If you are a worker

Finding a job is often difficult for us. Once we have one, even if it is in an Aboriginal-run organisation, it can be difficult to negotiate our health and safety at work.

You might face:

  • assumptions that you know how to perform tasks safely
  • lack of opportunities to ask how to do your tasks safely
  • shame that you don’t know how to do parts of your job
  • uncertainty about who to ask, or talk to, about your safety
  • feeling that asking questions will bring you shame and jeopardise your job
  • feeling isolated and lonely at work.

Workers who face these circumstances are more likely to injure themselves, including experiencing mental ill-health, than workers who are more comfortable and confident in their workplace.

Isolated workers are also less productive and more likely to take sick leave.

It is crucial that you take care of your own health and safety at work and, as far as you can, ensure the health and safety of other workers.

Starting a new job

When you start your job you need to have a safety induction. This means you will be:

  • shown all aspects of your work
  • shown all areas of the workplace
  • taken through all safety and emergency plans
  • introduced to your manager or supervisor
  • introduced to other staff
  • shown where you can find the workplace policies and procedures and have them explained to you.

And remember, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask questions – it might just save your life.

Your rights at work

As a worker in Australia you have rights.

You are covered by work health and safety laws no matter what your role or what type of organisation you work in.

These laws apply to every workplace.

Your basic rights include:

  • the right to be shown how to work safely
  • the right to appropriate safety equipment
  • the right to speak up about work conditions
  • the right to say no to unsafe work
  • the right to be consulted about safety in the workplace
  • the right to workers compensation
  • the right to a fair and just workplace
  • the right to fair pay and conditions.

Your responsibilities at work

You also have health and safety responsibilities including:

  • taking reasonable care of yourself
  • not doing anything that would affect the health and safety, including mental health, of others at work
  • following any reasonable health and safety instructions from your employer
  • performing your duties at work to the best of your abilities.

Be safe at work

It is important that you:

  • ask if you are not sure how to safely perform the work
  • follow instructions and work safely
  • report unsafe and unhealthy situations and injuries to your immediate supervisor.

More information on your responsibilities and rights are in the Legal obligations section.

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