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Health and safety management in the department

The department attaches a high priority to the wellbeing of its staff and those who assist us to achieve our objectives. Our operational context makes this a complex undertaking, as we need to manage a wide variety of health and safety risks across our global network. In particular, each of our posts faces different health and safety risks, resulting from the environments and workplaces in which they are located.

To address this, we are committed to building a culture of safety leadership across the organisation that seeks to actively manage risks, improve work practices and foster attitudes that sustain healthy and safe work environments across the global network.

Work health and safety initiatives and outcomes

In July–August 2018, an independent audit assessed the compliance of the department’s WHS management system and reviewed the effectiveness of our due diligence framework. In line with the recommendations in these reports, we implemented a range of measures to strengthen our legal compliance and enhance health and safety practices across the organisation. These include revising how we approach and manage WHS
risks at a strategic level. We developed a WHS assurance program, which we will implement in the second half of 2019. The program will provide a clear overview of our WHS risks and enable a consistent approach to WHS risk management across the department. This will ensure we are better able as an organisation to improve safety outcomes.

Consistent with our focus on the broad range of health and safety issues, we are engaged in a Comcare-sponsored psychosocial survey trial. This builds on the results of an internal baseline study of psychosocial risks completed in 2018. We are using the results to develop and implement policies and procedures to mitigate these risks to our employees.

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

Incident notification—34 incidents were notified to Comcare under Part 3 of the Act.

Enforceable undertakings—no directions were given to the department under Part 11, Section 217 of the Act.

Securing compliance—one external investigation was finalised under Part 9 of the Act.

Enforcement measures—no notices were issued under Part 10, Section 191 of the Act.

Rehabilitation management

At our request, in April Comcare undertook a compliance audit of the department’s Rehabilitation Management System. While the audit identified some areas for improvement, overall it confirmed the department was satisfactorily caring for staff injured in the workplace. We are implementing the recommendations in consultation with Comcare. The department’s premium rate remains lower than the Commonwealth average.

Comcare claims accepted2016–172017–182018–19
Total number of claims accepted by Comcare211510
Department premium rate for Comcare coverage as a percentage of total departmental wages and salaries0.530.540.47
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