All workers have a right to a safe and healthy workplace. Making sure that people are safe at work and have strong support if they are injured is a top priority for the AMWU.
If you have a health or safety issue at work, you don't have to deal with it alone. The AMWU can provide assistance, tips and training for workers and to help health and safety reps perform their role. If there are any problems or issues, workers and their reps should always know the union will have their back.
What are my rights around safety in the workplace?
Many protections and rights we take for granted were fought for and won by unions. These include:
- Workers’ compensation
- Rest breaks
- Protective clothing
- Restrictions on lifting heavy objects
- Licences and training when working with certain equipment, and
- Prohibitions on asbestos and dangerous chemicals.
All workers have the right to:
- A safe and healthy working environment
- Know what health and safety hazards they are exposed to at work and a right to be involved in and negotiate how hazards are dealt with
- Determine who represents them on health and safety issues, and
- Refuse unsafe work
Who will stand up for my rights to safety in the workplace?
Everyone has the right to elect their workmates to be their representatives around health and safety issues. Health and safety representatives make sure that employers comply with health and safety laws and policy. They also get proper resources and training.
If you would like to become a health and safety representative please speak with your delegate today.
If you are concerned about a perceived health and safety risk at your workplace, you should talk to your workplace Health and Safety Representative, your local AMWU organiser or phone the AMWU HelpDesk.
What if I am injured in work?
If you are injured at work, report the incident immediately to the company and your delegate. Remember that you have the right to see your own doctor. You do not have to see the company doctor.
If you are injured, you may be able to make a claim. The two key types of claims you can make if you are injured are:
- A WorkCover claim (statutory claim) and
- A common law claim
Our union works with injury experts, Maurice Blackburn Lawyers who can provide free initial advice on your options and prospects of success for an injury claim. Make sure you keep copies of any records, documentation or medical assessment about your injury.
10 Golden Rules for work injuries
Did you know one in every 40 manufacturing workers suffers a serious injury, with almost a third of these arising from doing hazardous manual tasks?
The nature and seriousness of these injuries varies and can include everything from sprains and strains, fractures and breaks, to bruises, concussion, being crushed, burns, exposure to dangerous chemicals and toxins, and a range of mental health conditions.
In the event that you or one of your workmates is injured on the job, it’s important to know your entitlements. The top ten golden rules of injuries are:
- Always submit a workers’ compensation claim if you are injured at work if the injury will cause you to have time off work or require medical treatment.
- Lodge your workers’ compensation claim in a timely manner. Don’t rely upon your employer to lodge your claim for you.
- Never listen if your employer tells you not to lodge a WorkCover claim – that is illegal.
- Seek immediate advice from the AMWU in relation to these issues, as we can refer you to our specialist lawyers Maurice Blackburn who can provide further advice
- You have the right to see your own doctor if you are injured at work. You should always see your own doctor in relation to your treatment in relation to work injuries – not the company doctor.
- Never allow an employer representative to sit on your medical appointments, even for a work injury. You can and should say no to this.
- Never allow an employer representative to force you or your doctor to alter a medical certificate to say you are fit for light duties if your doctor has told you that you are not.
- Never accept any lump sum offer of compensation from your employer or workers’ compensation insurer without first seeking legal advice. It costs nothing to find out where you stand. You could be entitled to many times more than the offer.
- WorkCover can even cover you for old injuries and medical conditions which are made worse by your work.
- Always seek advice from our union lawyers, Maurice Blackburn if you are lodging a workers’ compensation claim. Strict time limits apply to your rights. Call the AMWU Helpdesk on 1300 732 698 for a free referral to Maurice Blackburn.
What are the rules in my state?
Every state and territory in Australia has different safety guidelines and codes. In Queensland, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland oversee these guidelines and in the Northern Territory, NT WorkSafe does. Remember, if you are ever unsure of your rights, contact your AMWU delegate or organiser immediately.
For more information check out:
For assistance with workplace health and safety matters, please contact your local organiser, our health and safety officer Brian Devlin – Brian.firstname.lastname@example.org/07 3236 2550 or the AMWU HelpDesk on 1300 732 698.