Everyone deserves to feel safe at work

IT’S everyone’s right to be able to walk out their front door each day, go to work and came home safely to their families at the end of their shifts.

Whether you are a teacher, a shop assistant or a bus driver, everyone has the right to feel safe at work and not fear being threatened or injured during a violent attack in the workplace.

A safe workplace is vital for everyone, more so for those of us who work in the emergency services fields, like police, ambulance, fire and healthcare.

So yet another attack on Ballarat police officers on Friday – the third in recent months in Ballarat – is a chilling reminder of how those in emergency services put their lives on the line each day.

Three men were arrested after two Ballarat police members were injured while responding to suspicious activity at Brown Hill in the early hours of Friday. It’s believed the two police officers, a constable and senior constable, were speaking to the occupants of a vehicle before the driver allegedly reversed, striking both members.

While the police officers received minor injuries, it could have been much, much worse. And our emergency service personnel deserve better … they deserve respect.

These are brave men and women who are at the frontline of violence on our streets, in our homes, our workplaces and whose job it is to keep our communities safe.

Friday’s attack comes just 48 hours after the Victorian Government announced it would soon introduce new laws to protect police officers.

Police Minister Lisa Neville said any form of violence towards police was unacceptable. “We will do whatever it takes to help protect police and emergency service workers, and to send an unequivocal message that any violence, or intended harm, will risk specific criminal sanctions. We have been in ongoing discussions with Victoria Police and the Police Association to develop measures that are comprehensive.”

All emergency service personnel deserve to be safe and respected in the workplace. Violence or aggression of any kind is not just part of the job.

Every Victorian has a right to be safe at work. It is simply unacceptable that the people doing their utmost to help us when we are sick, or caring for us as we get old, can be so badly treated.

Regardless of the circumstances, violence and aggression is never acceptable in any workplace.