Appendix 4: Workplace health and safety

Information in this appendix is provided in accordance with Schedule 2, Part 4 of the Work Health and Safety Act (Cth) 2011.

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 workplace practices, and to foster attitudes which sustain healthy and safe working environments. In support of this, the department has implemented a Work Health and Safety (WHS) management system, which outlines the responsibilities of management, supervisors, employees and their representatives and provides a framework for the delivery of WHS policies, programs and initiatives across the department's global network.

WHS committees operate in central office, state and territory offices, and at overseas posts. The committees facilitate cooperation on WHS matters between management and workers and take an active role in the dissemination of health and safety information.

Initiatives taken during the year

A mandatory online work health and safety training program was released to provide all departmental workers, including locally engaged staff and contractors, with access to relevant WHS information.

The department initiated a business improvement audit by Comcare. The audit assessed the department's WHS management system against best practice standards, including overseas site verification.

The department released a comprehensive improvement action plan to implement key WHS initiatives and to address a number of non-conformances and observations made during the business improvement audit process. Improvement actions include enhancement and standardisation of DFAT's approach to:

  • hazard identification and risk management;
  • internal compliance and reporting mechanisms;
  • contractor safety management; and
  • safety management in procurement.

Health and safety outcomes achieved

During 2012–2013, 206 WHS incidents were reported to the WHS unit in accordance with the department's incident notification and reporting procedures. Appropriate remedial action was undertaken to eliminate or control the risk and prevent further occurrences.

Comprehensive WHS training was delivered to a further 16 Australia-based health and safety representatives (HSRs).

On-line WHS training of the overseas network was reinforced in Regional Management Conferences through targeted training of Senior Administrative Officers and locally engaged managers.

Reporting requirements under the Work Health and Safety Act (Cth) 2011

Three incidents were notified to Comcare under Part 3 of the Work Health and Safety Act (Cth) 2011.

No directions were given to the department under Part 11, Section 217 of the Act.

No notices were issued under Part 10, Section 191 of the Act.

One external investigation commenced under Part 9 of the Act.

Table 29: Occupational health and safety statistics

2010–11
2011–12
2012–13
Total departmental staff covered by Comcare (includes employees located in Australia, Australia-based employees overseas and, where applicable, locally engaged staff overseas)
3305
2813^
2831
Number of claims accepted by Comcare:
  • falls, trips and slips
4
9
7
  • hitting objects
0
0
2
  • sound and pressure
0
0
0
  • body stressing
5
10
10
  • heat, radiation and electricity
1
3
0
  • chemicals and other
0
1
0
  • biological factors
0
3
0
  • mental stress
2
3
2
  • other and unspecified
1
0
3
Total
13
29
24
Departmental premium for Comcare coverage (as a percentage of total departmental wages and salaries) 2012–13*
0.74
0.78
1.11

* 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 relating to injury or illness.

^ Total departmental staff covered by Comcare is calculated as an estimate and reviewed by Comcare for the previous year's actuals figure.