C9 - Workplace health and safety

Leadership

ESDD is committed to providing and maintaining a safe and healthy environment for all employees, contractors, stakeholders and clients. A program of continuous improvement has been implemented with the support and guidance of the CMTD Safety Support Team (SST). ESDD’s Work Safety Improvement Plan was completed at the end of 2012 and endorsed by the Executive in early 2013.

The ESDD Intranet includes a dedicated page on health and wellbeing that displays the Work Safety Policy Statement and First Aid Officer, Health and Safety Representative (HSR) and RED Contact Officer lists, in addition to a number of forms to actively encourage staff to seek advice independently.

With other directorates, ESDD participates actively in the People and Performance Council and HR Directors Council. In addition the Health and Safety Coordinator and Senior Manager HR meet regularly with the Chief Minister and Treasury Directorate Safety Support Team Manager, who also attends quarterly Health and Safety Committee meetings within ESDD.

Health and wellbeing

The influenza vaccine was made available at no cost to staff members in March 2013, with 188 employees vaccinated. Staff members unable to attend the in-house sessions were given the opportunity to receive a vaccination off-site.

ESDD is committed to a positive workplace culture by supporting employees’ health and wellbeing. The Employee Assistance Program through PPC Worldwide, is promoted through the Strategic HR team, with brochures and posters located throughout the workplace and a link on the intranet’s health and wellbeing page. A summary of EAP use throughout the year is:

Table:  Employees' usage of assistance program

Summary of usage

No. of staff

Total number of new client cases 27
Total number of continuing clients 6
Number of face-to-face counselling contacts 52
Number of telephone counselling contacts 4
Number of triage counselling contacts 0
Number of onsite counselling contacts 0
Number of afterhours emergency telephone counselling contacts 0
Number of ‘Ask the Psychologist’ contacts 2
Crisis intervention services 0
Comparative gender ratio F 66.7% M 33.3%
Personal issues 66.7%
Work related issues 33.3%

In recognition of the benefits of a healthy and productive workforce, ESDD actively promoted and expanded its range of other health and wellbeing initiatives, including Weight Watchers at Work, Strength and Mobility classes, Asthma Friendly Workplace, new Work Safe Act training, and accident and incident reporting information sessions. Following positive feedback received from a staff survey in March 2013, the Executive supported ongoing funding of a Health and Wellbeing Initiative program. The program, which runs from 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2014, provides financial support to employees who undertake health and wellbeing activities in their own time. Employees may be reimbursed up to $100 per annum for costs associated with approved health and wellbeing activities such as:

  • gym membership
  • weight loss programs
  • swimming pool entry fees
  • walking/running/hiking shoes and exercise equipment associated with such programs.

A total of 185 ESDD staff had applications for reimbursement approved to 30 June 2013.

Injury prevention

ESDD undertook a variety of tasks to meet the requirements of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, which led to the implementation of the ESDD Workplace Health and Safety and Injury Management Improvement Plan 2012–2013. This plan was endorsed by the Executive in early 2013 and will be reviewed regularly to ensure compliance under this Act.

Under the leadership of the Chief Minister and Treasury Directorate Safety Support Team, significant work addressed a range of criteria documented within the plan, including leadership and building commitment, risk management, emergency management, accident and incident reporting and continuous improvement. Workshops were conducted with relevant staff across ESDD to finalise the plan.

ESDD HR was proactive in providing staff with access to information and learning on a range of work health and safety issues:

  • Quarterly meetings of the Work Safety Committee, attended by HSRs, staff from Corporate branch and a representative from the CMTD SST, cover regular inspections/reporting of HSRs across the four office locations.
  • Regular meetings with CMTD SST are designed to evaluate current processes to enable areas of concern to be identified and appropriate action taken in line with ongoing process improvement initiatives.
  • Regular induction sessions for new staff include work health and safety information and obligations of all employees.
  • Quarterly workstation assessment information sessions/demonstrations are held across all office locations.

ESDD’s four office locations are supported by thirteen staff members undertaking the role of HSRs, 33 fire wardens, eleven first aid officers and twelve RED Contact officers. All officers are trained, with current qualifications in place. The thirteen HSRs conduct their duties in accordance with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and attend quarterly Work Safety Committee meetings and ongoing workplace health and safety training workshops. Three officers have undertaken further training to become qualified work station assessors.

Injury management

With the introduction of the new Injury Management Triaging system in the latter half of 2012, a number of changes have occurred in relation to compensation and non-compensation case management. While there have been some challenges to date, ESDD continues to work closely with the CMTD Injury Management team to provide clear mutual benefits both for ESDD and an injured or ill employee. The core element of ensuring ongoing effective injury management is through a proactive approach and early intervention, which in turn enables the early return to work of staff following injury or illness.

Compensable cases

The Directorate performed well over the reporting period in reducing the number of claims compared to the previous reporting period and in closing off several pre-existing claims. Four workers’ compensation claims were lodged, of which two were accepted, one was declined by Comcare and one is pending. Of the two accepted claims, one employee required 8.5 days off work and the other continued to work full-time hours on normal duties. This latter claim was closed within three months from the date of acceptance by Comcare.

The number of workers’ compensation claims for 2012–13 decreased from six in the 2011–2012 financial year to four. An additional three claims from previous years were closed.

Non-compensable cases

ESDD had eight non-compensable cases up to 30 June 2013, of which six were closed and two remain active. All eight staff were monitored throughout the year, with meetings arranged between the staff member, their manager, Strategic HR and CMTD Injury Management’s case manager on an 'as needs' basis.

Forty-two incidents were reported via the Accident and Incident Reporting (AIR) process. Of these, three were triaged through the SST with only one leading to a claim for compensation. The remaining two were referred to the non-compensation team for case management. None of these incidents required notification under Part 3 s. 38 of the Work Safety Act 2011.

Workstation assessments were made available to all staff on commencement with the Directorate and on an 'as needs' basis throughout the year. Of 32 staff provided with assessments, six required specialised assessment by an occupational therapist with associated recommendations for workplace equipment. These recommendations were actioned to ensure the timely purchase and provision of equipment such as personally tailored chairs, document holders, footstools and/or adjustments to workstation heights to avoid further aggravation to existing injuries.

ESDD, in conjunction with CMTD Injury Management, managed eight non-compensable cases, two fewer than in 2011–12. These cases were predominantly minor in nature. In all cases, every effort was made to ensure the underlying causes of the incident were addressed to minimise further risk to the individuals.

Safety

There were no incidents requiring the Directorate to report on improvement notices or prohibition notices under Part 10 of the Work Safety Act 2011. There were also no incidents requiring ESDD to report on enforceable undertakings under Part 11.

ESDD has 13 HSRs and a Work Health and Safety Committee through which worker consultation is facilitated. The HSRs conducted regular inspections and reported to management on the findings to address all concerns raised through this process. There were no significant issues reported by HSRs for the reporting period.

The Directorate has not had any serious injury, illness or dangerous incident to report to the regulator in accordance with Part 3 s. 38 of the Work Safety Act 2011.

Emergency procedures

In compliance with Australian Standard 3745–2002, ESDD's emergency control procedures for buildings, structures and workplaces included conducting regular evacuation drills, bomb alerts and training of fire wardens across all office locations. ESDD commitment to such practices exceeds the minimum requirement under these Australian Standards in terms of the number of evacuation drills and training sessions conducted for staff within a calendar year.