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Appendix C: Work health and safety

Executive commitment

The Commission is committed to safeguarding the health and safety of its employees, workers and visitors by providing and maintaining a safe working environment. The Commission aims to eliminate all preventable work-related injuries and illness through systematic management. Furthermore, the Commission is committed to supporting and promoting the holistic wellbeing of its employees.

Work Health and Safety Committee

The Commission’s Work Health and Safety Committee assists the Commission to develop, implement and review measures designed to protect the health and safety of our workers and visitors. The committee is made up of worker and management representatives, and provides one of the key consultation mechanisms with workers in accordance with relevant legislation.

The Commission’s work health and safety function is managed through the human resources team with assistance from professional experts, who provide advice to the committee, assist with hazard and incident investigations and case management, and provide relevant training as required.

Harmonisation

In May and June 2011, professional experts were engaged to undertake a detailed gap analysis of the Commission’s work health and safety management system not only to determine the extent to which the Commission complied with the then occupational health and safety legislative requirements and the relevant Australian Standard, but also to identify gaps to prepare for the transition to harmonised work health and safety legislation from 1 January 2012.

In accordance with this gap analysis, all work health and safety policies have now been reviewed and amended in accordance with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, and its Regulations and Codes of Practice.

The Commission has also implemented an awareness campaign to ensure all workers and officers are aware of the new arrangements.

The Commission is continuing to move towards full compliance with harmonised legislation and the relevant Australian Standards.

Health and Wellbeing Program

The Commission promotes health awareness among employees by supporting an annual program, the Health and Wellbeing Program, which is focused on health and lifestyle.

As part of the Commission’s wellbeing strategy, all staff were surveyed at the beginning of the program and at the end. Based on the initial survey, a number of activities were organised aimed at preventing illness and injury and increasing general wellbeing. These activities included influenza vaccinations, health checks, and yoga and meditation classes.

The majority of employees who participated in the end-of-program feedback survey thought the program was well organised and rated the available activities as ‘good’ or ‘very good’.

Employees will continue to have a say on the development and operation of future health and wellbeing programs.

Ongoing initiatives

The Commission provides reimbursement for employees wishing to quit smoking and who require glasses for screen-based work. In 2011–12, six employees took advantage of these ongoing initiatives.

First aid officers are located throughout the Commission to ensure immediate assistance is available when required.

The Commission has a no-tolerance approach to bullying and harassment and has recently developed the Respectful Relationships at Work policy, which sets out the Commission’s expectations on behaviour in the workplace. The Commission also has a number of contacts available should an employee or manager require advice regarding an instance of bullying or harassment, including harassment contact officers, the Employee Assistance Program and the Ethics Advisory Service. The Commission addresses formal and informal allegations of bullying or harassment promptly and sensitively.

Positive performance indicators

The Commission’s orientation program for new starters includes a work health and safety component. Workstation assessments are undertaken for all new staff and for those with reported health concerns.

Table A3: Work, health and safety—positive performance indicators 2009–10 to 2011–12
Actions Measure 2009–10 2010–11 2011–12*
* Based on 325 eligible employees.
Workstation assessments Percentage of new staff assessed 100% 100% 100%
Work health and safety induction Percentage of new staff who underwent work health and safety induction 100% 100% 100%
Percentage of staff who completed the workers training module 48%
Flu vaccinations Percentage of staff who received an influenza vaccination 19% 36% 30%
Health checks Percentage of staff who received a health check 24%
Employees receiving employee assistance Number of staff 29 26 25

Outcome measures

The Commission noted an increase in the number of incidents reported in 2011–12. However, the early management of reported accidents and incidents has continued to keep the Commission’s claim numbers low, which resulted in the Commission’s premium under the Comcare workers compensation scheme being adjusted from 0.89% to 0.88% in 2011–12, while the trend in the APS has been generally up.

There were 16 incidents reported in 2011–12 (11 in 2010–11), one of which resulted in an accepted compensation case. Two of the incidents (nil in 2010–11) required notification to Comcare; however, one was due to the employee’s health and the other arose from the activities of another agency.

No directions or notices under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991 or the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 were given to the Commission.