1001.0 - Annual Report - ABS Annual Report, 2003-04  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/10/2004   
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Contents >> Section 6 - Appendixes >> Appendix 5 - Occupational Health and Safety

The ABS is committed to the health, safety and welfare of all its employees. A dedicated unit in Central Office, complemented by individual employees in 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 2003-04, 34 employees were selected/elected and trained as Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) under the Occupational Health and Safety (Commonwealth Employment) Act 1991.

There were 44 notifiable accidents reported to Comcare for the period.

Investigations

In April 2004 Comcare reviewed ABS compliance with a planned investigation of the New South Wales office conducted in September 2001. Strategies have been introduced to address the three matters which were identified as outstanding actions in the review.

Accidents

There were 511 accidents and incidents at the ABS in 2003-04 compared with 462 in 2002-03. In 2003-04 the ABS undertook activities, such as awareness training for managers, specifically aimed at increasing the level of OHS awareness and compliance across all cost centres. Table 5.1 details the broad injury categories for the periods 2002-03 and 2003-04.

Table 5.1: Reported accidents and incidents (number)
2002-03
2003-04
Motor vehicle/journey related accidents
89
80
Sporting events resulting in an accident and/or injury
22
27
Back injuries
5
27
Overuse injuries
46
52
Psychological injuries
9
11
Slips, trips and falls
83
79
Sprains and strains
26
36
Other work-based incidents and accidents
182
199
Total
462
511

Rehabilitation

The ABS institutes early intervention and rehabilitation in compensable and non compensable cases. A national training program was held in November 2003 to extend this focus to include sustainable return to work plans. The outcome of this is an increase of successfully closed cases. Table 5.2 details a comparison for the periods 2002-03 and 2003-04.

Table 5.2: Rehabilitation case management (number)

2002-03
2003-04
Compensation claims submitted
125
132
Compensation claims closed(a)
62
165
Return to work plans(b)
20
51
Non compensable (fitness) cases(a)
110
121
Non compensable (fitness) cases closed(a)
87
83

(a) Comprises cases carried over from the previous year, and new cases.

(b) Plans commenced during this reporting period only.

Comcare Premiums

Comcare has provided notification that the ABS workers' compensation premium for 2004-05 has been set at 1.78 per cent of total salary (including GST). 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)

2001-02
2002-03
2003-04
2004-05

ABS
1.00
1.15
1.50
1.78
Agency pool average
1.00
1.13
1.43
1.67


Achievements

Measures taken to ensure the health, safety and welfare of employees during 2003-04 included:

  • the creation of a new unit dedicated to achieving performance in health and safety management on a national basis
  • the development of the National OHS Policy and Agreement. This policy and agreement provides the framework for progressing OHS in the ABS, including appropriate procedures and instructions
  • establishment of a systems compliance group to examine all existing and new software packages from an OHS perspective
  • the continued promotion of health and fitness across all offices.

The ABS received an award in recognition of its achievements in the category of Leadership - Injury Prevention and Management at the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission's Safety Awards presentation in July 2003. This award was presented for the work undertaken in setting up and operating the ABS Census Data Processing Centre.



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