03/08/2006

Code of practice for working hours

Western Australia's employment protection minister, John Bowler, has described
the State's new Code of Practice Working Hours 2006, as a unique initiative for
Australia.

The minister claims that the code is the first to address occupational safety
and health risks associated with a range of working-hours issues and across all
industries.

Certain working hours arrangements have been linked to occupational safety and
health risks, such as fatigue and impaired performance, and increased exposure
to some hazards. As with other occupational safety and health issues, employers
have a general 'duty of care' obligation to ensure that, as far as practicable,
employees are not exposed to hazards and risks that could arise from their
working hours arrangements and to address them through a systematic risk
management process.


 
This code of practice addresses issues that might potentially arise in some
working hours arrangements, for example extended hours, shiftwork and on call
work. It brings together a range of recognised workplace hazard factors that
must already be addressed, as far as practicable, where there are occupational
safety and health risks.

This code of practice is presented as a starting point for undertaking a
workplace or industry risk management process to address relevant issues where
the working hours arrangements may have occupational safety and health
considerations. As individual workplaces and industries have different working
hours arrangements, this code of practice provides high level general guidance
and recommendations on risk management. It is suggested that the risk
management approach is tailored specific to the unique demands of each
workplace and/or industry.Although many industries have developed guidelines to
suit their own requirements the new code can be applied where none currently
exists or where the existing code is inadequate or dated.

The code features risk management guidelines that can be applied by workers
themselves, and also considers the important question of fatigue.

The minister noted: "This code has been developed in response to concerns about
long working hours and their potential effects on workplace safety and health."

More info


AplusA-online.de - Source: Department of Consumer and Employment Protection