Workplace safety: being vigilant is important 

Kate Robinson is making her workplace a safer environment for herself, her colleagues and the patients who enter it, by collaborating with her fellow Monash Medical Centre (MMC) Emergency Department (ED) Health and Safety Representatives (HSR) to create greater awareness of the topic. 

Of the three, Kate, Kerry Georgiou and Duyen (Dee) Dinh, Kate has the least field experience at Monash Health, but the most personal experience with an occupational health and safety reason for wanting to be on the side of change: 

“I have been at MMC ED since 2016I’m currently a post-grad nurse,” Kate said. “I have been an OHS rep since 2018. 

“I actually got the job (as an HSR) because I fell off an unsafe chair and broke my wrist, and thought it wasn’t quite ideal, so they asked: ‘did you want to become an OHS representative?’ and here we are.” 

Kate said she was only really getting her “teeth into the role now” as she had a baby in the middle of all this and was away from work for quite a while, so she is just about to complete her training. Regarding the primary role of an HSR and their relationship with management, Kate said that an HSR was a person colleagues could come to with concerns, and their role was in making sure the workplace was as safe as possible for their coworkers. 

I’m far more aware of workplace dangers and the importance of acting upon them, not just complaining about them,” Kate said.  

I think in an old department there’s a constant stream of issues that come through, so just being vigilant is important. 

Kate’s Associate Nurse Manager – Clinical Lead Skye Bretterecker – said the relationship between an HSR and their manager in the workplace at Monash Health was important to OHS in the workplace at Monash Health because the HSR team and the management teams at the MMC ED work handinhand 

It is important to have the eyes and ears on the floor that can feed back to the management team in order for changes to occur to ensure a safe workplace for everyone,” Skye said.  

Kerry, Kate R, Dee and our two new HSRs (Kate G and Steph) all have a great attitude towards OHS issues and addressing risks in our department.  

They work well together to ensure an even distribution of responsibilities and are always on the lookout for risks in the departments and ways to improve.  

Skye said safety was everyone’s responsibility and it was rewarding to see staff on the floor recognise and problem solve OHS related incidents. 

Approved by Karen Lowe 

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