B.7 Work Health and Safety

The ACTPS Head of Service signed the ACT Public Sector Work Health and Safety Policy Statement on behalf of the Service including the Directorate. The Policy outlines the commitment of the Service to the health and safety of its workers and other persons.

The Directorate affirms the intent of the Policy and holds the health, safety and wellbeing of its workforce and of its students at the core of its education and school improvement agenda. The Directorate continued its strong health and safety performance and, with the introduction and systemisation of its health and safety support, has sought to further influence and enhance this performance.

The Directorate implemented a number of initiatives to further support its workers’ health, safety and wellbeing including:

  • completing actions from the PricewaterhouseCoopers audit of the Directorate work health and safety management systems in 2015;
  • implementation of the Directorate Safety Management System, which centrally locates all health and safety documentation including policies, procedures, resources and tools;
  • development and rollout of model health and safety risk registers for schools to assist duty holders identify and manage the hazards and risks in their environment;
  • development and rollout of health and safety risk registers for Building Service Officers;
  • implementation of mandatory Work, Health and Safety (WHS) training for keys groups across the Directorate including Business Managers, Building Service Officers, Health and Safety Representatives, First Aid Officers;
  • providing an influenza vaccination program for permanent and contract officers;
  • providing a Hepatitis A/B vaccination program for workers in high risk roles;
  • establishment of critical incident assessment and reporting protocols to Senior Executive management team for ‘notifiable incidents’;
  • establishment of a standard operating procedure for the provision of Employee Assistance Program (EAP) support for workers in critical incident situations;
  • implementation and the promotion of the ACT Public Sector Work Injury Reporting (RiskMan) online accident and incident reporting system for staff and third parties;
  • delivery of injury prevention programs for the three highest mechanisms of injury; and
  • continued development and implementation of the Directorate 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.

INVESTIGATIONS

WorkSafe ACT issued the Directorate with one Improvement Notice on 9 September 2015 in relation to a single incident involving a band-saw. The Heath Safety and Wellbeing team (HSW) supported the school to review the equipment operating procedures, and with advice on safe work methods and behavior within the workshop area. HSW consulted WorkSafe on the actions implemented to eliminate further risk. WorkSafe supported the intervention and corrective actions and removed the notice.

The Directorate reported 33 notifiable incidents to WorkSafe ACT during the reporting period including in relation to asbestos, electricity and/or events where a worker attended hospital or sought medical treatment.

A total of 1,201 worker work health and safety incident reports were received during the 2015-16 reporting period including 32 other parties. This marked a significant improvement in reporting for the Directorate with numbers increasing from 680 in the previous year and is reflective of the introduction of the ACT Public Service incident reporting system, RiskMan, across the Directorate.

HSW reviews all RiskMan reports for corrective actions and, in response, has conducted 47 follow up inspections and site visits to assess the WHS issues and to provide support and advice to further eliminate risk.

There were 1,578 student accident and incident reports and eight third party incident reports for the 2015-16 reporting period.

WORKER CONSULTATION ARRANGEMENTS AND HEALTH AND SAFETY REPRESENTATIVES

The Directorate is committed to effective communication and consultation with its workers on Work Health and Safety (WHS) matters at all levels of the organisation. WHS is a standing agenda item for staff meetings and the Directorate has established reporting frameworks and network wide consultation opportunities to formalise discussions with stakeholder groups.

The Directorate has established Worker’s Consultation Units (WCU) with its workers.  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 multiple units. A total of 97 WCUs have been formed. WCUs include all ACT Government primary schools, preschools, early childhood schools, high schools, colleges, and central office locations.

The Directorate had 97 Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) and 43 Deputy HSRs undertaking responsibilities during the 2015-16 reporting period. The primary role and function of the HSR is to represent workers within their WCU in relation to health and safety matters.

Quarterly network meetings for key stakeholder groups including HSRs, Building Service Officers, Business Managers and Principals are held to ensure up-to-date health and safety information is disseminated and discussed throughout the Directorate.

INJURY PREVENTION AND MANAGEMENT

INJURY PREVENTION AND MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE

The Directorate formally consults with worker groups through the Injury Prevention and Management Committee. The Committee is the key consultative forum for the Directorate on workplace health and safety matters and has had oversight of the development of new and existing health and safety initiatives such as:

  • review of the Directorate Safety Management System;
  • mandatory training requirements for workers; and
  • implementation of the RiskMan incident reporting system across the Directorate.

