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Appendix 10 - Occupational health and safety

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Occupational health and safety

This report is presented in accordance with the requirements of section 74 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991.

The Department continues to maintain written health and safety management arrangements, as required under section 16 of the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act. These policies, along with a range of topic-specific health and safety Employee Relation Advices, are available to employees through the Department’s intranet.

The Department is committed to providing a healthy and safe work environment for all employees, contractors and visitors, and promotes the integration of early intervention and prevention strategies into day-to-day business.

The Health and Safety Committee met twice during the year, and minutes from both meetings were made available to employees on the Department’s intranet. In total, 17 new health and safety representatives were appointed to the Committee in 2010–11.

Reporting requirements under the Act

Section 68 occurrences
(Notification and reporting of accidents and dangerous occurrences)
Six accidents and dangerous occurrences were reported under section 68 of the OHS Act
Section 45 directions
(Power to direct that workplace, etc not be disturbed)
No directions were given to the Department under section 45 of the OHS Act
Section 29 notices
(Provisional improvement notices)
No notices were issued under section 29 of the OHS Act
Section 30 notices
(Duties of employers in relation to health and safety representatives)
No notices were issued under section 30 of the OHS Act
Section 41 investigations
(Investigations addressing compliance and possible breaches)
No investigations were conducted under section 41 of the OHS Act
Section 46 notices
(Power to issue prohibition notices)
No notices were issued under section 46 of the OHS Act
Section 47 notices
(Power to issue improvement notices)
No notices were issued under section 47 of the OHS Act

Outcomes for 2010–11

The Department continued to conduct regular workplace inspections during 2010–11. Reports were provided to division heads outlining recommendations for improvements in OHS practices. A reinvigorated health and safety representative network across the Department has assisted employee awareness relevant to OHS practices and workplace injury prevention strategies, resulting in divisions displaying an ongoing commitment to eliminating OHS hazards and maintaining a safe working environment.

Major activities completed in 2010–11 included:

Health and safety management arrangements: a review of the Department’s health and safety management arrangements and health and safety Employee Relation Advices commenced in early 2011. Review consultation is being facilitated through the Department’s Health and Safety Committee.

OHS inspections: workplace inspections form part of the Department’s health and safety risk management arrangements. Workplace safety inspections were undertaken during the year to ensure compliance with OHS legislation and to identify areas for improvement.

OHS training and induction: OHS induction programs were made available to new employees. The program covers the health and safety management arrangements, Employee Assistance Program, the Department’s health and wellbeing program, incident and accident reporting and workstation assessment processes. Accredited training for health and safety representatives, first aid officers and fire wardens was also provided.

Changes to workstation assessment: work station assessment arrangements were endorsed by the Department’s Operations Executive Committee and implemented during the year. The improved process enables employees to arrange an assessment through their designated health and safety representatives. A 12-month contract was initiated with several OHS providers to accommodate more complex workstation and workplace assessments.

Comcare premium: the premium for 2010–11 of 0.16 per cent of payroll costs compares favourably with the APS average premium of 1.41 per cent.

Employee Assistance Program: the Department continued to offer the Employee Assistance Program to all employees. The program provides free, confidential and professional counselling services to help resolve work and other issues that may affect an employee’s work performance. A variation to the existing contract was made in August 2010 providing piggyback arrangements to the Department’s portfolio agencies.

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