WWAM! - Wellbeing
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 124 No 8, 8 November 2019, page no. 14
Managing schools during conditions of excessive heat is a very real issue for Queensland schools. The Union continues to work with the department and schools on mitigating the issues, but in the meantime, QTU members are encouraged to talk about the strategies you can implement to keep staff and students comfortable and safe during a heatwave. It is suggested that you conduct this meeting at a whole school level to ensure all members have input into the school strategy. At the same time you could consider the roster that you have in place to cover bus and playground duty during wet weather. Just because it rains does not mean that you shouldn’t have access to your meal breaks.
Feeling healthy and safe at work
The Union is clear, teachers and school leaders are entitled to feel healthy and safe at work, and it is the department’s obligation as your employer to ensure it provides a healthy and safe working environment. Members have the right to return home after a day’s work in the condition that they commenced. If you believe this is an issue at your workplace, find the time to hold a meeting and speak up about the issues. Your QTU Organiser will then work with you, your school leadership and the department to address them.
This also includes feeling safe in your classroom. The new agreement states: “Each workplace will take all reasonable steps to identify, prevent, manage and respond to workplace health, safety and wellbeing matters, including the consideration of infrastructure capacity to provide a safe and health learning environment for curriculum delivery, particularly for practical subjects. Curriculum activity risk assessments (CARAs) play a key role in informing health and safety considerations, including class sizes, for the delivery of these subjects.”
WWAM may be a good opportunity for you to ensure that the CARAs are up to date, and in doing so, enable health and safety to be a key determinant in practical subject class sizes.
Schools should also take the chance to identify health and safety representatives and provide them with access to training, so that action can be taken around all forms of health and safety in the workplace.