Appendix F - Report under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991

The Department is committed to promoting strategies that improve the health, safety and wellbeing of its employees, particularly through effective and timely incident investigation and injury management.

A range of health and wellbeing initiatives were provided in 2010–11, including:

  • Health Week, held in October and May, which offered employees health assessments, influenza vaccinations and bone density checks
  • support to quit smoking, which was provided to two employees
  • lunchtime fitness classes, which involved 25 employees, and
  • health and wellbeing seminars, which were held monthly and provided information on a variety of subjects, including time management, embracing diversity and the collegial workplace.

To ensure ongoing compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991 and the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988, the Department's Health and Safety Management Arrangements were reviewed in 2010.

The Department has an active Health and Safety Network, and a Health and Safety Representative (HSR) election was held early in 2011. HSRs and Deputy Health and Safety Representatives are chosen by members of a Designated Work Group (DWG) to represent their interests in workplace health and safety. They play a key role in monitoring, promoting and achieving a healthy and safe work environment in their DWG. HSRs work cooperatively with managers and the Department's occupational health and safety structure to achieve a satisfactory outcome.

Information and advice on occupational health and safety was made available to all employees through the Department's intranet, induction and other training.

Six defibrillators were bought and installed in the Canberra offices in early 2011.

During 2010–11 there were 65 incident reports:

  • eight reports were submitted identifying workplace hazards (anything with the potential to cause injury), and
  • 57 reports were submitted after workplace health and safety incidents, including one notifiable incident reported to Comcare.

The Department's 2010–11 Comcare premium was reduced to 0.37 per cent of payroll compared with 0.49 per cent the previous year. The average premium rate for the Australian Government sector is 1.20 per cent of payroll.

Table F.1 summarises occupational health and safety measures, indicators and incidents in 2010–11.

Table F.1 Workplace health and safety statistics in 2010–11
Proactive measures
Workplace assessments 115
Staff health assessments 425
Staff influenza vaccinations 321
Staff bone density screenings 132
Wellbeing indicators
Staff using employee assistance (%) 7.69
Days of unscheduled absence per full-time-equivalent employeea 12.63
Incident managementb
New claims accepted by Comcarec 36
Total weeks lost from new claims through incapacity 80.24
Average time off work per injury (weeks) 2.23
Special or serious incidents requiring Comcare investigation 0
Directions or notices issued to the Department under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991 0

a Unscheduled absence includes sick leave, carers' leave and bereavement leave. Workers' compensation leave is not included.

b These figures are as advised by Comcare.

c Includes 27 accepted claims from former employees, 26 from the Australian National Railways which was sold by the Australian Government in 1997–98, and one from the former Department of Transport and Construction.

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Last Updated: 29 October, 2014