Appendix 9 : Occupational Health and Safety
The Department maintains an Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) Agreement with relevant unions in accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety (Commonwealth Employment) Act 1991. The agreement signed in March 1997 was reviewed in May 1999.
Under the Agreement the Health and Safety Committee is the key consultative forum between the Department and unions on OH&S issues. The committee meets quarterly. In 1998-99 it considered OH&S matters including departmental performance in relation to injury prevention, incident reports and compensation and rehabilitation.
The Department has a Health Awareness Program that promotes good health to all staff. It includes engaging health professionals to provide individual private assessments of cardiac health for staff who nominate for testing, arranging in-house seminars on health issues, and disseminating health and lifestyle information.
The Department also continued its strategy of prevention and rehabilitation to reduce the incidence and cost of higher-impact injuries. Key elements are:
- continuing budget commitment to promoting a safe and healthy work environment;
- promoting the Employee Assistance Program to supervisors and staff to assist in personal and work-related problems; and
- early intervention to prevent injury and minimise the cost impact of an injury.
Twelve claims for compensation were accepted during 1998-99 for staff injuries. No incidents required a report to Comcare under the incident-reporting regulations of the Act.