AFL match to celebrate emergency service workers

Tuesday, 02 July, 2019

AFL match to celebrate emergency service workers

Emergency service workers will be the real winners at this Friday’s Hawthorn versus Collingwood Australian Football League (AFL) match.

The inaugural Emergency Services Match will be held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. It will celebrate emergency service workers, who risk their mental and physical health — and their lives — every day.

Workers from Emergency Management Victoria, Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria, Metropolitan Fire Brigade, Country Fire Authority, Life Saving Victoria, Forest Fire Management, Victorian State Emergency Service and ESTA (000) will be met with a moment of applause before the game, according to WorkSafe Victoria, which has jumped on board to sponsor the match.

Hawthorn Football Club (Hawthorn FC) said the game would also provide an opportunity to raise funds for the Emergency Services Foundation — which supports emergency service workers in times of need — and raise awareness about workers’ mental health.

According to Hawthorn FC, more than half of all employees and volunteers in emergency services are likely to experience a traumatic event that will deeply affect them during their career.

WorkSafe Victoria’s Executive Director of Health and Safety, Julie Nielsen, said the game will allow the community to show workers well-deserved respect. She added that emergency service workers often face unnecessary hazards, such as occupational violence and aggression, on top of those inherent in their work.

"Occupational violence and aggression can range from gestures and verbal abuse through to physical assault and in more extreme cases violent acts like punching, kicking or even strangulation,” said Nielsen.

In the past five years, WorkSafe has received more than 220 claims referencing injuries from acts of occupational violence and aggression.

Hawthorn and Collingwood will kick off the match at 7.50 pm on Friday, 5 July.

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