The Commonwealth Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 require a person conducting a business or undertaking to manage the risks associated with remote or isolated work, including ensuring effective communication with the worker. Comcare as the regulator for the Commonwealth has made improving the health and safety of workers in remote or isolated regions in Australia a priority.
Comcare, has been actively working to improve the safety and welfare of these workers and to improve employer safety systems for remote and isolated work.
This has included:
- hosting a forum in Cairns with presentations by subject matter experts from various agencies
- amending Comcare's guidance material for remote workers to accommodate feedback from this forum
- reviewing remote worker policies and procedures for participating agencies
- undertaking literature reviews on health and safety issues for remote workers, and
- engaging agencies within the Comcare jurisdiction to improve knowledge regarding vehicle preparation for remote work.
These activities have led to an increased awareness of the range of risks associated with remote and isolated work and how these risks can be eliminated or more effectively managed.
A strong interest was expressed by forum participants for further information on the topics of heat stress and fatigue management, which will be factored into future work. Comcare will continue to monitor remote worker related risks through 'business as usual' inspectorate interventions.
For more information on remote or isolated work within the commonwealth work health and safety jurisdiction visit the Comcare website.