26 September 2023

WorkSafe calls for COVID support

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WorkSafe ACT has called on the Canberra community to support its frontline and essential workers during the current COVID-19 outbreak.

In a statement, WorkSafe said one of the few reasons people could leave their homes was to undertake essential work.

“As essential and frontline workers work to support us, it is crucial that as a community we support and respect them to do their job safely,” it said.

“It is important the ACT community continue to support one another during this challenging time.”

Commissioner for Work Health and Safety, Jacqueline Agius said that she and the WorkSafe ACT Inspectors were working closely with the Territory and ACT Policing to support the health and safety of essential workers over the lockdown period.

“I would like to sincerely thank all of our essential workers conducting critical work during this difficult time,” Commissioner Agius said.

“Our healthcare workers, supermarket workers, hospitality workers, teachers, cleaners, emergency services and, of course, our staff here at WorkSafe ACT, who are all working to keep us safe in our mission to break the chain of transmission,” she said.

“While many people in the ACT share this sentiment of gratitude towards essential workers, there are unfortunately a few people in the community who are acting inappropriately and, in some instances, aggressively, towards essential workers.”

Commissioner Agius expressed her disappointment upon receiving reports of harassment and abuse towards essential workers.

“Verbal threats and abuse, along with yelling and swearing that create a fear of violence are all forms of work-related violence and are completely unacceptable,” she said.

“We are working closely on the ground with the AFP (Australian Federal Police) and incidents of this nature will be dealt with accordingly.”

Commissioner Agius said essential workers were crucial to keeping the community safe and it was important for people to conduct themselves in a respectful, safe and kind manner.

“Essential workers are being pushed to their limits each and every day throughout this crisis,” she said.

“Everyone is doing their best in these challenging circumstances.

“It is our role to step up and show them kindness and respect as we navigate this together,” Commissioner Agius said.

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