• Health and safety

    Work health and safety is a priority and 94.0% employees have completed training and understand their responsibilities under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. During 2012–13, we were also involved in a number of initiatives and two major Comcare reviews.

    Like other government agencies, we were early implementers of recommendations from the Rehabilitation Management System Review, and we also contributed significantly to the Comcare Scheme Operational Review. Both reviews will have a significant impact on how the health of our employees is managed.

    In consultation with employees and using data to identify workplace health risks, we updated our wellbeing program to reflect the top four organisational and top five personal health risks to our employees. We installed WorkPace software on all ATO computers to assist our employees to better manage their computer use by encouraging regular breaks. By installing WorkPace we are aiming to minimise the likelihood of musculoskeletal injuries.

    We used alternative dispute resolution techniques (such as mediation) to resolve 71.0% of workplace conflicts in an effective and efficient way, and to build the skills of managers and employees to engage in constructive dialogue to prevent further conflict.

    The Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission encourages continuous improvement in achieving lower rates of injury, better return to work outcomes and effective management of claims. Early intensive case management activities have been applied to psychological injuries since 2010 to minimise incapacity and achieve early and safe returns to work. Similar case-management techniques are applied to musculoskeletal disorders, which have been identified as one of the drivers of the rise in the Comcare premium rate. We are working with Comcare to identify the areas we need to focus on, for example, containing the cost of 2011 injuries and addressing the expected rise in the cost of injuries arising out of 'slips, trips and falls'.

    Table 3.1 Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission performance indicators, 2008–09 to 2012–13
        2008–09 2009–10 2010–11 2011–12 2012–13
    P1.1

    Incidence of injuries with five or more days lost time per 1,000 FTE employees

    8.0

    10.2

    8.7

    7.4

    9.2

    P1.2

    Incidence of injuries with 30 or more days lost time per 1,000 FTE employees

    4.2

    5.6

    5.1

    4.9

    6.6

    P1.3

    Incidence of injuries with 60 or more days lost time per 1,000 FTE employees

    3.0

    4.4

    4.1

    4.1

    4.9

    P4

    Lost time injury (claims) frequency rate

    5.1

    6.3

    5.9

    5.2

    5.7

    C1

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

    81

    80

    82

    83

    86

    R1

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

    68

    58

    64

    71

    75

    R2

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

    79

    81

    73

    66

    75

    NOTE
    Figures for previous years in this table may vary from those reported in past annual reports as Comcare may continue to accept claims for past years.

    The notifiable incidents reported to Comcare reduced by 68.0% from 2012. Under the new Work Health and Safety Act 2011 that came into effect on 1 January 2012, dangerous occurrences are now called dangerous incidents and serious personal injury is now called serious injury or illness. These notifiable categories are now specifically defined by the legislation to only include incidents which occur under particular statutory circumstances.

    Table 3.2 Notifiable incidents, 2008–09 to 2012–13
      2008–09 2009–10 2010–11 2011–12 2012–13

    Dangerous occurrences

    29

    95

    51

    48

    30

    Serious personal injury (a)

    98

    67

    65

    77

    13

    Death

    1

    3

    6

    4

    Injury resulting in incapacity of more than 30 days

    8

    7

    14

    16

    TOTAL

    138

    170

    133

    147

    47

    (a) The drop in serious personal injury rates is explained by the narrower and more specific definition of 'serious personal injury' under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, which commenced on 1 January 2012.
      Last modified: 07 Oct 2014QC 42634