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Work health and safety
A focus on the health, safety and wellbeing of all workers is an integral part of the way CASA manages its operations. CASA fosters a proactive, risk-based approach to ensure that risks are identified and managed to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of its people.
In 2014–15, CASA maintained its continuous improvement approach to work health and safety (WHS) performance through the implementation of the WHS Strategy 2014–2016. The strategy encourages shared responsibility for WHS between managers, employees and other workers by:
- promoting a positive WHS culture
- driving proactive prevention and active early intervention
- fostering a supportive work environment.
Key performance indicators are established to effectively monitor and measure WHS outcomes, and the outcomes are communicated throughout CASA.
Key achievements for 2014–15
Hearing Conservation Program
CASA’s Hearing Conservation Program was introduced to prevent noise-induced hearing loss as a result of work-related exposure to hazardous noise levels.
The program aims to:
- raise awareness of noise hazards and associated risks
- promote the importance of hearing conservation and the use of protective personal equipment in hazardous noise environments
- identify CASA employees who are potentially at risk of noise-induced hearing loss and monitor their hearing levels through audiometric testing.
WHS management system
The WHS Quality Assurance Program was introduced to ensure that practical elements of the WHS management system are consistently implemented across all CASA offices.
The program aims to:
- promote WHS at all CASA sites
- verify the extent to which all CASA offices are consistent in the delivery of the WHS system
- identify specific risks and mitigations associated with regional locations and job families
- promote WHS planning activities focusing on continuous improvement.
CASA also completed a review of the WHS Manual, Health and Safety Management Arrangements, Rehabilitation Management Arrangements and WHS Risk Register in 2014–15. Employees were provided with opportunities for consultation. All input and feedback was recorded in a consultation register and included in the review process.
CASA’s WHS management system embodies the principles of risk management. This allows CASA to identify and control potential hazards in the workplace and ensures that all reasonable and practicable steps are taken to protect the health and safety of CASA employees at work.
In 2014, an internal audit of CASA’s WHS governance framework was conducted.
The audit found that CASA’s WHS framework and corporate governance arrangements support the ‘person conducting the business or undertaking’ (PCBU) and the officers of the PCBU in satisfying their obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.
A review of CASA’s Rehabilitation Management System (RMS) against Comcare’s Guidelines for Rehabilitation Authorities 2012 recommended that an internal audit of CASA’s RMS be undertaken. The audit was completed in May 2015, with the following objectives:
- assess CASA’s rehabilitation framework against the requirements of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 and the Guidelines for Rehabilitation Authorities
- assess the findings against Comcare’s audit criteria to inform CASA’s Certificate of Compliance requirements.
The audit found that CASA’s RMS is fit for purpose and complies with section 41 of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act.
Australasian Reporting Awards recognition
At the 2015 Australasian Reporting Awards, CASA’s Annual Report 2013–14 received the Safe Work Australia sponsored Work Health and Safety Award recognising excellence in reporting that promoted workplace health and safety.
- a clear explanation of how WHS is an integral part of the way CASA undertakes its business
- WHS key performance indicators
- independent verification of governance arrangements and practices.
Health and Safety Management Arrangements
CASA is committed to providing a work environment and systems of work that are safe and mitigate risks to the health, safety and wellbeing of CASA employees and contractors.
CASA completed a review of the Health and Safety Management Arrangements in
2014–15, updating the existing arrangements and strengthening the WHS approach to risk management. All staff had an opportunity to provide input during the review process.
CASA also undertook a complete review of CASA’s RMS that instigated the development of CASA’s Rehabilitation Management Arrangements. The arrangements provide supporting procedures outlining the principles to facilitate the timely, safe and durable return to work of injured and/or ill employees. The review of the RMS enabled CASA to submit its first Certificate of Compliance to Comcare.
National Health and Safety Committee
CASA’s National Health and Safety Committee (NHSC) comprises equal numbers of management and employee representatives and is chaired by the Head of People and Performance.
The committee provides a forum for appropriate consultation on organisation-wide health and safety issues and a structured framework for feedback and communication of health and safety issues raised by local work areas. Outcomes from the NHSC are available on the CASA intranet for all staff and included in reports to the CASA Board.
Four NHSC meetings were held during 2014–15, in September and October 2014 and January and April 2015.
Table 13 describes the specific measures undertaken by CASA to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing at work of CASA staff and contractors in 2014–15.
