SafeWork declares overwork a hazard for members in a number of sites.
SafeWork NSW has placed an Improvement Notice on a number of Community Services Centres (CSCs) in regional NSW.
Following a report by PSA/CPSU NSW Regional Organiser Tom Hooper, SafeWork looked into issues of overwork in centres such as Wagga Wagga and Broken Hill.
“After a member raised concerns with SafeWork NSW, I made a report last week that added to the agency’s report. I included all of the CSCs I have visited, including Broken Hill,” said Mr Hooper.
The Department needs to meet with SafeWork, then take steps to correct these issues.
Work will continue at these sites until the situation is rectified, so no vulnerable children will be left without support.
The issues are the result of overwork, brought on by an increase in the number of reports, flatlining staffing levels that have not kept up with caseloads, and problems retaining staff.
“The result is staff are stressed and overworked, meaning the Department is struggling to keep caseworkers. Hence workplaces are becoming increasingly unsafe,” said PSA Industrial Officer Graydon Welsh.
“This is not just a local issue. These working conditions are repeated all over the state’s CSCs, not just in the areas highlighted by Mr Hooper.
“Community Services needs more funding, more staffing and the creation of a work environment that encourages long-standing, experienced employees to stay in a job that is so important to some of the state’s most vulnerable children.
“Our members are passionate about working with kids, but this passion can only keep them in their positions for so long. No-one in NSW should work in an unsafe environment.”