Occupational health and safety
CASA strives to provide a work environment and systems of work that are safe. CASA has implemented systems that provide early identification of risks, and actively works to minimise the impact of risks on the health, safety and wellbeing of CASA employees. The maintenance of a comprehensive health and safety management system to prevent the onset and impact of workplace injury and illness is a key strategy in the CASA People and Performance Business and Risk Management Plan 2010–11.
In January 2010, the Workplace Safety and Environment Section was expanded to encompass the travel function. This realignment of resources ensured that previous measures to maintain and improve the welfare and wellbeing of staff were enhanced, to ensure the safety and welfare of CASA officers and others travelling on behalf of CASA.
The designated work group (DWG) structure facilitates local communication and consultation on occupational health and safety (OHS) matters. Every DWG has an elected Health and Safety Representative (HSR), Deputy Health and Safety Representative (DHSR), and DWG Manager appointed by the Director of Aviation Safety.
DWGs have the capacity to refer matters to the National OHS Committee, which is composed of four management representatives and four employee representatives, and chaired by the Head of People and Performance. Outcomes from the National OHS Committee are reported to the Executive Manager Corporate Services for reporting to the monthly Executive Managers' meeting. Five meetings were held by the National OHS Committee, in July, October and December 2010 and February and June 2011.
Health and safety management arrangements
CASA's Health and Safety Management Arrangements (HSMAs) nominally expired in October 2010 and were reviewed in consultation with employees. A comprehensive communication and consultation plan was developed to facilitate the conduct of the review and the implementation of the new arrangements that were released on 1 November 2010.
CASA's HSMAs set out the:
- arrangements for a corporate OHS policy, and statement of commitment
- key elements of CASA's OHS management system, to provide access for all employees to OHS initiatives, policies, procedures and reporting (including details of the management structure and areas of responsibility)
- identified OHS training for new employees and employees with specific OHS responsibilities, and task-specific OHS training
- communication and consultation mechanisms available for employees, and the processes to resolve health and safety issues
- role and functions of the National OHS Committee and local consultative committees
- details of election procedures, terms of office, support, facilities and training for HSRs and DHSRs
- process to establish DWGs and consultation processes to vary a DWG in accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991 (OHS Act)
- risk management approach for health and safety issues
- process to review and consult with employees for the ongoing development and future reviews of the HSMAs.
In 2010–11, the following actions were taken as part of the HSMAs:
- HSRs and DHSRs who were elected in 2009–10 received training from a Comcare-accredited training provider in July 2010.
- Support was provided to establish a local consultative committee for the Canberra DWG.
- The Occupational Health and Safety Policy was reviewed in October 2010.
- By-elections for new representative vacancies were conducted in March 2011.
Five meetings were held by the National OHS Committee, in July, October and December 2010 and February and June 2011. The National OHS Committee is composed of four management representatives and four employee representatives.
Table 8 describes the specific measures undertaken by CASA to ensure the wellbeing at work of its staff and contractors in 2010–11.
The following elements were measured to provide CASA with indicators of OHS performance:
- A total of 35 employees accessed the employee assistance program, representing an annual usage rate of 5 per cent.
- Approximately 10 per cent of employees received an individual workstation assessment.
- A total of 75 employees received early intervention assistance for non-compensable injuries and illnesses, to facilitate a safe and timely return to work or capacity to stay at work. Activities included occupational rehabilitation, health assessments and individual assessments. Managers were provided with workplace counselling to assist them to respond to injuries and illnesses with the potential to affect an employee's attendance, work performance or capacity to fulfil normal duties.
- A total of 233 employees (35 per cent) participated in the national vaccination campaign for seasonal influenza.
- Through online learning
- 93 per cent of new employees completed OHS training on CASA's policy and processes for incident and hazard reporting, communication and consultation mechanisms, and risk assessment approach; preventing occupational overuse syndrome; and drug and alcohol awareness
- 93 per cent of new employees completed equity and diversity training, which included a section on preventing behaviours that can lead to bullying, harassment and discrimination.
- A total of 75 new starters completed corporate orientation programs that included information on CASA's health and safety management system and key processes and contact sources for reporting and resolving issues.
