The Directorate is dedicated to improving workplace health and safety across schools and central office. Key actions for the reporting period included:
- the ongoing review and redevelopment of the Directorate's Safety Management System and Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) policy and procedures;
- the development and implementation of new and ongoing initiatives outlined in the Health, Safety and Wellbeing Strategic Plan 2013 – 2015. These include the development of site based WHS Risk Registers and programs to address the three highest mechanisms of injury for the Directorate: slips, trips and falls; being hit by moving objects; and body stressing;
- continued development of the Work Health and Safety Manual which includes all policies, procedures and guidance material, with priority or high risk areas being finalised first;
- implementation of the WHS mandatory training plan 2013 – 2015 for key cohorts (Business Managers, Building Services Officers, Health and Safety Representatives, First Aid Officers) and tracking of attendance;
- maintenance of records for completion of WHS online learning module for induction;
- WHS governance structure documented and communicated to relevant stakeholders; and
- formal status monitoring of recommendations from 2013 WHS schools audit to ensure recommendations were actioned in a timely manner.
The Directorate continues to support the holistic, 'one service' approach to improving the health and return to work outcomes of ACTPS injured workers outlined in the ACTPS Workers' Compensation and Work Safety Improvement Plan. Key actions for the reporting period included:
- the development of monthly injury management performance reports to Corporate Executive Team and quarterly reports to the Senior Executive Team;
- the development of an Injury Management Toolkit to assist principals and managers to understand roles and responsibilities of the return to work process and the principles of reasonable adjustment; and
- the review of current injury management processes to assist principals to manage non-compensable injuries and return to work processes at their site.
In the reporting period, 16 notifiable incidents were reported to Worksafe ACT and followed up by the Health, Safety and Wellbeing section of the Directorate. These incidents related to asbestos, electricity, falls, heart attack at the workplace and student injury.
A total of 991 staff accident or incident reports were received during 2013-14. This figure increased from the previous year's figure of 696. This increase reflects ongoing communication from the Health, Safety and Wellbeing (HSW) team raising the awareness of the requirements of reporting incidents in the workplace.
HSW investigated 72 incidents reported via accident or incident reporting and/or requests to visit schools to assess WHS issues and provide advice. The Chief Minister and Treasury Directorate Safety Support Team provided support to the Directorate with the follow up of three WHS issues.
The Directorate received 1,454 student accident or incident reports and 26 third party accident or incident reports. All student and third party reports were notifiable under section 38 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act) and were reported to Worksafe ACT.
Worker Consultation Arrangements and Health and Safety Representatives
As required under the WHS Act, the Directorate consulted with employees regarding Workers Consultation Units (WCU). A WCU is the group of workers with whom the consultation arrangements will be agreed and to whom they will be applied. The WCU may include all workers, or the workers may be arranged into units. WCUs include all ACT Government primary schools, early childhood schools, high schools, colleges and central office locations. A total of 92 WCUs were formed during 2013-14.
The Directorate had 89 Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) and 62 Deputy HSRs undertaking responsibilities during 2013-14. The primary role and function of the HSR is to represent workers within their work group in relation to health and safety matters.
To support the HSRs, quarterly network meetings were conducted in September and November 2013 and March and May 2014. This ensured up-to-date health and safety information was disseminated throughout the Directorate.
Injury Prevention and Management Policy Committee
The Injury Prevention and Management (IPM) Policy Committee is the key consultative committee for the Directorate's workplace health and safety matters. The IPM Committee has oversight of the development of new and existing health and safety initiatives such as:
- ongoing review of the Workplace Health and Safety Manual;
- WHS policy and procedure review;
- participation in the Chief Minister and Treasury Directorate's Health and Safety Manual Handling project;
- discussions of the rollout of Riskman, a new accident/incident reporting system for whole of Government;
- participation in development of the Managing Hazardous Manual Tasks Policy by the Chief Minister and Treasury Directorate Safety Support team;
- Slips, Trips and Falls Guidance and Checklist form;
- development of the Injury Management Toolkit with endorsement by the IPM Committee;
- development of Health and Safety Representative Guidelines; and
- IPM Committee Terms of Reference.
