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RhEDSex WorkersA Best Guide to OH&S

A Best Guide to OH&S

A best guide to Occupational Health & Safety

The following is an excerpt from A Guide to Best Practice: Occupational Health and Safety in the Australian Sex Industry produced by the Scarlet Alliance and the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations.

Copies of the guidelines are available from RhED by calling 1800 458 752.

Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) is a broad term used to refer to any issue, task or condition in the work place where work is carried out that may have either a positive or negative impact on the health of the people who are working there.

In Australia, all workers – no matter what industry they work in – have the right not to have their health put at risk through carrying out the normal requirements of their work. This basic right also applies to those working in the sex industry, even though due to its variable legal status across the country, the industry has not historically been covered by legislative requirements of OHS.

OHS does not just mean paying attention to cleanliness, fire extinguishers or repairing faulty electrical equipment. It is also about being aware of working conditions which, over time, will have an impact on a person’s health and wellbeing. OHS is also about:

  • Making sure that beds are in good repair and give proper support
  • Ensuring that outfits worn by workers when seeing clients are comfortable and do not restrict circulation or affect posture if worn for long periods without regular breaks – high heels for example
  • Supplying condoms, lubricants and massage oils which are non-allergenic
  • Ensuring that workers have adequate breaks between clients and between shifts to avoid stress and fatigue.
It makes good business sense
  • Aside from basic concern for the health of sex workers – and in some cases, legislative requirements – there are many good reasons for sex industry workers, owners and managers to consider OHS issues in their workplace. Such reasons include:
    • When workers are being exposed to unhealthy conditions the chances of them needing time off work through illness or injury are greatly increased. This results in loss of income for the individual and reduced profit for the business.

A work environment that is free from unsafe or unhealthy conditions is more attractive to clients and will result in increased business.

Further information is available in the Guidelines, including a range of great Fact Sheets:

Factsheet 1: Health and related sex worker organisations in Australia

Factsheet 2: Occupational health and safety authorities

Factsheet 3: State and territory health departments

Factsheet 4: Sample sex industry workplace drug and alcohol policy

Factsheet 5: Examination of clients prior to provision of services

Factsheet 6: Action to be taken in the event of condom breakage and/or slippage

Factsheet 7: AIDS Councils

Facsheet 8: Safety and security guidelines for escort workers

Factsheet 9: Ergonomics

Copies of the Fact Sheets are available from RhED by calling 1800 458 752 or email sexworker@sexworker.org.au