Educational providers are required by law to protect all staff, students and visitors from injuries and illness as per work, health and safety laws in each state and territory in Australia.1 The DDA does not set out explicitly how it relates to health and safety; however, the ability to work safely (i.e. without reasonable risk to others) is identified by the Australian Human Rights Commission as a requirement.3 The DDA does, however, identify that education and training providers are liable for the actions of employees and agents. Clear policies and effective staff training are key risk-minimisation strategies to reduce discrimination and harassment.
Research has clearly identified that disability does not pose an inherent safety risk2. The fact that a student or staff member has a disability does not excuse them from complying with reasonable application of reasonable rules. There are a number of strategies for accommodating the needs of students with disabilities in laboratory and field-work (see Laboratory and Workshop for more information).
1 Commonwealth of Australia (2013). WHS/OH&S Acts, Regulations and Codes of Practice. Accessed on 20 November 2014. Retrieved from http://www.business.gov.au/business-topics/employing-people/workplace-health-and-safety/Pages/whs-acts-regulations-and-codes-of-practice.aspx
2 Doyle, C. & Robson, K. 2002. Accessible Curricula: Good Practice for all. Cardiff: UWIC Press. Retrieved from http://www.adcet.edu.au/resource/5198/accessible-curricula-a-good-practice-guide/
3 Australian Human Rights Commission (n.d.). Employment and the Disability Discrimination Act. Part 1. Accessed on 19 November 2014. Retrieved from https://www.humanrights.gov.au/employment-and-disability-discrimination-act-part-1#otherlaw