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Employers have a duty of care to protect staff against abuse and violence
WorkSafe Victoria has highlighted the shocking levels of violence and aggression COVID-19 testers, vaccination staff, and other front-line workers have faced from members of the public.
The majority of these attacks stem from fear, with workers being heckled by stressed and aggravated members of the public.
WorkSafe Acting Executive Director of Health and Safety Andrew Keen said attitudes must change if we are to stamp out this unacceptable behaviour.
"It's distressing to see the anger and at times physical violence aimed at workers, particularly those who are putting their welfare on the line to help keep the rest of us healthy and safe in these uncertain times," he said.
"Whether it is a nurse, doctor, police officer, bus driver or retail worker, this behaviour is unacceptable because of the crippling psychological and physical trauma it causes."
"Everyone has a right to a healthy and safe workplace, whatever the circumstances; no matter if you are a worker, customer or member of the public, violence in the workplace is never ok."
WorkSafe Victoria: Call to stamp out work related violence
Violence in the workplace can range from verbal abuse, yelling, spitting, swearing, demeaning language to gendered violence and physical assault, which can cause severe ongoing stress and trauma.
Employers must put adequate measures in place to protect staff and give them the skills that will enable them to influence a positive and safer outcome in situations where behaviours of concern present risk.