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

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

An external review of the Department's Work Health and Safety (WHS) framework was completed in 2012–13. This confirmed that the Department has an appropriate transition plan to the revised WHS legislation and suggested enhancements to the framework. Overall achievements in 2012–13 included development and implementation of:

  • international travel WHS guidelines
  • international travel approval plan (incorporating an international travel WHS risk control plan)
  • WHS risk assessments and a review of the WHS risk register for fieldwork activities
  • WHS compliance checklist for overseas posts, and
  • WHS eLearning program for all new staff, including contractors.

A rehabilitation management system was implemented and independently audited with no areas of non-conformance identified.

Case study

Building Resilience Campaign

In May 2013 the Department launched its Building Resilience Campaign; an internal communications package aimed at bringing together the Department's internal communications tools and activities under one banner. It represents a new approach to the health and wellbeing of our employees.

The link between health and productivity is well established so the campaign is focused on creating a healthier Department through achieving resilience to pressures at work, home and in all parts of our lives through its five streams:

  • health
  • rewards and recognition
  • communication
  • leadership, and
  • diversity.

Each stream represents a facet of resilience through physical and emotional health, valuing diversity, communicating effectively, providing leadership and recognising achievement.

Apart from offering activities such as annual health checks, influenza vaccinations, information sessions on retirement planning, quitting smoking and healthy cooking, there are also user-pays activities for aerobics, yoga, meditation and pilates.

Being resilient requires a particular mind set: gaining knowledge needed to solve problems. Through the leadership stream, senior leaders are invited throughout the year to talk to employees on their views on leadership.

In 2013 guest speakers included Ann Sherry, CEO, Carnival Australia; Nareen Young, CEO, Diversity Council of Australia; and Ian Thomas, President, Boeing Australia and South Pacific. Apart from the specific knowledge these people brought, they contributed insights into managing complex and rapidly changing issues.

The Department values and supports its employees and demonstrated this through its formal Rewards and Recognition Program which motivates employees by celebrating their achievements that contribute to meeting the Department's business objectives. Three award ceremonies are held each year.

  • Secretary's Awards: These awards are presented in August. They acknowledge teams and individuals who have shown excellence in meeting our business objectives.
  • Tenure Awards: These awards are presented in August to coincide with completion of business planning, to acknowledge employee service over five-year increments from 10 years onward.
  • Australia Day Awards: These are presented after the Australia Day weekend, to acknowledge teams and individuals who have made an exceptional contribution to the performance, culture or identity of the Department.
Building Resilience

Workplace Health and Safety Statistics

During 2012–13 there were 72 incident reports:

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

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

The Department's 2013–14 Comcare premium is 0.62 per cent of payroll. For 2012–13, the premium was revised down from 0.93 per cent to 0.88 per cent of payroll based on the agency's claims. The average premium rate for the Australian Government sector in 2013–14 is 1.81 per cent of payroll.

Table D.1 summarises work health and safety measures, indicators and incidents in 2012–13.

Table D.1 Workplace health and safety statistics in 2012–13

Proactive measures
Workplace assessments 111
Staff health assessments 459
Staff influenza vaccinations 392
Wellbeing indicators
Staff using employee assistance (%) 7.2
Days of unscheduled absence per full-time-equivalent employeea 14.52
Incident managementb
New claims accepted by Comcarec 10
Total weeks lost from new claims through incapacity 1.6
Average time off work per injury (weeks) 0.16
Special or serious incidents requiring Comcare investigation Nil
Directions or notices issued to the Department under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 1


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

b These figures are as advised by Comcare.

c Includes 8 accepted claims from former employees from the Australian National Railways which was sold by the Australian Government in 1997–98.

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Last Updated: 6 January, 2015