An Ambulance Victoria (AV) health and safety representative (HSR) has used their powers under s74 of the Victorian OHS Act 2004, directing work to cease in the Ambulance Bay at the Alfred Hospital on Commercial Rd, St Kilda.

This meant ambulance crews would not use this ambulance bay for any patient access, until adequate controls were implemented and maintained by Alfred Health.

Alfred Health security personnel were evicting all code black/grey patients into the ambulance bay either without security support or a full escort off the property. This exposed our members to an immediate risk to their health and safety with multiple incidents of work-related violence being reported to AV.

Prior to the direction to cease work, the HSR worked closely with AV, who have been cooperative throughout, and with Alfred health, to resolve the issue. On Thursday, 30 May 2024 the Alfred COO stepped up and demonstrated that adequate controls had been implemented. Unfortunately, early on Wednesday, 5 June 2024, another incident occurred at the Alfred ED ambulance bay, where there was no full escort of the patient, which again exposed multiple our members to an immediate risk to their health and safety.

The HSRs direction to cease all AV work in the ambulance bay on the afternoon of Wednesday, 5 June 2024 triggered further discussions with AV, Alfred Health, and the Department of Health. Additional provisions were placed overnight by Alfred Health, which were actively monitored for compliance by AV yesterday.

This is a great example of the effective legislated powers HSRs have in creating healthier and safer working environments. To enable a HSRs involvement in an OHS issue, you must report any health and safety issues via AV’s HSCS system, even if at times it may seem trivial. HSCS’s contribute significantly in OHS issue resolution, because they demonstrate the reality of the high-risk exposure, which obligates AV to control the hazards.

The VAU now has a new OHS Organiser to provide guidance and information to HSRs and members and can be contacted via email through [email protected]

In Solidarity,