APPENDIX 8 - OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY
The Department has a demonstrated commitment to providing a safe and healthy work environment for staff, contractors and visitors at or near our workplaces. During 2004-05, this commitment was reflected in:
- the Department’s Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) Policy and Agreement which was developed in consultation with staff;
- the Department’s Certified Agreement 2004-2007, which articulates the organisation’s commitment to not only legislative compliance but also to pursuing better practice in injury prevention and management;
- OH&S being identified as a priority in the Department’s People Strategy 2004-2007, and monitored via a range of OH&S target indicators;
- continuing implementation of the Workplace Injury Prevention and Management (WIPM) Strategy 2002-2007, which included projects and initiatives, undertaken in partnership with Comcare, to improve the Department’s OH&S systems and performance, and to establish a safer workplace culture; and
- ongoing commitments to achieve OH&S targets identified in the National Occupational Health and Safety Strategy 2002-2012, and implementation of the Department’s Health and Life Strategy.
A primary indicator of OH&S performance is the workers’ compensation premium rate levied annually by Comcare. Over the last three years, the Department has reduced its workers’ compensation premium rate from 141 per cent of the Australian Government average in 2001-02 to 94 per cent of the average in 2004-05.
The Department’s commitment to OH&S, its performance, and its systems improvements in 2004-05 were recognised at the 2005 Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission Safety Awards on 28 July 2005, where the Department received the Leadership in Injury Prevention and Management award.
The Department was also the only public sector agency invited by Comcare to present our better practice package at the Comcare National Rehabilitation Conference in November 2004.
The following provides details on matters specified for inclusion in an annual report under section 74 of the Occupational Health and Safety (Commonwealth Employment) Act 1991
The occupational health and safety policy of the department or authority during the financial year, including details of:
- any agreement made with employees relating to occupational health and safety;
- the establishment of committees to deal with occupational health and safety matters; and
- the selection of health and safety representatives.
The Occupational Health and Safety Policy and Agreement (2002) between the Department and relevant unions remained in effect, and is now being updated.
The Department’s Certified Agreement was renegotiated during 2004-05, and included a strong focus on OH&S.
Established Health and Safety Committees continued to meet quarterly in Central Office, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and each State and Territory Office. Other committees with key roles in addressing safety included:
- staff consultative forums in each organisational unit of the Department;
- the Institutional Bio Safety Committee in the TGA;
- Laboratory Safety Committee in the TGA; and
- Emergency Planning Committees.
All staff were identified to a Designated Work Group, and Health and Safety Representative selection and training was undertaken to ensure effective staff representation on safety matters.
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Measures taken during the year to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of employees and contractors of the Department.
- continuing the Department’s Workplace Injury Prevention and Management Strategy 2002-2007 with notable improvements to a range of injury prevention and management systems and practices;
- provision of a range of OH&S related programs including first aid services, emergency evacuation systems, fire safety systems, eyesight testing and workstation setup assistance for staff;
- immunisation (including Hepatitis B and flu) for staff identified at risk or presenting a potential risk to clients;
- provision of training, awareness seminars and OH&S guidance material on a broad range of safety related topics; and
- continuing focus on the health and welfare of staff through the Department’s Health and Life Strategy.
Statistics of any accidents or dangerous occurrences during the year that arose out of the conduct of undertakings by the Department and that required the giving of notice under section 68.
Notifications to Comcare under section 68 of the Occupational Health and Safety (Commonwealth Employment) Act 1991
- nine dangerous occurrences; and
- three serious personal injuries.
Investigations conducted during the year that relate to undertakings carried on by the employer, including details of all:
- tests conducted on any plant, substance or thing in the course of such investigations;
- directions given to the employer under section 45 during the year; and
- notices given to the employer under section 29, 46 and 47 during the year.
Tests conducted for ongoing staff safety included:
- eyesight testing for staff;
- electrical equipment safety testing;
- air quality testing;
- regular testing of cooling tower functions for contaminants; and
- medical testing of individuals as appropriate.
No directions or notices under the Occupational Health and Safety (Commonwealth Employment) Act 1991
were served on the Department by Health and Safety Representatives or Comcare during the year.