Table 13 Work Health and Safety Strategy objectives and achievements, 2014–15
|A positive work health and safety (WHS) culture
||The National Health and Safety Committee (NHSC) met four times. The online WHS training module was reviewed and updated. A WHS guide for local consultative forums was developed to assist work group managers. A new WHS training matrix was developed and a new work group manager role statement was introduced to assist local offices to understand their WHS responsibilities.|
|A compliant framework
||An internal audit of the WHS governance framework was conducted and recommendations were implemented. An internal review and audit of the Rehabilitation Management System was conducted and recommendations were implemented. A Comcare Certificate of Compliance was achieved for rehabilitation management. The Health and Wellbeing Policy was developed and published. The Work Health and Safety Policy was reviewed and published. The WHS Quality Assurance Program was developed and commenced implementation, with two regional site visits. A work site visit was completed for ground operations inspectorate work activities, to inform personal protective equipment policy provisions.|
||The Workplace Mental Health Awareness online seminar was launched. The WHS Safe Work Practices Manual was comprehensively reviewed and updated. Six health, wellbeing and diversity flagship events were delivered to all CASA locations, raising awareness of mental health, skin cancer and men’s health. Influenza vaccinations were delivered to staff at all CASA locations. The Working with Respect policy and procedures were reviewed to ensure alignment with anti-bullying legislation. A framework for alternate dispute resolution was developed. Rehabilitation Management Arrangements were released.|
||Psychosocial risk assessments were introduced as standard practice for all mental health related incidents and allegations of bullying and harassment. The organisational WHS Risk Register was reviewed and updated. A process to complete individual and/or workplace risk assessments based on incident and hazard data was embedded into everyday work practices. Completed risk assessments were reported to the NHSC and considered in the context of the broader organisational risk register. The Travel Tracker tool was introduced for employees travelling overseas. The tool provides up-to-date WHS information about the destination country as well as medical and security precautions. Workstation, workplace and home-based assessments were conducted by a suitably qualified occupational therapist to prevent the onset or aggravation of health-related disorders. Promotion of Mental Health Week was conducted nationally, incorporating various practical activities and access to webinars.|
||Rehabilitation and compensation data were transferred to online reporting systems in the CASA human resources information management system, to build capability to capture and analyse relevant data. The WHS reporting structure was refined to identify key performance indicators and industry benchmarking to reflect performance outcomes and provide the basis for constructive analysis. Management representation on the NHSC was reviewed to reflect a broader cross-section of CASA’s management. The NHSC terms of reference were revised and updated. A framework for work groups to report to the NHSC on communication and consultation activities with staff was established. Reports on WHS performance were provided for each meeting of the Board, and two reports on progress against the WHS strategy were provided to the Board.|
|Integrated WHS systems
||CASA’s ability to review rehabilitation management activity through online reporting was improved. Use of Comcare Customer Information System reports increased. The audiometric testing policy and Hearing Conservation Program were introduced to conduct baseline testing for workers exposed to hazardous noise. Information sharing with Comcare was improved to support knowledge management and the adoption of best practice principles.|
The following activities demonstrate CASA’s WHS performance in 2014–15:
- new employees received online induction and face-to-face orientation training on WHS at work
- 160 individual online inductions were provided to trade contractors, across all states
- 417 employees (51 per cent) participated in the seasonal influenza vaccination program
- 59 employees (7 per cent) had individual workstation assessments, one employee received a full workplace assessment, and four employees participated in home-based assessments
- 35 employees were provided with early intervention and case management support to stay at work or return to work safely while addressing significant personal or health issues
- 46 incidents and 14 hazards were notified by staff
- 52 employees (6 per cent) and nine family members of employees accessed the Employee Assistance Program
- 133 Employee Assistance Program services were provided to employees and their family members, of which 82 per cent were face-to-face counselling services
- 85 audiometric tests were completed
- five risk assessments were completed.
At 30 June 2015, CASA’s total lost time was 28.97 weeks, with an average of 9.66 weeks per lost time occurrence. The lost time occurrence incidence rate was 0.49. This is a decrease compared to the result for the same period in 2013–14. Lost-time occurrence figures will change each year depending on when the injury occurred.
Table 14 shows the lost time occurrence incidence rate for the past five years.
Table 14 Lost time occurrence incidence rate, 2010–11 to 2014–15
|Reporting period||Weeks of lost time due to incapacity|
a. Two claims incurred in 2013–14 continued to have lost time in 2014–15. The lost time weeks for 2013–14 subsequently rose from 54.20 weeks to 114.08 weeks in 2014–15.
Claims for workers compensation
Nine claims for workers compensation were lodged in 2014–15, compared to seven claims lodged in 2013–14. Of the nine claims lodged, five claims were accepted, two were disallowed and two are waiting determination. Six claims were lodged by current employees, and three claims were lodged by former employees.
Of the five accepted claims, four incurred lost time. The five accepted claims in 2014–15 resulted from two psychological injuries and three physical injuries.
Workers compensation premium
CASA’s 2014–15 workers compensation premium rate was 0.94 per cent of the 2014–15 payroll.
Key factors affecting CASA’s premium were:
- overall premium increases for all agencies to meet estimated combined costs of claims
- an increase in payroll costs for 2014–15
- increases in the numbers and costs of CASA’s claims for current and previous injuries.
CASA’s results compare with the averages for all agencies as follows:
- CASA’s 2014–15 workers compensation premium rate was 0.94 per cent of the 2014–15 payroll compared with 2.14 per cent for all agencies.
- CASA had 6.1 claims for every 1,000 employees, which was lower than the average for regulatory agencies participating in the scheme of 9.41 claims per 1,000 employees.
- CASA’s five claims represented 0.05 claims per $1 million payroll, compared with 0.11 claims per $1 million payroll for all agencies.
CASA continues to vigilantly monitor early indicators for factors that potentially influence high-cost claims, such as psychological or occupational overuse injury. This includes monitoring extended unplanned leave, reported health issues, and patterns of poor attendance, poor performance or conflict.
Accidents or dangerous occurrences
There was one notifiable incident reported to Comcare in 2014–15. In relation to the incident, Comcare reported that it was satisfied that CASA had ensured the health and safety of the worker as far as reasonably practicable, and that there was no evidence of non-compliance and no further action required.
Investigations conducted by Comcare
No investigations were conducted by Comcare for the 2014–15 period.
CASA’s strategies for inclusion and participation at work for people with disability have been incorporated into CASA’s Workplace Diversity Program (see pages 107 to 110).
The Workplace Diversity Program is designed to be consistent with the principles of the National Disability Strategy 2010–2020, which sets out a 10-year national policy framework to improve the lives of people with disability, promote participation and create a more inclusive society. A high-level two-yearly report will track progress against each of the six areas of the strategy and present a picture of how people with disability are faring. The reports will be available through the Department of Social Services website: www.dss.gov.au