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C: Work health and safety

In accordance with Schedule 2, Part 4 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act), Austrade is required to report on the following items:

  • initiatives taken during the year to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of workers who carry out work for the entity
  • health and safety outcomes (including the impact on injury rates of workers) achieved as a result of the initiatives taken during the year or previous initiatives
  • statistics of any notifiable incidents of which the entity becomes aware during the year that arose out of the conduct of the undertakings by the entity
  • any investigations conducted during the year that relate to businesses or undertakings, including details of all notices given to the entity during the year under Part 10 of the WHS Act
  • such other matters required by guidelines approved on behalf of the Parliament by the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit.

Austrade strives to provide and maintain a healthy and safe working environment for its workers and others visiting Austrade locations and events. Information is available to support staff through the Workplace Relations and Conditions team, international human resources managers and the international network, and through the Austrade intranet. Initiatives and programs to promote the physical and mental wellbeing of staff in 2017–18 included:

  • a revision of work health and safety (WHS) policies and procedures to remove duplication and improve readability
  • an external audit of the WHS management system and rehabilitation management system, where 96 per cent and 84 per cent compliance was achieved respectively
  • presentations on WHS at all Austrade Today induction programs to establish duties and expectations
  • revision of the WHS online training module to reflect changes in Austrade’s operational structure
  • voluntary free health checks and influenza vaccinations for Australia-based staff
  • WHS due diligence workshops for senior Austrade staff to explain their duties under the WHS Act
  • the launch of a wellbeing page on Austrade’s intranet

Austrade has a positive reporting culture for workplace incidents and hazard identification. During 2017–18, there were 53 workplace incidents reported across Austrade’s network (Figure C1), an increase of 12.8 per cent on the previous year. Of these incidents, none required compensation scheme support. Workplace injuries from previous years compensated under the Comcare scheme accounted for 280 work days in 2017–18.

Figure C1: Workplace incidents reported within Austrade’s incident reporting system, 2014–15 to 2017–18

Figure C1: Workplace incidents reported within Austrade's incident reporting system, 2014–15 to 2017–18

Table C1 provides an overview of workplace incidents notified to Comcare under the WHS Act for the past four years.

Table C1: Workplace incidents notified by Austrade under work health and safety legislation, 2014–15 to 2017–18

2014–15

2015–16

2016–17

2017–18

Notifications

0

3

0

2

Incidents investigated by Comcare

1

0

0

0

During 2017–18, there were two incidents that met the notifiable incident provisions of the WHS Act. These incidents were:

  • an electrical fire in the Sydney office
  • an employee who hit their back on a column in an Austrade offshore office, resulting in a fractured vertebra. There was no hospital admission.

WHS inspections are conducted globally by Austrade senior managers twice a year. The inspections are conducted to assess compliance with Austrade’s WHS management system and to identify areas for improvement.

During the year, Austrade’s rehabilitation management system was independently audited and achieved 96 per cent conformance. The auditors noted continuous improvement of the system, including its amalgamation into the WHS management system. Austrade’s Executive receives monthly briefings on achievements in relation to WHS management system targets and objectives. In addition, the Austrade WHS management system is independently audited to ensure continuous improvement and best practice. In 2017–18, the system audit achieved 84 per cent conformance.

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