Occupational health, safety, compensation and rehabilitation policy
All education workers are entitled to the highest level of safety possible‚ full compensation and effective rehabilitation and return to work processes when work related illness and injuries occur. This resolution was passed by AEU Branch Conference in August 2007.
- Education workers
- Discrimination and bullying
- Employer responsibilities
- Role of the regulator
- Rehabilitation and return to work
All education workers are entitled to the highest level of safety possible‚ full compensation and effective rehabilitation and return to work processes when work related illness and injuries occur.
Regardless of jurisdiction‚ no changes to occupational health and safety‚ compensation and rehabilitation laws are to ever result in a diminution of rights and entitlements.
Workers must not be adversely affected by any employer moving between jurisdictions in relation to their OHS and workers compensation entitlements. Any proposed move between jurisdictions will only occur following genuine consultation and agreement with workers and their representatives and a process of public review.
Any health‚ safety‚ compensation and rehabilitation framework will include the best of Australian laws‚ be consistent with ACTU OHS and Workers Compensation Policy and be consistent with the best international standards.
All workers have the right to join a genuine trade union. Union organised workplaces are safer workplaces.
1. Education workers
Every worker has the right to:
- A safe workplace free of risk
- Enjoy retirement without suffering adverse consequences of workplace injury or illness
- Enjoy the same level of protection‚ representation‚ compensation and rehabilitation‚ regardless of the jurisdiction within which they work
- The highest level of protection to prevent injury‚ illness and disease both physical and psychological
- Take collective action over any health and safety matter‚ including the right to cease unsafe or unhealthy work
- Be consulted and involved in issues and decisions affecting their health‚ safety and welfare.
Every worker has the right to be represented on health‚ safety‚ compensation‚ rehabilitation and return to work issues by their elected Workplace Health and Safety Representative and their relevant Union.
Unions have the right to enter workplaces on health and safety issues‚ the right to investigate breaches of health and safety laws‚ to represent members and prospective members and to initiate prosecutions for occupational health and safety breaches.
Every worker has the right to elect health and safety representatives. Representatives have the right to:
- Be democratically elected‚ by a process determined by workers‚ or their representative
- Utilise rights and powers to represent workers on health and safety matter‚ inspect the workplace‚ access to relevant information‚ be informed of all incidents‚ be consulted by the employer before workplace changes occur that may affect health and safety‚ issue notices when breaches are detected‚ call in government inspectors‚ direct workers to cease work where there is a belief of immediate risk to health and safety‚ and seek resolution of health and safety issues
- Perform all OHS activities on paid time and have adequate facilities and resources including human resources and access to consultants
- Be protected by law from discrimination‚ harassment‚ bullying‚ intimidation and prosecution
- Access to training of their choice which is paid by their employer
- Appeal any decision of a regulator or court regarding any health and safety‚ compensation or rehabilitation matter.
All workers (or prospective workers)‚ including health and safety representatives‚ will be protected by law from discrimination‚ harassment‚ bullying or detriment to their employment because they have raised a health and safety issue or been involved in consultation on workplace health and safety matters.
Persons who manage workplaces have an absolute duty of care without limitation‚ to provide and maintain safe and healthy work environments‚ that is‚ this duty of care cannot be delegated. Employers will not shift jurisdictions to attempt to avoid their OHS and workers compensation responsibilities and obligations.
5. Role of regulator
OHS law must be effectively enforced by regulators in all jurisdictions. The regulator must also provide information‚ support and advise all workplace parties‚ ensure that workplace representatives are supported and protected and bring prosecutions in a timely‚ appropriate and courageous manner. Regulators will actively monitor self-insuring companies and ensure transparency of their workers compensation systems.
An inspectorate must be adequately resourced‚ pro-active and willing to fulfil an enforcement role as well as an advisory role.
All workers have the right to a just and equitable compensation system‚ following a physical or psychological injury‚ which promotes the best medical and like support‚ the most effective rehabilitation for injured workers and facilitates a safe return to work that offers genuine job security.
Workers' compensation standards are to:
- Be available to all members of the workforce
- Provide compensation for all injuries that arise including during travel and recreation breaks
- Be available upon the death of a worker and for dependants of that worker
- Be based on the 100% replacement of loss of income
- Provide total cost of medical rehabilitation and other related expenses
- Provide lump sum compensation for permanent disability
- Ensure common law rights
- Support rehabilitation and return to work
- Ensure that workers are entitled to timely and effective claim determination and dispute resolution processes
- Ensure the worker has access to the doctor of their choice
- Not be eroded by companies seeking to self-insure in order to obtain lower OHS and workers compensation entitlements for workers.
7. Rehabilitation and return to work
All workers have the right to a sustainable return to safe‚ suitable work‚ following the provision of quality rehabilitation services‚ commensurate to their need.
Employers need to ensure that:
- Trained Return to Work Co-ordinators be designated to be responsible for developing‚ implementing and monitoring each employee's Return to Work plan. They will operate as a link between supervisors‚ colleagues and the treating health professional and the injured worker
- The return to work process to be implemented as soon as possible after the injury. The development of the return to work plan to be guided by medical advice from the workers' treating medical practioner
- The length of the return to work plan is suited to the individual's needs and based on medical advice
- If and when it is determined that the employee will require the services of a rehabilitation provider‚ that employee is kept informed in an appropriate manner of all necessary information and is consulted on all decisions either directly or via their representative
- Appropriate suitable duties‚ including modified or alternative duties which do not jeopardise the well being of the employee‚ other employees or students will be provided as part of the return to work plan. If it requires relocation for appropriate duties to be provided‚ this will be considered in consultation with the employee and their representative.
— Determined by AEU Victorian Branch Conference, August 11, 2007