April 13, 2018
REST AND RECLINE
The Union is aware that members are being directed by Ambulance Victoria (AV) to work nightshifts at locations without access to proper rest and recline facilities. Access to a recliner only is not sufficient for crews to be able to have sufficient rest during or after a nightshift so that they can drive home safely.
Members will no doubt remember the Sunshine Branch dispute in which the Health and Safety Representative placed a number of Provisional Improvement Notices (PIN) on the branch. One of the PINs which were upheld by WorkSafe was in relation to inadequate sleeping facilities. The Sunshine branch had beds for nightshift crews but they were in an open area where sleeping paramedics would be disturbed. The solution was to install two portable bedrooms in the garage for crews to sleep after nightshifts.
The Worksafe Inspector stated: I observed at this workplace that – workplace construction did not allow employees who have completed a 14 hour shift to rest prior to having to drive their private vehicles home. Beds are provided but those beds are in a location that exposes the resting employee to noise and disturbance so should they leave the branch to drive home their health and safety is at risk. The sleeping facilities provided are inadequate.
Ambulance Victoria must provide adequate facilities for employees so that the working environment is so far as is reasonably practicable, is safe and without risks to health. One means of compliance being provide quiet areas that contain beds for staff to rest after a 14 hour shift and prior to driving their private vehicles home. One means of compliance can be but is not limited to provide a separate building away from noisy streets and daily work activities.
The Sunshine HSR won the WorkSafe HSR of the year award after her efforts which led to the Sunshine branch being demolished and rebuilt.
It is important that you are aware of AVs obligations to provide you with a safe workplace. Sleeping on the floor in an office or on a chair in a common area is not sufficient in ensuring you can be properly rested before you drive home. Members should insist on being rostered to a location that has sufficient rest and recline facilities that enable you to be able to achieve meaningful rest before driving home.
The Union advises members to raise concerns about rest and recline facilities with their Health and Safety Representative.
Acting General Secretary