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C9 Workplace health and safety


The Directorate is dedicated to improving workplace health and safety across schools and the central office. The Workplace Health and Safety and Injury Management Improvement Strategy 2009-2012 (the Strategy) provides a planned, documented and quantifiable approach for injury prevention and management. The Strategy was a requirement under the ACTPS Workplace Health Strategic Plan 2008-2012 and was due to be reviewed. The review was in line with the implementation on 1 January 2012 of the ACT Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and the new one service approach to injury prevention and management implemented on 10 April 2012. The review of the strategy was anticipated for completion in August 2012. The Strategy will continue to provide the basis for improved injury prevention and early intervention performance against the new Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) set out in the ACTPS Worker's Compensation and Work Saftey Improvement Plan (the Plan).

The Plan is designed as a holistic approach to improving the health and return to work outcomes of ACTPS injured workers. The Plan outlines a one service approach with the co-location of injury management services for whole of government and joint responsibilities for the Directorate and Shared Services in improving outcomes against KPIs. These KPIs will form the basis of reporting for the 2012-13 reporting period.

The Implementation of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 on 1 January 2012 and the associated changes to regulations and codes of practice led to a comprehensive review of the Directorate's safety management system and workplace health and safety policy and procedures. New initiatives were developed including site based risk registers to support the role of 'Officer' with their due diligence obligation and to assist the Directorate in achieving legislative compliance.

Investigations

The Directorate works in close partnership with WorkSafe ACT in responding immediately to any issue relating to safety on our sites. In the reporting period, the Directorate had three Prohibition Notices (P643, P644 and P646). These notices were issued in relation to non-compliance under the Work Safety Act 2008 for asbestos related risks. Notices P643 and P644 were issued in October 2011 and related to an asbestos risk in a transportable building at Jervis Bay School. P643 was issued on Monday 17 October 2011 and resolved immediately. On 27 October 2011, a further notice was issued on the transportable building, the Directorate isolated the building immediately. The owner of the structure (the Australian Government) removed the structure in April 2012. Notice P646 was issued on 4 November 2011 in relation to asbestos management processes undertaken during maintenance works. This notice was withdrawn after further consultation evidenced an appropriate system for the management of this risk.

The Directorate had one Improvement Notice (AD11/001) issued on 20 September 2011 in relation to bullying and harassment. This notice was incorrectly issued and was withdrawn.

A total of 484 staff Accident/Incident Reports were received during 2011-12, a decrease from the previous year's figure of 533. There were 11 staff notifiable incidents reported under section 38 of the ACT Work Safety Act 2008 and one under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

The Directorate received 964 student Accident/Incident Reports and 31 third party Accident/Incident Reports. This was an increase from the previous reporting period, which recorded a figure of 986 (this number is inclusive of both student and third party reports). All student and third party reports are notifiable under section 38 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and were reported to WorkSafe ACT.

Worker consultation arrangements and health and safety representatives

As required under the ACT Work Health and Safety Act 2011, the Directorate consulted with employees regarding Worker Consultation Units. A total of 85 Worker Consultation Units were formed during 2011-12. The Directorate had 88 health and safety representatives and 54 deputy health and safety representatives undertaking their responsibilities. To support the health and safety representatives, training was delivered to over 66 newly elected health and safety representatives in March and May 2012. Quarterly network meetings for representatives were conducted in August and November 2011 and March and June 2012. These contact points ensured up-to-date health and safety information was disseminated throughout the Directorate.

Injury Prevention and Management Policy Committee

The Injury Prevention and Management Policy Committee is the key consultative committee for the Directorate's workplace health and safety matters. The Committee has overseen the development of new and existing health and safety initiatives such as:

Injury prevention and management programs

In 2011-12, a range of programs were implemented throughout the Directorate to ensure the safety and welfare of staff including:

Box C9.1: Melrose High School - a MindMatters school

Photo of students and staff celebrate Melrose High School being part of the national mental health initiative - MindMatters.

Melrose High School became the first ACT public school to be accredited by MindMatters. MindMatters, a leading national mental health initiative for secondary schools, is managed by Principals Australia Institute and funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.

Melrose was one of 17 schools and colleges from across all states and territories to be recognised at the National MindMatters ceremony held on 9 December 2011 in Adelaide.

Melrose High School project leader, Ms Crystal Mahon, along with a wide team of staff, developed and implemented a whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing resulting in a greater connectedness to school and improved outcomes for young people. Jill Pearman from MindMatters said that Melrose High School had done a great job and achieved significant outcomes impacting on the mental health and wellbeing of young people.

Injury prevention and management targets

The Directorate worked towards improving workplace health and safety performance through the:

The Directorate has continued to address and maintain the timeliness of reporting. These include appropriate referrals to return to work coordinators, Preferred Provider Panel and the Redeployment Network Panel.

The 2011-12 insurance premium rate for the Directorate was 2.79 percent. This was a slight deterioration compared with the 2010-11 result (2.75 percent) but compares favourably with the whole of government result of a 13.4 percent increase for the same period. There was a decrease in the number of claims reported with 123 claims accepted for compensation. The early intervention focus adopted by the Directorate saw a sustained improvement in meeting the performance for targets on the number of workplace injuries reaching five days incapacity and average time lost (average number of weeks off for workers' compensation per 1,000 employees). The Directorate is required to report on its performance against these national improvement targets, which also form part of the ACT Public Service Workplace Health Strategic Plan 2008-2012.

Target 1: Reduce the number of claims reaching five days incapacity by 40 percent over the period 2002 to 2012

Table C9.1: The number of new claims reaching five days incapacity and rate per 1,000 employees, 2001-02 to 2011-12

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

2011-12

Number of new five day claims

72

101

92

89

98

101

80

85

80

74

70

Rate per 1,000 employees

17.3

23.5

20.5

19.7

23.4

22.8

18.0

19.6

17.5

16.1

15.1

Directorate target

17.3

16.6

15.9

15.2

14.5

13.8

13.1

12.4

11.8

11.1

10.4

ACTPS number of new five day claims

412

472

449

441

459

379

291

330

333

355

322

Rate per 1,000 employees

25.3

27.4

25.9

25.9

26.4

21.9

16.3

17.9

17.9

18.0

16.3

ACTPS target

25.3

24.3

23.3

22.2

21.2

20.2

19.2

18.2

17.2

16.2

15.2

Source: Human Resources Branch

Target 2: Eliminate all fatalities due to workplace injuries by 2012
No fatalities occurred due to workplace injuries during the reporting period.

Target 3: Reduce the average lost time rate by 40 percent over the period 2002 to 2012

Table C9.2: The number of weeks of incapacity and rate per 1,000 employees, 2001-02 to 2011-12

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

2011-12

Weeks incapacitated

2,002

2,287

2,224

2,220

2,544

2,275

2,129

2,399

2,104

2,071

2,159

Rate per 1,000 employees

481

533

495

491

608

514

478

552

467

449

464

Directorate target

481

461

442

423

404

384

365

346

327

308

288

ACTPS target

801

769

737

705

672

641

609

577

545

513

481

Source: Human Resources Branch


For more information contact:
Director
Human Resources
(02) 6205 9202