The push for identical work place health and safety laws across all states and territories is dubbed the ‘harmonization’ process. By all reports in the weekend press, as the target for commencement of 1 Jan 2012 approaches, it is anything the campaign is anything but living up to its name.
The latest skirmish is over the Hargreaves / Telstra case in June 2011. A Brisbane woman working at home for Telstra slipped twice – once when wearing socks and getting cough medicine from her fridge and secondly when locking her front door. Because she was engaged in working from home – her employer was held liable for failing to provide a safe workplace.
I am a great fan of national based laws and responsible laws for workplace health and safety. However, if there were a State or Territory in this country that has the brains to say this latest development in home base worker safety is absolute nonsense and no such outcome will happen on our turf, you would have to move there and to hell with harmonization of laws.
Risk should rest with the party best able to manage that risk. In this case that has got to be the home worker. Can employers realistically provide for a persons safety in their own home?
How does this translate then to our strata communities? If a home workers home becomes a work place when they work from home, is the common property they traverse getting to and from their unit or the car to go out on a work call, a work place too? On the present authorities you would have to think so. Stay tuned for more outrageous developments in this saga.
Posted by Michael Teys
To read about the Hargreaves / Telstra case go to: http://www.couriermail.com.au/business/telstra-forced-to-pay-costs-compensation-after-worker-dale-hargreaves-slips-while-working-at-home/story-e6freqmx-1226081601723