Thousands of workers across the country are expected to phone an ACTU hotline today to report how their workplace measures up in health and safety.

The phone-in follows the results of a national survey of 1200 health and safety representatives this week which found less than half Australian workplaces comply with basic health and safety procedures.

As part of the National Action Day, workers will also be exercising their legal rights to stop dangerous work, refuse unhealthy conditions and to issue a written default notice to government safety authorities if problems are not fixed.

ACTU President Sharan Burrow said the main problems being reported at workplaces included failure to carry out safety inspections, pressuring injured employees back to work before it is safe, and victimisation of employees raising safety concerns.

“There is at least one workplace death every day, more than 15 serious injuries occur every hour; and 44 Australians die each week from exposure to chemicals at work. If more than half of our employers are not complying with health and safety laws, how can we ever expect to reduce this toll of death and injury?” Ms Burrow said.

“It is a legal requirement for employers to inspect workplaces regularly for health and safety hazards, involve all workers, and make sure workers and health and safety representatives are properly trained. Health and safety is a right, not a privilege.”

The survey of workplace health and safety representatives found:

  • less than half (47%) reported that their workplaces regularly carry out health and safety inspections – over 10% said they never do;
  • only half say that they or other workers are regularly included in any health and safety inspections, which do occur – nearly 13% say they are never included;
  • and almost one-quarter of the reps have not received any health and safety training, despite this being a basic right for all health and safety reps.

    People are asked to phone the health and safety hotline today on 1300 362 223. Reactivate Health and Safety at Work