Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Workplace Stress and the Law

Stress gets to us all at work, to varying degrees of course. For some people it brushes off like the proverbial water from a duck’s back, but for many it’s debilitating and requires time off work. In fact according to Work Safe Victoria, stress is the second most common cause of compensation claims in Australia, after manual handling. Specialist employment law solicitor Glenn Duker takes a look at the responsibilities of the employer and the employee in maintaining a workplace environment that is less likely to result in workers taking stress leave and making claims for compensation.

Glenn Duker

 The responsibilities of employer and employee

Employers have a legal obligation to provide, as far as is reasonably practicable, a safe workplace that does not jeopardise an employee’s physical or psychological health. The employer must remove any risks to safety, so far as is reasonably practicable, or at the very least reduce them to their ‘safest’ possible level. Victorian OHS laws stipulate that employers are responsible for the physical and psychological health and safety of all workers on the premises, including contractors and labour hire personnel. This means you are responsible for any staff on your premises whether they’re associates, admin, or someone contracted for a short period of time.

On the other side of the coin are the employees, who have a responsibility to look after their own health and that of their colleagues who might be affected by your work. The employee is also obligated to cooperate with the employer’s efforts to maintain a stress free, safe workplace for all. This might include undertaking training, adhering to workplace health and safety policies and procedures, and identifying potential hazards in the workplace.

This is a very abridged description of the Government regulations regarding workplace stress; click here to read them in full detail. If you’re seeking legal advice on any workplace law matters, whether you’re an employer or employee, make an appointment with lawyer Glenn Duker today.

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