Injury Prevention and Management Programs
In 2013-14, a range of programs were implemented throughout the Directorate to ensure the safety and welfare of staff including:
- ongoing implementation of the Directorate's Health, Safety and Wellbeing Strategic Plan
2013 – 2015 in line with the WHS Act and the targets outlined in the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012 – 22;
- continuing to address the timeliness of reporting and appropriate referrals to Chief Minister and Treasury Directorate Injury Management;
- delivery of the influenza vaccination program to 2,355 permanent and contract employees. Hepatitis A/B vaccination were delivered to targeted employee groups including Building Services Officers, First Aid Officers, Early Childhood Educators and Learning Support Assistants;
- delivery of workstation assessments to assist with ergonomic set-up to 34 employees during 2013-14. This included development and delivery of a workstation safety mouse mat with ergonomic set up to office based staff within the Directorate;
- development of a WHS Risk Register for all schools and central office. The WHS Risk Register is a tool for executive, principals, managers and supervisors to manage key hazards and risks and implement appropriate controls for site specific Directorate workplaces;
- ongoing implementation of audit recommendations provided by PricewaterhouseCoopers after undertaking a WHS audit at the end of 2013;
- follow up of 13 schools Workplace Heath and Safety Improvement Action Plans. Recommendations based on an internal audit conducted on WHS risk management implementation and managing specific and regulated hazards in 2012-13;
- ongoing injury prevention programs for the three highest mechanisms of injury: slips, trips and falls; being hit by moving objects; and body stressing;
- mandatory training conducted during 2013-14 included Respectful Workplaces, Asbestos Awareness, Confined Space, Work Safely at Heights, Safe Handling of Sharps and Infectious Waste, General Manual Handling and Chemical Awareness. Training groups targeted were Building Services Officers, Business Managers, HSRs and First Aid Officers as a control measure to assist in the reduction of the Directorate's risks. A Mandatory Training Plan was developed and implemented during the reporting period; and
- continuation of the Employee Assistance Program, which is an independent, confidential, short term, solutions-focused counselling service for staff and their immediate families. The service offers counselling for both work and non-work related matters. The average utilisation rate during 2013-14 was 6.21 percent compared with 5.69 percent in 2012-13 (Figure E3.1).
Figure E3.1: Number of participants accessing the Employee Assistance Program a, 2009-10 to 2013-14
Source: Education and Training Directorate
a. Includes both employee assistance and manager assistance participants.
The 2013–14 insurance premium rate for the Directorate was 3.44 percent. This was an increase from the 2013–14 rate of 3.17 percent and compared against the whole of government result of 4.91 percent for the same period. There were 146 claims accepted for the calendar year ending December 2013 (159 for 2012).
Target 1: Reduce the Number of Worker Fatalities by at Least 20 Percent
No Directorate work related fatalities were reported for this reporting period.
Target 2: Reduce the Incidence Rate of Claims Resulting in One or More Weeks off Work by at Least 30 Percent
There was a 42 percent reduction in claims requiring one or more weeks off work through early intervention and ongoing risk assessment of all accident or incident reporting and the provision of specialist advice to prevent reoccurrence and further injury. This was achieved by:
- modifications to the work environment to facilitate a safe and robust return to work process;
- workplace assessment and advice;
- workstation assessments and increased awareness of self set-up;
- ergonomic assessments; and
- regular contact from executives (principals), managers and supervisors to keep absent workers engaged.
Table E3.1: Reduce the incidence rate of claims resulting in one or more weeks off work by at least 30 percent
| Number of new five day claims - |
| Rate per 1,000 employees|
|Directorate target||Number of new five day claims - ACTPS|| Rate per 1,000 employees|
Source: Continuous Improvement and Workers' Compensation Branch, Workforce Capability and Governance Division, Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate
a. The baseline is an average of the three years: 2009-10, 2010-11, and 2011-12
Target 3: Reduce the Incidence Rate of Claims for Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD) Resulting in One or More Weeks off Work by At Least 30 Percent
The early intervention focus adopted by the Directorate has seen a reduction of 35 percent in musculoskeletal disorders.
The ACTPS Manual Handling Program provides support for teachers and workers responsible for special needs students through:
- provision of support and advice to Directorate Health, Safety and Wellbeing Team regarding manual handling;
- delivery of training to specialist schools and improvement in safe work practices. The emphasis of this training has been on body stressing reduction, using lifting equipment and performing student transfers; and
- review and advice on equipment/procedures/training and an increased assessment of the work environment.
Table E3.2: Reduce the incidence rate of claims for musculoskeletal disorders resulting in one or more weeks off work, by at least 30 percent a,b
| Number of new five day claims |
| Rate per 1,000 employees|
|Directorate target|| Number of new five day claims|
| Rate per 1,000 |
employees - ACTPS
Source: Continuous Improvement and Workers' Compensation Branch, Workforce Capability and Governance Division, Chief Minister, Treasury Economic Development Directorate.
a. The report includes accepted claims only.
b. Dates are based on those claims received by Comcare in each financial year.
c. The baseline is an average of the three years: 2009-10; 2010-11 and 2011-12.
For further information contact:
People and Performance
(02) 6205 9202