EDNEWS: Education HSR Wins Gayle Smith Award

Updated 22/04/2016

Dr Chris Duffy, the Health and Safety representative for Western Metropolitan Region, Allied Health workers, has won the prestigious Gayle Smith Award for his significant contribution to OHS in the workplace.

The Award recognised Chris' contribution to the development of consultation and effectively representing members with OHS issues.

Gayle Smith was a CPSU member and workplace delegate who for much of her working life was employed by WorkSafe Victoria and its predecessors.

Gayle made important contributions to health and safety and community safety and was committed to improving workplace safety through her active involvement in her Union, CPSU, and the wider Trade Union movement.

Gayle was steadfast in her commitment during the difficult Kennett years particularly between 1996 and 1999 when the union did not have Award coverage at WorkCover and was struggling to survive.

She was deeply committed to health and safety and she understood the importance of being a workplace representative, whether as a delegate, or Health and Safety Representative. Her early decease was greatly felt by her colleagues and so her life was honored with this award to encourage others to be active in supporting their workmates health and safety.

Dr Chris Duffy has implemented many changes in the Department of Education, and was the key in the fight for separate Designated Work Groups for Allied Health members.

Chris continued to challenge the Department about its commitment to health and safety issues, particularly around proper consultation and representation.

Chris has written to strengthen his professional links to his professional association who have supported him and CPSU in their challenges to the Department in this area.

Chris is continuing to bring issues to the Department of Education who have used legal firms to challenge him in his role when he has placed Provisional Improvement Notices on the Department, to make them properly consult about the health and safety impact of issues surrounding the outsourcing of assessments for children with a disability.

In this he steadfastly calls for improvements to the system, both for the children that are Allied Health workers client base and his wish to improve the services they receive, and for the Allied Health workers who deliver those services.

Chris has also worked hard to get the Department to improve its ‘found space’ policy and continues to do so.

Chris has been asked by the Department, in his role as Health and Safety Representative, to assist in developing a set of professional standards of consulting spaces in schools.

Once developed, it is hoped these will become a benchmark for the Department’s future policies.

In his acceptance of the award, which includes a memorial glass plaque and a cheque for $750.00 for further study in the OHS area, Chris acknowledged the support that CPSU had given him as he undertook his HSR role.



CPSU Victorian Branch Secretary

11 December 2007

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