Workplace conditions, health and safety
The working conditions of many jobs are governed by modern awards and the National Employment Standards, which set out minimum employment standards.
Before accepting a job, you should first check the working conditions, including:
Other conditions you can discuss with your employer include access to training, regular performance reviews, and flexible working arrangements.
Health and safety at work
Work health and safety aims to protect the health, safety and welfare of workers at work, and other people affected by the work (e.g. visitors, the general public). Work health and safety covers topics like:
- manual or repetitive tasks
- safety while working with machinery, or working at heights
- working with hazardous substances; and
- occupational stress.
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) provides information on work health and safety laws and useful safety guides. Find out more by:
- asking WHSQ a question online
- phoning the WHSQ Infoline on 1300 362 128.
The Safety Leadership at Work Program is designed to develop safety leadership capacity, improve safety culture and contribute to reducing work-related injuries, illnesses and fatalities in Queensland workplaces.
Workplace bullying is defined as repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or a group of workers, that creates a risk to health and safety.
Repeated behaviour refers to the persistent nature of the behaviour and can involve a range of behaviours over time.
Unreasonable behaviour means behaviour that a reasonable person, having considered the circumstances, would see as unreasonable, including behaviour that is victimising, humiliating, intimidating or threatening.
Examples of bullying behaviour—whether intentional or unintentional—include:
- language or comments that are:
- unjustified criticism or complaints
- deliberately excluding someone from workplace activities
- not sharing important information that a person needs to work effectively
- setting unreasonable timelines or constantly changing deadlines
- setting tasks that are unreasonably below or beyond a person's skill level
- spreading misinformation or malicious rumours
- changing rosters or leave to deliberately inconvenience someone.
Examples of what isn’t bullying behaviour include:
- a single incident of unreasonable behaviour
- unreasonable behaviour that involves violence
- reasonable management action that:
- is in connection with a worker's employment
- is carried out in a lawful and reasonable way
- takes the particular circumstances into account
- acts of unlawful discrimination or sexual harassment
- workplace conflict (e.g. differences of opinion).
Single incidents of unreasonable behaviour shouldn’t be ignored as they may be repeated or escalate.
If you are experiencing or witnessing any behaviour that involves violence (e.g. physical assault or the threat of physical assault) you should report it to the police.
Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual attention. You can be sexually harassed by anyone. Sexual harassment does not have to be repeated or ongoing to be against the law.
According to the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991, sexual harassment includes:
- unwelcome physical touching
- sexual or suggestive comments, jokes or taunts
- unwelcome requests for sex
- the display of sexual material (e.g. photos or pictures)
- sexual reading matter (e.g. emails, faxes or letters).
According to the Queensland Human Rights Commission, you can be discriminated against across a number of matters including but not limited to:
- your age
- your gender
- an impairment
- pregnancy and breastfeeding
- your race
- your religion
- your sexuality.
Read more about:
Advice and support
The Workplace Advice Service is a free independent legal assistance program for small businesses and employees. The program, offered by the Fair Work Commission, provides advice on topics including:
- general protections
- workplace bullying.
Read more about the Workplace Advice Service, including eligibility and how to request a consultation.
Returning to work
Find out what to do when re-entering the workforce if you haven’t worked for an extended period of time.