Safety ranks above a Worker’s right to work.
Australia, the lucky country, goes out of its way to protect workers from unscrupulous employers. The country’s Industrial Relations laws enshrine a workers right’s to get paid correctly, have reasonable conditions and to keep your job. Even when you are doing a bad job, your employer has to give you the opportunity to improve your performance and keep your job.
Stupidity is not a ‘Protected Right’
What those same laws don’t protect is a worker’s right to be stupid, in terms of their own safety and the safety of others around them. In the past, hopefully the past, shearers may have tampered safety-clutches in hand-pieces in order to shear a couple more a run. Yesterday there was an incident reported that workers thought it was a great idea to work in thongs or in some cases bare feet. When the job overseer told them to put shoes on, they ignored the instruction.
The messages in this post are simple.
- A shearing shed is a very dangerous place with one of the highest work-place injury and incident ratings.
- Workers need to follow instructions or lose their job: Not following directions from the employer or the supervisor, with regard to health and safety in the shearing shed, will result in the need to immediately stand down the worker from their job. Dismissal will result if the worker still can’t follow instructions to remedy the issue.
- ‘Window Dressing’ does not work – you can’t instruct a worker to do something and then walk away hoping they have followed your instruction. Instructing but not following up, is a worthless ‘defense’ when something goes wrong. Obviously standing down and potentially dismissing a worker will inconvenience and cost you in the short-term but this is unfortunately, a cost of running a successful and profitable business in the long term.