Appendix C: Work health and safety
This appendix addresses the annual reporting requirements set out for Australian Government agencies in the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, which came into effect on 1 January 2012.
The agency updated its policy framework to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Work Health and Safety Act, and provided information on the new work health and safety (WH&S) legislation to managers, employees and volunteers. Training was also provided for health and safety representatives, first aid officers, emergency wardens and harassment contact officers.
The agency’s new two-year Work Health and Safety Strategy implements a due diligence framework to comply with the new legislation. The agency applied best practice in managing WH&S; actions and activities included:
- attendance by the Deputy Directors at WH&S awareness sessions conducted by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and Comcare
- delivering WH&S training and information to all employees, volunteers and contractors, explaining their responsibilities as a worker under the Act
- including WH&S awareness as a mandatory component of the induction program for new employees, volunteers and contractors
- providing training on the new WH&S legislation and responsibilities under it to both WH&S representatives and first aid officers. The training was delivered by a Comcare–recommended WH&S training provider
- developing a dedicated intranet page to provide information on WH&S legislation and responsibilities, and notification and reporting tools
- revising procurement and contract procedures to reflect the changes in the legislation and the responsibilities of contractors
- revising human resource policies and procedures in areas such as harassment, bullying and first aid to comply with the new legislation
- developing a health and wellbeing program to promote a culture of maintaining a healthy work and life balance.
In promoting a healthy and supportive working environment, staff and their families are provided with access to an employee assistance program that offers a confidential counselling service, facilitation of teamwork issues, career advice and the management of any work-related or personal issues. Workstation assessments, free flu vaccinations and access to a career counselling service are also offered to all staff.
The Work Health and Safety Committee met on four occasions during the year; the minutes of meetings were posted on the intranet within five days.
Incidents and investigations
No accidents were reported to Comcare or Comcover, and no investigations were carried out or notices given under relevant legislation, in relation to the agency in 2011–12.