Home - Protecting your workers from violence

UpdatesAug 14, 2020

Protecting your workers from violence

An employer’s obligation to protect staff from acts of violence was highlighted in a recent South Australian case.

An employer’s obligation to protect staff from acts of violence was highlighted in a recent South Australian case, reported by the ABC News, in which a waste removal company owner was convicted of two counts of assaulting an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officer, using abusive language and two counts of hindering an EPA officer.

In 2018, EPA officers had been documenting the contents of two skip bins at sites operated by GP & Sons when they were attacked by owner Gavin Pillar. ABC News reported that one of the EPA officers had suffered physically and psychologically following the incident, and requested a transfer to a role with less public involvement.

In addition to the charges brought against Mr Pillar, GP & Sons was also charged with, and pleaded guilty to, illegally stockpiling several tonnes of asbestos at its depots during various periods in 2018.

In fining the company $49,000, the Court stated that the company had blatantly disregarded its responsibilities under the Environmental Protection Act, and had exposed the community and its own employees to potential harm.

Your duty to protect your workers

Exposure to work-related violence is identified as one of the most commonly specified sub-categories of mental stress claims in Australia. 

Safe Work Australia reports identify:

Your organisation has a duty of care to remove, or reduce, the risks associated with work-related violence. To achieve this, you should consider control measures that address the work environment, work tasks and how they are carried out, and the way work is designed and managed.

It is important that your procedures and training address the following:

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