Appendix 5 - Occupational health and safety
The ABS is committed to the health, safety and welfare of all its employees. A dedicated section in central office, complemented by representatives in all regional offices, ensures the requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety (Commonwealth Employment) Act 1991 and the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 are observed. A network of Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) committees is the vehicle for consultation on OHS issues affecting staff.
During 2004–05, 25 employees were selected or elected and then trained as Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) under the Occupational Health and Safety (Commonwealth Employment) Act 1991.
There were 21 notifiable accidents reported to Comcare in 2004–05.
During 2004–05 there were no OHS investigations undertaken in the ABS.
In 2004–05 the ABS undertook activities, such as training for employees and managers, specifically aimed at increasing the level of OHS awareness and compliance. The effect of the greater awareness resulted in a significant decrease in rate of reported accidents and incidents from the previous year. There were 415 accidents and incidents at the ABS in 2004–05, compared with 511 in 2003–04.
Table 5.1 details the broad injury categories for the periods 2003–04
TABLE 5.1: REPORTED ACCIDENTS AND INCIDENTS (NUMBERS)
The ABS institutes early intervention and rehabilitation in both compensable and non-compensable cases. National awareness training for employees and managers, complemented by ongoing training for ABS rehabilitation case managers, was held during the year to enhance ABS rehabilitation performance.
Table 5.2 details a comparison for the periods 2003–04 and 2004–05.
TABLE 5.2: REHABILITATION CASE MANAGEMENT (NUMBER)
Comcare has provided notification that the ABS workers’ compensation premium for 2005–06 has been set at 1.88 per cent of total salary (including GST). The increase in premium was due to the increased cost of individual cases. Steps will be taken to reduce the time taken for a ‘return to work’.
Table 5.3 provides details of the ABS and the agency pool average premium rate.
TABLE 5.3: COMCARE WORKERS' COMPENSATION PREMIUM RATE (% OF WAGE AND SALARY EXPENDITURE)
Measures taken to ensure the health, safety and welfare of employees during 2004–05 included:
- the continued enhancement and development of the ABS OHS policy framework
- education and awareness sessions for employees and managers on their OHS responsibilities, preventing injuries, and OHS risk management
- continued work by the systems working group in examining all existing and new software packages from an OHS perspective
- the continued promotion of health and fitness across the ABS.