Australian Government - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Advancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally

Australian Government - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Advancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally

Appendix 4

Occupational health and safety

Information in this appendix is provided in accordance with section 74 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991 (the OHS Act).

Health and safety management arrangements

The department attaches a high priority to the health, safety and wellbeing of its employees and is committed to facilitating an organisational culture that actively seeks to improve work practices and to foster attitudes which sustain healthy and safe work environments. The department’s Health and Safety Management Arrangements (HSMA) provide the structural framework within which OH&S is managed. These arrangements outline the responsibilities of management, supervisors, employees and their representatives.

The department’s Workplace Relations Committee (WRC), Occupational Health and Safety subcommittee, meets quarterly and represents the interests of all employees. OH&S forums also operate in state and territory offices and at overseas posts. The forums facilitate cooperation on OH&S matters between management and employees and assist in the dissemination of health and safety information.

Initiatives taken during the year

The OH&S unit successfully trialled monthly information sessions covering issues such as quitting smoking, alcohol awareness and manual handling. Training was also provided in first aid, the role of safety representatives and on the harmonisation of OH&S legislation. Attendance at these sessions was encouraging and indicative of the department’s strong safety culture.

An audit of the department’s OH&S management system was undertaken in preparation for the implementation of Work Health Safety legislation to come into effect in January 2012. Results from this audit are being reviewed and an action plan developed to enhance the department’s OH&S framework and management systems.

Health and safety outcomes achieved

During the year, 73 OH&S incidents were reported to the OH&S unit in accordance with the department’s incident notification and reporting procedures. Relevant remedial action was undertaken to eliminate or control the risk of recurrence of these incidents. Ergonomic workstation assessments continued to be provided to staff, as did influenza vaccinations.

Reporting requirements under the OHS Act

One incident was notified to Comcare under section 68 of the Act.

No directions were given to the department under section 45 of the Act.

No notices were issues under section 29, section 46 or section 47 of the Act.

No investigations were conducted.


  2008–09 2009–10 2010–11
Total departmental staff covered by Comcare (includes
employees located in Australia, Australia-based
employees overseas and, where applicable, locally
engaged staff overseas)
2704 2874 3305
Number of claims accepted by Comcare:      
- falls, trips and slips 4 4 4
- hitting objects 1 1 0
- being hit by a moving object 1 0 0
- sound and pressure 1 2 0
- body stressing 4 4 5
- heat/chemical, biological or other substances 0 0 1
- mental stress 2 1 2
- other 0 2 1
Total 13 14 13
Average cost of compensation claims to date* $2 312 $5 350 $6 013
Departmental premium for Comcare coverage (as a
percentage of total departmental wages and salaries)
as at 30 June 2011**
0.76 0.50 0.71

* Based on customer information data compiled by Comcare as at 30 June 2011; 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.
** The Comcare coverage premium for current and previous years is reviewed annually by Comcare based on the changes during the year in the number of claims and the average cost of all claims relating to injury or illness.

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