A new regulatory Code of Practice has been developed to address the prevention and management of inappropriate workplace behaviour.
The draft Code of Practice has been developed by Western Australia’s Commission for Occupational Safety and Health. It focuses on the general principles applied to preventing and managing inappropriate or unreasonable workplace behaviour.
This behaviour includes prolonged conflict, discrimination, bullying, sexual harassments, threats, and intimidation.
According to the latest draft Code, inappropriate or unreasonable workplace behaviour can be prevented through a risk management approach.
“Some hazards and risk factors relate to the job as a whole, such as organisational change or workplace conflict, whereas others may be relevant to some tasks. To address this, a systematic approach is required to achieve effective control,” the document says.
Controls can be ranked from the highest level of protection and reliability to the lowest. This ranking is known as the hierarchy of control.
“Elimination controls are the most effective and reliable form of control, followed by risk minimisation controls (engineering, substitution and isolation) then administrative and personal protective equipment (PPE) controls.”
“To minimise the risk to as low as reasonably practicable, employers should apply elimination controls supplemented by risk minimisation, administrative and PPE controls.”
The draft Code provides the following examples for eliminating the hazard of inappropriate or unreasonable behaviour in circumstances where the exact reason or source can be pinpointed: developing and maintaining a positive workplace culture; clarifying workers’ roles and responsibilities; reviewing and adjusting staffing levels; and setting achievable performance targets.
Since 2014 workplace violence and inappropriate behaviour have been covered in a single OHS Code of Practice, but the Commission decided it was best to address the issues across two documents.
The new draft Code of Practice is intended to be read in conjunction with general duties under the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984, and with the approved draft Code of Practice that was released for feedback last year.
Western Australia’s new Work Health and Safe Act is expected to take effect in January 2022 and the Codes will automatically transfer to the new legislation.
The new draft Code of Practice is open for comment until 30 August.
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