Appendix E—Report under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011

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 2011–12, including:

  • Health Week, held in October and May, which offered employees health assessments and influenza vaccinations
  • support to quit smoking, which was provided to three employees
  • lunchtime fitness classes, which involved 25 employees, and
  • health and wellbeing seminars, which were held bi-monthly and provided information on a variety of subjects, including finding the right balance, embracing diversity and the dealing with difficult people.

To ensure ongoing compliance with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and, the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988, the Department has developed a:

  • Work Health and Safety Policy
  • Work Health and Safety Management System, and
  • Work Health and Safety Risk Management Procedure and Register.

The Department has an active Health and Safety Network, and additional Health and Safety Representatives were elected in 2011 to provide coverage in all regional offices. Health and Safety Representatives and Deputy Health and Safety Representatives are chosen by members of a designated work group 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 and work cooperatively with managers and the Department's Workplace Health and Safety team.

An online Work Health and Safety training program is being developed to inform all staff and managers of their responsibilities under the Act. Other information and advice on occupational health and safety was made available to all employees through the Department's intranet, induction and other training.

During 2011–12 there were 62 incident reports:

  • 12 identified workplace hazards (anything with the potential to cause injury), and
  • 50 were submitted after workplace health and safety incidents.

No notifiable incidents were reported to Comcare and no investigations were conducted under Part 10 of the Act.

The Department's 2012–13 Comcare premium is 0.93 per cent of payroll. For 2011–12, the premium had been revised up to 0.74 per cent from 0.63 per cent. The average premium rate for the Commonwealth sector is 1.77 per cent of payroll.

Table E.1 summarises work health and safety measures, indicators and incidents in 2011–12.

Table E.1 Workplace health and safety statistics in 2011–12

Proactive measures
Workplace assessments 145
Staff health assessments 209
Staff influenza vaccinations 337
Wellbeing indicators
Staff using employee assistance (%) 1.71%
Days of unscheduled absence per full-time-equivalent employeea 13.97
Incident managementb
New claims accepted by Comcarec 19
Total weeks lost from new claims through incapacity 59.92
Average time off work per injury (weeks) 3.15
Special or serious incidents requiring Comcare investigation Nil
Directions or notices issued to the Department under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 Nil

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 10 accepted claims from former employees, nine from the Australian National Railways which was sold by the Australian Government in 1997–98, and one from the former Department of Aviation.

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Last Updated: 17 November, 2014