INJURY PREVENTION AND MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS

In 2015-16, the Directorate implemented a range of health and safety programs to support worker welfare including:

  • delivery of the Influenza vaccination program to 2,377 permanent and contract employees;
  • providing Hepatitis A/B vaccinations to targeted worker groups including Building Service Officers, First Aid Officers, Early Childhood Educators and Learning Support Assistants;
  • providing workstation assessments to assist with ergonomic set-up for 54 workers;
  • development of 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/risks and implement appropriate controls;
  • establishing mandatory health and safety training requirements for key worker groups within the Directorate;
  • delivering four Managing Psychological Illness in the Workplace seminars for Principals and Deputy Principals; and
  • continuation of the Employee Assistance Program that offers counseling for workers and their families for both work and non-work related matters. The Directorate has engaged three EAP service providers through a whole of Government procurement contract.

PERFORMANCE AGAINST THE AUSTRALIAN WORK HEALTH AND SAFETY STRATEGY 2012-22 TARGETS

Target 1 - A reduction of at least 30 per cent in the incidence rate of claims resulting in one or more weeks off work

The Directorate continues to perform above target expectations and has recorded a further reduction in claims of one week or more for the reporting period as indicated in Table B7.1. This continual improvement marks an overall 45 percent reduction of claims since the introduction of the target in 2012 -13.

The result reflects the Directorate’s focus on its workers wellbeing and early intervention injury management strategies, the ongoing risk assessment of all accident or incident reporting, and the provision of specialist advice and support to key stakeholder groups.

TABLE B7.1: REDUCE THE INCIDENCE RATE OF CLAIMS RESULTING IN ONE OR MORE WEEKS OFF WORK BY AT LEAST 30 PERCENT

Education Baseline (Avg FY 09- 12) 2012 - 13 2013 - 14 2014 - 15 2015 - 16 2016 - 17 2017 - 18 2018 - 19 2019 - 20 2020 - 21 2021 - 22
EDU # new 5 day claims 76.00 77.00 69.00 42.00 34.00      
EDU rate per 1000 employees 16.64 16.08 14.56 8.35 6.65      
EDU Target 1 16.64 16.15 15.65 15.15 14.65 14.15 13.65 13.15 12.65 12.15 11.65
ACTPS # new 5 day claims 336.33 371 326 280 205 
ACTPS rate per 1000 employees 17.21 18.17 15.48 12.89 9.33 
ACTPS Target 1 17.21 16.69 16.18 15.66 15.14 14.63 14.11 13.60 13.08 12.56 12.05

Source: Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate

Note: Data are based on those claims received by Comcare in each financial year. Past years’ claim numbers may differ from results published in previous annual reports due to maturation of claims data. The report includes accepted claims which result in one or more weeks off work. Data includes claims up to 30 June 2016.

Target 2 - A reduction of at least 30 percent in the incidence rate of claims for musculoskeletal disorders resulting in one or more weeks off work

The preventative strategies and early intervention injury management focus adopted by the Directorate has resulted in a significant reduction in musculoskeletal disorders claims achieving a rate of 3.91 claims per 1,000 employees for the reporting period as indicated in Table B7.2.  This reduction reflects a 48 percent overall decrease in claims since the introduction of the target in 2012-13.

The Directorate has established manual handling intervention strategies to support its workers including:

  • the active use of the ACTPS Manual Handling Program to support teachers and workers with responsibility for special needs students;
  • establishment of mandatory manual handling risk assessment and control training for targeted worker groups including Building Service Officers and Learning Support Assistants;
  • emphasis on manual handling risk assessment of school activities and the use of lifting equipment for high risk tasks; and
  • the establishment of school based health and safety risk registers.

TABLE B7.2: REDUCE THE INCIDENCE RATE OF CLAIMS FOR MUSCULOSKELETAL DISORDERS (MSD) BY AT LEAST 30 PERCENT

Education Baseline (Avg FY 09- 12) 2012 - 13 2013 - 14 2014 - 15 2015 - 16 2016 - 17 2017 - 18 2018 - 19 2019 - 20 2020 - 21 2021 - 22
EDU # new 5 day MSD claims 43.67 42.00 39.00 21.00 20.00      
EDU MSD rate per 1000 employees 9.56 8.77 8.23 4.18 3.91      
EDU Target 2 9.56 9.28 8.99 8.70 8.42 8.13 7.84 7.56 7.27 6.98 6.69
ACTPS # new 5 day MSD claims 224.67 240 213 180 146 
ACTPS MSD rate per 1000 employees 11.50 11.76 10.11 8.28 6.64 
ACTPS Target 2 11.50 11.15 10.81 10.46 10.12 9.77 9.43 9.08 8.74 8.39 8.05

Source: Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate

Note: Data are based on those claims received by Comcare in each financial year. Past years’ claim numbers may differ from results published in previous annual reports due to maturation of claims data. The report includes accepted claims which result in one or more weeks off work. Data includes claims up to 30 June 2016.

For further information contact:
Director
People and Performance
(02) 6205 9202

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