Data collection

18.145 The National OHS Strategy refers to the need to improve data collection and analysis with respect to OHS issues.[112] Despite this, there is a lack of publicly available data about the incidence of family violence-related OHS hazards or incidents.

18.146 In the Employment Law Issues Paper, the ALRC suggested that data collected as a result of such notifications arising from notifiable incidents may be helpful in establishing the scope and frequency with which family violence arises as a work health and safety risk. Stakeholders largely agreed.[113] For example, the ADFVC emphasised the importance of mandatory reporting (through the notifiable incident system) as it would ‘allow the collection of statistics about family violence at work, and assist in enhancing recognition of family violence as a workplace issue’.[114]

18.147 In other areas, stakeholders also suggested changes with respect to data surrounding work-related fatalities and the use of workers’ compensation data. For example, some stakeholders expressed support for amending the reporting mechanisms and recording of workplace fatality statistics to more clearly outline the cause of the injury or death, in particular where it involves family violence.[115]

18.148 In some cases it may be difficult to determine where family violence has played a role in an accident caused by an employee’s lack of concentration or fatigue, which may stem from family violence. In instances where there are verbal or physical threats or abuse in the workplace, it may be less difficult. The ALRC considers that SWA is the most appropriate body to collect information about family violence as an OHS issue as it has sections dedicated to research and evaluation, and data analysis.[116] In addition, one of the focuses for SWA in 2011–12 will be the development of a comprehensive Research and Data strategy.[117] The ALRC considers this may provide the most appropriate opportunity to consider this issue. However, the ALRC is interested in stakeholder feedback and comment on other possible ways to address this issue of data collection.

Proposal 18–4 Safe Work Australia should, in developing its Research and Data Strategy:

(a) identify family violence and work health and safety as a research priority; and

(b) consider ways to extend and improve data coverage, collection and analysis in relation to family violence as a work health and safety issue.

[112] Safe Work Australia, National OHS Strategy 2002–2012.

[113] See, eg, Joint submission from Domestic Violence Victoria and others, Submission CFV 22, 6 April 2011; Women’s Legal NSW; Women’s Health Victoria, Submission CFV 11, 5 April 2011.

[114] ADFVC, Submission CFV 26, 11 April 2011.

[115] Ibid; Australian Services Union Victorian Authorities and Service Branch, Submission CFV 10, 4 April 2011.

[116] For example, SWA currently maintains the National Online Statistics Interactive (NOSI) system in relation to workers’ compensation claims.

[117] Safe Work Australia, Agency Budget Statement 2011–2012 (2011), Overview and Resources, 372.