- A total of 146 travellers were provided with relevant health, safety and security advice and risk mitigation strategies, covering 295 trips to 35 countries.
OHS training, induction and orientation measures provided an avenue for increased awareness and participation in prevention and early intervention to reduce both the frequency of injury and illness and the time lost. Early intervention also provides an opportunity for an employee to remain at work safely in spite of an injury or illness.
|Audits, risk assessments and reviews||
OHS audits undertaken in the Western, Northern and Southern regional offices.
Hazard identification and risk assessment for the handling, storage and transportation of dangerous goods and hazardous substances at the Brisbane site.
Hazard identification, risk assessments and risk mitigation plans arising
An audit of the certification, training and equipment of First Aid Officers and Deputy First Aid Officers, to ensure currency and compliance.
Review of the flexible work location arrangements to ensure that employees are continuing to work in a safe and functional environment.
|Information and training||
Health, safety and security advice and assistance for overseas travellers, including detailed risk assessments for high-risk destinations and updated safety and security alerts in response to natural disasters and heightened security threats.
Publication of health and safety information sheets in response to community health issues or potential risks associated with travelling to remote locations or high-risk overseas destinations.
Expansion of the SOS International contract services to provide additional coverage of international travel issues and security alerts, to ensure that staff travelling overseas are provided with up-to-date information on country-specific issues.
Online training on OHS (including drug and alcohol awareness) and equity and diversity awareness, for all new employees.
Ongoing management of First Aid Officer, Equity and Diversity Contact Officer and Health and Safety Representative networks to maintain communication and consultation on key matters.
Ongoing consultation and advice to anticipate and plan for potential health and safety issues arising from relocation of offices and major refurbishment plans, and to respond to hazard reports.
The 2011 Seasonal Influenza Vaccination program.
Alcohol and drug screening for employees commencing work in aviation safety–sensitive work environments.
|Equipment||The trial placement, assessment and selection of a standard chair for allocation to CASA staff.|
Lost-time occurrence incidence rate
At 30 June 2011, CASA's annualised lost time occurrence incidence rate was 1.02 with an average of 4.25 days per lost time occurrence. This is an increase compared to the result for 2009–10 (lost time occurrence incidence rate of 0.29 with an average of 3.00 days).
Claims for workers compensation
Seven claims for workers compensation were accepted by Comcare in 2010–11, compared to one claim in 2009–10.
The majority of claims were short term, resulting in minimal or no lost time. There were no apparent common causal factors contributing to the increase in the number of claims.
Workers compensation premium
CASA's workers compensation premium rate for 2010–11 was CASA's lowest in the past five years, as a result of good performance for the previous four years of claims history. The estimated premium rate for 2010–11 was 0.60 per cent, half the average Commonwealth premium rate of 1.20 per cent for the same period. This was a significant reduction from CASA's revised premium rate of 0.97 per cent for 2009–10.
A number of factors contributed to the positive effect on the premium rate, over a number of years. They included responsive case management and increased training and staff awareness to facilitate early reporting of injuries, potential causes of injury and personal issues that may impact at the workplace and potentially result in aggravation of an existing condition or a work-related injury or illness.
Accidents or dangerous occurrences
During 2010–11, one dangerous occurrence was reported to Comcare as prescribed by section 68 of the OHS Act. CASA responded by implementing an action plan to prevent a recurrence.
Investigations conducted by Comcare
During 2010–11, there were no provisional improvement notices (section 29), prohibition notices (section 46) or improvement notices (section 47) issued or investigations undertaken by Comcare arising out of CASA's undertakings as an employer in accordance with the OHS Act.
In previous annual reports, CASA reported on its performance against the objectives of the Commonwealth Disability Strategy. In 2007– 08, reporting on the employer role defined under the strategy was transferred to the Australian Public Service Commission's State of the Service Report and the APS Statistical Bulletin. These reports are available from the commission's website, at www.apsc.gov.au.
In 2010–11, the Commonwealth Disability Strategy was overtaken by the new National Disability Strategy. Progress against the new strategy will be tracked in a separate high-level report to the Council of Australian Governments. This mechanism replaces the practice of Commonwealth agencies reporting on disability-related functions in their annual reports.