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Australian Government - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Advancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally

Australian Government - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Advancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally



Appendix 4

Occupational health and safety

Information in this appendix is provided in accordance with section 74 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991 (the OHS Act).

Health and safety management arrangements

The department attaches a high priority to the health, safety and wellbeing of its employees and is committed to facilitating an organisational culture that actively seeks to improve work practices and to foster attitudes which sustain healthy and safe work environments. The department’s Health and Safety Management Arrangements (HSMA) provide the structural framework within which OH&S is managed, and outline the responsibilities of management, supervisors, employees and their representatives.

The department’s Workplace Relations Committee (WRC), Occupational Health and Safety sub-committee meets quarterly, representing the collective interests of the employer, employees, contractors, clients and visitors. OH&S forums also operate in state and territory offices and at overseas posts. The forums facilitate cooperation on OH&S matters between management and employees and assist in the dissemination of health and safety information.

Potential Comcare clients include all of our APS employees located in Australia and overseas and some locally engaged staff at overseas posts. The case manager is also available to assist staff not covered by Comcare, including locally engaged staff covered under overseas insurance arrangements and contract employees.

Initiatives taken during the year to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of employees and contractors

The OH&S/rehabilitation case manager arranged for external ergonomic consultants to undertake 97 individual work-station assessments for employees and three group work-station awareness sessions. Seventy-one in-house work-station assessments were undertaken by the OH&S Manager. Training in safe lifting and handling techniques was provided by an external consultant. The department continued to provide first aid training and maintain a register of first aid trained staff on the department’s intranet. This includes 84 staff in Canberra and 212 staff in state and territory offices and overseas posts. Health and safety awareness messages (throughout Australia and overseas) were conveyed through the department’s SATIN network. Other measures included employer-subsidised eyesight testing for screen-based work and training for fire wardens and health and safety representatives. The department offered influenza vaccinations to employees covered by the 2009-10 Collective Agreement.

Health and safety outcomes achieved

Sixty-nine OH&S incidents were reported to the OH&S/rehabilitation case manager in accordance with the department’s incident notification and reporting procedures. Relevant remedial action was undertaken to eliminate or minimise recurrences. The OH&S/rehabilitation case manager continued to liaise with the department’s Medical Unit, the Staff Counselling Office and personnel and property managers to promote a safe and healthy workplace.

Reporting requirements under the Act

One incident was notified to Comcare under section 68 of the Act.

No directions were given to the department under section 45 of the Act.

No notices were issued under section 29, section 46 or section 47 of the Act.

No investigations were conducted.

Table 25. Occupational health and safety statistics

 
2007–08
2008–09
2009–10
Total departmental staff covered by Comcare (includes employees located in Australia, Australia-based employees overseas and, where applicable, locally engaged staff overseas)
2577
2704
2874

Number of claims accepted by Comcare:

• falls, trips and slips

• hitting objects

• being hit by a moving object

• sound and pressure

• body stressing

• heat/chemical, biological or other substances

• mental stress

• other

Total

3

0

2

0

8

2

2

1

18

4

1

1

1

4

0

2

0

13

4

1

0

2

4

0

1

2

14

Average cost of compensation claims to date*
$14 393
$2 312
$5 350
Departmental premium for Comcare coverage (as a percentage of total departmental wages and salaries) as at 30 June 2010**
0.52
0.76
0.50

* Based on customer information data compiled by Comcare as at 30 June 2010; covers cost of sick leave taken and hospital/medical/pharmaceutical costs. These figures are represented in the year the injury or illness occurred and can change from year to year as additional claims are lodged or costs incurred.
** The Comcare coverage premium for current and previous years is reviewed annually by Comcare based on the changes during the year in the number of claims and the average cost of all claims relating to injury or illness.

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