violence and aggression towards staff members,” Ms Agius explained.
“Employers are reminded they have a duty to protect their staff, and one way they can do this, is by assessing workplace risks and implementing safe systems of work.”
For support and advice about developing occupational violence policies, please see here.