• Health and safety

    We met our health and safety obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991 (OHS Act) and the new Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act) that replaced it, implementing the new harmonised work health and safety laws.

    We engaged actuaries to analyse the drivers of our workers' compensation (Comcare) premium and to provide advice on trends, emerging issues and the effectiveness of our prevention strategies. Their report confirmed the effectiveness of our existing suite of prevention, early intervention, case management, and work health and safety risk-profiling activities.

    To assist our employees to work more safely and productively, dual monitors were provided to approximately 6,000 employees. Employees reported they were more productive, less fatigued, used their mouse less and scrolled less.

    A trial of 27 sit/stand workstations was conducted in two sites. The trial is being reviewed to assist in understanding whether they aid in the preventing injury and in managing acute and chronic conditions.

    Early intervention is a key element of our approach to managing workplace illness and injury, along with prevention and case management. We provide employees with immediate advice and services following an injury or illness, and guidance to managers in preventing and addressing the early signs of psychological and musculoskeletal disorders.

    This year our Comcare premium rate was initially set at 1.9% of payroll. In recognition of our improving performance it was subsequently reduced to 1.8% and resulted in us being credited a premium bonus. While this adjusted rate represents a 5% increase on the 2010-11 rate, it was less than the average 18% increase experienced by other Commonwealth agencies. This demonstrates that our prevention, early intervention and rehabilitation initiatives are having a positive effect. Our workers' compensation performance has also reversed the previous trend relating to claim costs, with the average cost of injuries since 2010 trending below the APS average.

    Our premium for 2011-12 was $34.2 million, an increase of $3.4 million from the previous year.

    Table 3.5 Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission performance indicators, 2007-08 to 2011-12
      2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12

    P1.1 Incidence of injuries with five or more days lost time per 1,000 full-time equivalent employees

    9.25

    8.02

    10.16

    8.68

    7.4

    P1.2 Incidence of injuries with 30 or more days lost time per 1,000 full-time equivalent employees

    6.13

    4.15

    5.59

    5.1

    4.89

    P1.3 Incidence of injuries with 60 or more days lost time per 1,000 full-time equivalent employees

    3.91

    3.01

    4.43

    4.14

    4.11

    P4 Lost time injury (claims) frequency rate

    6.28

    5.1

    6.34

    5.91

    5.23

    C1 Average time taken (in calendar days from date of injury to lodging claim with Comcare)

    80

    81

    80

    82

    83

    R1 Percentage of claims with incapacity for 10 or more days and a return to work plan (%)

    68

    68

    58

    64

    71

    R2 Quality of return to work (% achieving return to work on case closure) (%)

    81

    79

    81

    73

    66

    We reported 147 notifiable incidents to Comcare.

    Six employee deaths occurred in 2011-12 and were notified to Comcare. These were later found not to be work-related.

    The majority of serious personal injuries related to heart or anxiety attacks, chest pain, dizziness/seizures, and slips, trips and falls. The majority of dangerous occurrences related to incidents involving lifts. Other less frequent dangerous occurrences included building-related issues, such as air conditioning malfunction circulating dust particles.

    Table 3.6 Notifiable incidents, 2007-08 to 2011-12

     

    2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12
    No. No. No. No. No.

    Death

    1

    -

    1

    3

    6

    Serious personal injury

    49

    98

    67

    65

    77

    Injury resulting in incapacity of more than 30 days(a)

    -

    8

    7

    14

    16

    Dangerous occurrences

    11

    29

    95

    51

    48

    TOTAL

    61

    138

    170

    133

    147

    (a) The WHS ACT came into effect from 1 January 2012 and incapacity is no longer a notifiable incident. The 16 notifiable incidents are from July 2011 to December 2011.

    No notices were issued under Part 10 of the WHS Act or sections 46 and 47 of the OHS Act. One provisional improvement notice was received under section 95 of the WHS Act and subsequently withdrawn with no action required.

    Supporting our people

    We take reasonable and practical steps towards preventing and managing bullying and harassment in the workplace. To support this we have 90 trained harassment contact officers across all major sites. This year we reviewed and consolidated all our training products related to bullying and harassment, and refreshed our intranet content. Through our wellbeing program we promoted Know Bull Day and provided workshops for employees in most sites.

    There were 176 approaches to harassment contact officers in 2011-12, compared to 273 in 2010-11.

    As well as the support functions outlined above, our people have access to ATOconcern. This is an important facility we provide for our people that gives them the opportunity and certainty of being heard. It is an independent, confidential and impartial service where employees may raise employment-related issues or concerns. It also ensures that we take appropriate action in response to issues raised or identified and contributes to the ongoing improvement of policies and processes.

    ATOconcern responded to 1,047 approaches in 2011-12, compared to 1,169 in 2010-11.

      Last modified: 30 Oct 2012QC 36830