ACT brothels fail to comply with basic OHS

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The ACT’s sex industry has been the focus of WorkSafe ACT in 2013 and 2014 after 35 improvement notices were issued.

Although the sex industry in Canberra has a great reputation for industry-specific OHS, official inspections conducted by WorkSafe ACT in 2013 and 2014 found that 28 registered escort agencies were in breach of general occupation health and safety laws.

The safety of sex workers is thoroughly outlined in the Sexual Services Industry Code of Practice which contains information for employers including appropriate bed support to avoid back injury and the prevention of wrist injury caused by occupational overuse syndrome during massage.

While the 28 currently registered escort agencies in the ACT have shown a high level of compliance with more industry-specific OHS requirements, basic OHS standards have been allowed to slide. Of the 28 notices issued in 2013-2014 and the 48 the previous year, the main areas needing to be addressed included:

  • Emergency procedures and plans
  • The provision of first aid
  • Testing and tagging of electrical equipment
  • Hazardous manual tasks
  • Duress alarms
  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Material safety data sheets

Although the infringements were not considered life-threatening and no criminal action was taken by WorkSafe ACT, these latest inspections have served as a sobering reminder to those operating in the sex industry.

With the recent spikes in issued improvement notices over the past few years, commercial brothels should expect more pre-arranged and unannounced visits from inspectors.

If you would like to know more about meeting the required safety standards of your industry, please contact Safety Services Australia today on +61 2 9634 5912 or