Occupational health and safety
The Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991 requires Commonwealth agencies to provide and maintain a safe and healthy work environment for all its employees, contractors and visitors to their workplaces. The Treasury takes this commitment seriously, and strongly promotes prevention, early intervention and education through its health, safety and wellbeing systems, policies and programs. The Treasury actively encourages staff to contribute to a safer and happier workplace by reporting potential hazards, incidents and accidents as soon as they occur, being sensible about their actions in the workplace and demonstrating Treasury People Values at all times.
The Treasury continues to explore and implement strategies to help minimise the human and financial costs of injury and illness. Case management presents issues that are complex and varied, therefore case managers need to be equally flexible and adaptable to each circumstance, with regard for legislation and internal policy. In 2010-11, the Treasury offered flexible arrangements that benefited both the department and injured or ill employees in terms of supporting them to manage their illness or injury at work.
As a signatory to Comcare’s Employer Statement of Commitment, the Treasury continues to observe the Occupational Health and Safety and Rehabilitation Performance Improvement Targets (2002-2012) and maintains its low rate of workplace injury by monitoring and evaluating performance. The Treasury’s Comcare premium rate for 2010-11 was 0.61 per cent. This rate remained lower than the Commonwealth average of 1.20 per cent, for the same period.
Ongoing risk management arrangements within the Treasury’s Health and Safety Management Arrangements include the following:
- Occupational Health and Safety presentations at new staff inductions demonstrated correct ergonomic workstation set-up and provided information relating to first aid, emergency procedures, accident/incident reporting, the Treasury’s Health and Wellbeing Program, lunchtime health activities, lens reimbursements, the Employee Assistance Program and the role of the Health and Safety Committee and Health and Safety Representatives.
- Meetings with Health and Safety Committee members and Health and Safety Representatives occurred three times in 2010-11 to monitor and review health and safety measures and facilitate cooperation amongst employees.
- Health and Safety Representatives conducted workplace inspections three times last financial year. The inspections assisted in rectifying both workplace and psychosocial hazards and helped ensure no notices were given under sections 29, 46 and 47 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991.
- Timely reporting of work-related incidents ensures immediate action is taken to rectify hazards. During 2010-11, the Treasury received 22 work-related incident reports; most related to trips, falls and body stressing. Of the 22 incidents, two compensation claims were submitted, both were accepted. Four cases were managed internally under the Early Intervention Policy. No incidents were reported to Comcare under section 68 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991.
- Managers are encouraged to report absences which may be related to physical or psychological injury or illness, so appropriate action can be put in place as soon as possible. Leave data is analysed fortnightly to enable early intervention of potentially non-reported issues.
- First aid officers are conveniently located throughout the department. Employees with underlying health conditions such as epilepsy, asthma and diabetes are encouraged to advise nearby first aid officers to ensure timely assistance is provided.
- The Treasury offers individual workstation assessments and training on ergonomics and workstation adjustment, stretching and taking breaks. A total of 216 individual workstation assessments were conducted in 2010-11. Workstation set-up training is offered as part of the Treasury’s Health and Wellbeing Program and manual handling training is also provided to relevant staff.
- Employees requiring glasses for screen-based use can be reimbursed for a portion of the cost; 25 employees sought reimbursement in 2010-11.
- Influenza vaccinations paid by the Treasury are offered annually; 394 employees received these in April 2011.
- In cooperation with the Department of Finance and Deregulation, a 10 metre smoking exclusion zone is in place around the Treasury building.