The Australian Human Rights Commission has released a report into the prevalence of sexual harassment and sexual assault in Australia’s university campuses. It has revealed some shocking statistics and brings Australian universities into the global phenomenon of reassessing university obligations for the modern world.
Australia’s occupational health and safety laws and obligations could be used as a structure for preventing assaults and harassment if the government and universities would be brave enough to use them.
Following a recent article about Enforceable Undertakings, several readers have asked for more information about the occupational health and safety (OHS) breaches that cause WorkSafe New Zealand to commence prosecution actions.
The investigation report provides some useful discussion on safety management failures and Board of Trustee obligations.
Enforceable Undertakings (EU) are a relatively new phenomenon in the occupational health and safety (OHS) world. They are, fundamentally, a legal process that allows organisations to avoid a prosecution for breaching OHS laws. The issue has garnered some attention recently due to application of an EU to a New Zealand school after two student actors received cuts to their throats, one on the opening night of a school production of Sweeney Todd. The Enforceable Undertaking will result in big safety changes at St Kentigern School but there are several assumptions that weaken the impact of an EU.
Recently a Young Safety Professional network in Queensland conducted a debate or discussion about the role of risk assessment in occupational health and safety (OHS). Naomi Kemp posted an article about the event titled “To risk assess, or not to risk assess: that is the question“. Risk assessments offer an entry point to broader discussions of liabilities, risk, red tape, complacency, communication and state of knowledge. But of most relevance to OHS compliance is that risk assessments are part of the legal obligation to consult.