Nation leading codes to protect Queensland workers
Published Wednesday, 09 November, 2022 at 10:42 AM
Minister for Education, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Racing
The Honourable Grace Grace
Queensland workers will have some of the strongest protections in the country when it comes to psychological wellbeing and silicosis prevention, thanks to two new codes introduced by the Palaszczuk Government today.
Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace said the new codes of practice would ensure even more Queenslanders have access to good, safe jobs.
“The Palaszczuk Government has led the nation when it comes to protecting workers, and these two new codes follow in that proud tradition,” Ms Grace said.
“The legally-enforceable psychosocial code of practice and regulations will directly address psychological health risks at work, which can be anything from exposure to traumatic events to remote or isolated working.
“The code will also provide a practical guide to assist employers and workers to understand their rights and responsibilities, after a national review found many employers were unsure of their duties to manage psychological health and safety risks at work.
“Research has shown that workers benefit from psychologically healthy workplaces through better individual health, increased job satisfaction, commitment, positive attitudes toward self-development, and lower rates of work-related physical injuries.”
It is estimated psychological health conditions cost Australian workplaces around $11 billion per year, but there is a return on investment of $2.30 in benefits for every dollar spent on minimising these risks at work.
Dr Kirsten Way, an organisational psychology expert at the University of Queensland, said the code had the potential to make a profound and positive difference to the mental health of Queenslanders.
“I am so very pleased that this code has now been developed. This is a truly watershed moment.”
Minister Grace said the code of practice to tackle silica dust exposure in the construction industry was also an Australian first.
“The need to protect workers from silicosis in other industries, particularly construction, became clear while Queensland’s nation-leading stone benchtop code was being developed in 2019,” Ms Grace said.
“That is why this code will apply all construction work in Queensland, as well as the manufacturing of materials such as bricks, blocks, tiles, mortar, and concrete.
“The new code sets out effective dust controls to prevent or minimise exposure in the first place.
“This will protect workers from dangerous levels of silica dust and will save lives.”
Minister Grace said the landmark regulation changes and codes of practice were developed through extensive consultation with academics, unions, employer organisations, and the community.
"I thank all those involved for helping to make Queensland workers safer.”
The Office of Industrial Relations will now work with industry and provide education sessions ahead of the codes commencing next year.
The Managing the Risk of Psychosocial Hazards at Work Code of Practice will commence on 1 April 2023. The Managing Respirable Crystalline Silica Dust Exposure in Construction and the Manufacturing of Construction Elements Code of Practice will commence on 1 May 2023.
They can be viewed at WorkSafe.qld.gov.au.
Media contact: Kate Talbot, 0439 803 211