Go to top of page

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. The Commission is also committed to supporting and promoting the holistic wellbeing of our 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.

In a recent bid to raise the profile of work health and safety in the Commission and to streamline the consultative process, workers were given the opportunity to comment on the proposed consolidation of the Workplace Relations Committee and the Work Health and Safety Committee. The committees will merge early in 2013–14.

Rehabilitation management system

On 1 July 2012, Comcare issued the Guidelines for Rehabilitation Authorities 2012, which require, among other things, that all rehabilitation authorities develop and implement a rehabilitation management system that delivers effective rehabilitation and meets the performance standards and measures prescribed in the guidelines.

In October 2012, Comcare conducted a gap analysis of the Commission’s existing processes against the requirements under the guidelines. The gap analysis identified nine non-conformances and eight observations. As of 30 June 2013, only two non-conformances remained outstanding. The Commission continues to work closely with Comcare to ensure compliance with the guidelines.

Health and wellbeing program

The Commission promotes health awareness among employees by supporting an annual health and wellbeing program.

In 2012–13, the program provided a comprehensive mix of health and wellbeing activities, programs and initiatives based on feedback from staff at the end of the 2011–12 program. These activities included influenza vaccinations, health checks, and yoga and meditation classes. One key initiative that had not previously been available to staff was the introduction of a sit/stand desk in the Canberra and Melbourne offices that could be booked on an as-needed basis.

Wellness strategy

The Commission provides reimbursement for employees wishing to quit smoking and who require glasses for screen-based work. In 2012–13, 19 employees took advantage of these ongoing initiatives, which is more than double the usage rate in 2011–12.

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

The Commission has a no-tolerance approach to bullying and harassment and has developed the Respectful Relationships at Work policy and guidelines, 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 on an instance of bullying or harassment, including workplace 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.

The Commission has recently implemented an early intervention policy, which is designed to work in conjunction with the reasonable adjustment and rehabilitation policies. Employees are provided with comprehensive assistance to remain at or return to work when injured or ill.

Positive performance indicators

The Commission’s orientation program for new starters—such as employees, APS employees on secondment to the Commission and contractors—has a work health and safety component and includes a walk-through of the Commission’s emergency evacuation procedures. Workers are also required to complete an online work health and safety learning module (developed by Comcare) within one month of commencing in the Commission.

Workstation assessments are undertaken for all new starters and for those with reported health concerns.

Table A3 shows some key performance indicators for the Commission’s wellness strategy.

Table A3: Work health and safety performance indicators, 2010–11 to 2012–13
Actions Measure 2010–11 2011–12 2012–13
Work health and safety induction Percentage of non-SES staff who completed the workers training module 48% 83%
Influenza vaccinations Percentage of staff who received an influenza vaccination 36% 30% 32%
Health checks Percentage of staff who received a health check 24% 29%
Employee assistance Number of staff receiving employee assistance 26 25 31

Outcome measures

The Commission noted an increase in the number of work health and safety incidents reported in 2012–13 (23 in 2012–13 against 16 in 2011–12), which has also resulted in an increased number of compensation claims. One of the 2012–13 incidents was notifiable to Comcare under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

Due to the large number of compensation claims in 2012–13, which included one that resulted in more than 90 days’ incapacity, the Commission’s estimated premium for 2013–14 (1.3%) has increased significantly from the 2012–13 revised premium (0.67%). The Commission continues to manage injury and illness in accordance with the early intervention and rehabilitation strategies.

No directions or notices have been issued under the Work Health and Safety Act.