Work health and safety
In accordance with subsection 74(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991 (OHS Act) and Schedule 2, Part 4 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act), the annual report is to include details of the following matters:
- initiatives taken during the year to ensure the health, safety and welfare 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 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 businesses or undertakings by the entity
- any investigations conducted during the year that relate to businesses or undertakings conducted by the entity, including details of all notices given to the entity during the year under Part 10 of the WHS Act
- such other matters as are required by guidelines approved on behalf of the Parliament by the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit.
Health and safety management arrangements
Austrade seeks at all times to provide a safe and healthy working environment for employees and others in Austrade workplaces. Austrade employees have access to work health and safety information from the Workplace Support Adviser, human resources managers and through the Austrade intranet.
Austrade also has a National Work Health and Safety Committee which meets quarterly and represents the work health and safety interests of employees.
Health and safety initiatives and outcomes achieved
During the year, a number of management initiatives were undertaken to reinforce the work health and safety management arrangements and improve the safety culture across the organisation. These included:
- review of all first aid officers to ensure that certification and training was up to date
- review of training requirements and responsibilities for all health and safety representatives nationally. Training on the harmonisation of work health and safety legislation was provided by Comcare to health and safety representatives at Austrade's annual National Work Health and Safety Committee meeting
- briefing session delivered by Comcare to staff in the Canberra office to raise awareness of legislative changes under the WHS Act
- workshop for the Senior Executive Group, facilitated by a legal practitioner in work health and safety, to explain the legal and practical implications of the WHS Act, with particular emphasis on the due diligence framework requirements for officers under the Act and the creation of an appropriate work health and safety culture
- external audit and gap analysis of the Austrade occupational health and safety management system in preparation for the implementation of work health and safety legislation that came into effect on 1 January 2012
- review of work health and safety policies, officer regime, reporting and consultation arrangements to ensure full and proper implementation of the WHS Act
- staff workshops at onshore and offshore locations to enhance awareness of the requirements of the WHS Act, particularly in relation to the responsibilities of officers and other workers, work health and safety risk management and the assessment of office locations
- provision of work health and safety training modules (for employees and managers) in the Austrade online induction package, with completion mandatory for all staff
- implementation of location work health and safety assessments at offices worldwide to raise awareness of the importance of work health and safety, address hazards and risks, and ensure full legislative compliance
- creation of online information resources for officers and other workers to assist them in understanding their legal responsibilities under the WHS Act
- creation of online incident notification and reporting processes to meet legislative requirements under the WHS Act
- four meetings of the National Work Health and Safety Committee, held in line with health and safety management arrangements
- provision of voluntary free health checks and influenza vaccinations for Australia-based staff
- provision of ergonomic workstation assessments for staff
- engagement of an external expert, as part of Austrade's enforceable undertaking, to audit the existing work health and safety management system and create an enhanced, comprehensive and integrated system for Austrade.
During the year, 24 work health and safety incidents were reported to the Workplace Support Unit in accordance with Austrade's incident notification and reporting procedures. Action was undertaken to assess all incidents reported. The elimination or control of the risks identified was actioned to minimise the risk of such incidents reoccurring.
Reporting requirements under the OHS Act and WHS Act
One incident was reported to Comcare under section 38(5) of the WHS Act, which requires reporting of a death or serious injury. The incident related to a dangerous occurrence in the Hanoi office, resulting in superficial injuries and no lost time.
No notices were given to Austrade under sections 29, 46 or 47 of the OHS Act or Part 10 of the WHS Act during the year.
No investigations were conducted under the OHS Act or the WHS Act.
Austrade gave an enforceable undertaking to Comcare, which was accepted by Comcare in April 2012, in accordance with clause 16 of Schedule 2 of the OHS Act.
Appendix Table D1 shows the number of work health and safety claims that Comcare accepted from Austrade staff between 2009–10 and 2011–12.
|Total agency staff covered by Comcare (includes employees located in Australia, Australia-based employees overseas and, where applicable, overseas-engaged employees)||556||544||507|
|Number of claims accepted by Comcare|
|Sound and pressure||1|
|Other and unspecified||2|
|Falls, trips and slips||1|
|Average cost of compensation claims to date ($)||150,734||139,454||38,196|
Note: Statistics based on customer information compiled by Comcare as at 30 June 2012. Covers cost of sick leave taken and hospital/medical/pharmaceutical costs. These figures are represented in the year the injury or illness occurred and can change from year to year as additional claims are lodged or costs incurred.