Work Shouldn't Hurt - Nation wide Survey Report

  • 9 October 2019

Unfortunately we have seen a series of serious workplace injuries and fatalities which have received significant public attention in the last several years.

When reported in this way these incidents can appear to be outliers, the tragic consequence of managerial mistakes or negligence.

What this survey shows is that for more than 25,000 respondents – a representative sample of the Australian workforce – a career without workplace injuries is the exception not the norm.

Since the release of the Work Shouldn’t Hurt work health and safety survey, we’ve been talking to members across the country about what the results mean for them, their families and their community.

It doesn’t matter where we go or who we talk to, one thing is clear - our work health and safety laws aren’t working the way that they should be.

The survey shows that most workers are aware of serious threats to their physical and mental health which are being tolerated or ignored by employers:

  • 79 percent of people have suffered a mental or physical injury at work;
  • 55 percent are aware of existing hazards in their workplace which could cause serious injury or illness;
  • 79 percent do not believe penalties are sufficient enough to force employers to take safety seriously;
  • 61 percent have experienced poor mental health because their employer did not manage a hazard in their workplace.

If you haven't had the chance to have a look at the Work Shouldn’t Hurt survey report, you can download it by clicking here.

Australian Unions have actively been highlighting the need to address sexual harassment at work.

Last year, we ran an online survey, nearly 10,000 people participated, more than half of those respondents had experienced sexual harassment at their most recent workplace, or at a previous workplace.

Everyone should be able to go to work without being subjected to discrimination, harassment, or violence but we found that for many women this isn’t a reality.

Sexual harassment is a workplace issue and should be able to be addressed through workplace laws. Workers who complain need access to fair, effective and efficient complaints mechanisms. Our workplace health and safety laws and regulators must treat sexual harassment as a serious safety issue.

We’re now working with members on the campaign to tighten health and safety laws, to make employers more accountable for managing both physical and mental health hazards, and to stop workers from getting hurt. This means better rights for health and safety representatives, new regulations that deal with mental health hazards and tougher penalties for employers if people are injured or killed at work.

Over the next few months, Australian Unions will be placing pressure on state and territory governments to adopt key recommendations from the recent review into our model work health and safety laws. We will be keeping all active supporters up-to-date on the progress of the campaign through our regular Work Health and Safety Update. Please let us know if you have any feedback on the content or questions by emailing us.

Thank you for joining us in the fight for safer, healthier workplaces.

Liam O'Brien
Assistant Secretary, ACTU