Workplace health and safety

Keeping our people safe a high priority

5 reported notifiable injuries and 2 new workers’ compensation claims

WHS injuries and incidents

In 2017–18, we recorded a total of five notifiable injuries directly related to Workplace Health and Safety (WHS), up from three in 2016–17. These were immediately reported and addressed. Reported injury categories included:

  • slips, trips and falls
  • repetitive strain
  • electric shock
  • hot substances
  • pedestrian accident.

One injury was a notifiable incident to Safe Work Australia, and two incidents resulted in workers’ compensation claims but only one had lost time. One workers’ compensation claim is still active and we are currently working closely with this employee and our insurers to support their recovery back to full pre-injury duties.

The WHS Committee proactively conducted regular WHS internal inspections and actioned any issues raised through our WHS Client Site Checklist to minimise the risk of injury.

Strategies to deal with reported safety hazards and risks are developed by the Audit Office’s WHS Committee through ongoing consultation, education and training. In 2017–18, the WHS Committee continued to put a strong focus on consultation within each of our workgroups and actively identified hazards.

Notifiable injuries by body part and occurrence

In 2017–18, we recorded five notifiable injuries, categorised below by body part and how the injuries occurred.

2017-18 had five notifiable injuries, two of which were workers' compensation claims.

Notifiable injuries by body part were 1 ankle, 1 neck, 1 stomach/thigh, 1 legs, 1 hand and a total of 5.

We have an engaged and active WHS Committee

The primary objective of the Audit Office’s WHS Committee is to provide a formal forum for communication between the organisation’s senior management and its employees in health, safety and welfare matters. The committee is responsible for:

  • monitoring WHS performance
  • monitoring the return to work and rehabilitation of injured employees
  • ensuring the adequacy of WHS procedures and controls
  • supporting and developing activities to promote WHS awareness
  • reviewing WHS training programs
  • identifying key WHS issues and risks, and recommending appropriate mitigations.

The WHS Committee met four times in 2017–18.

In 2017–18, the Audit Office appointed two new members to our WHS Committee due to resignations within the organisation. Existing committee members conducted a successful handover to the new members of the committee, ensuring the transition was seamless. All new members within the committee attended required health and safety committee training. The training was open to the wider organisation allowing others to be trained and have a greater understanding of the committee and WHS within the organisation. As per previous years, our first aid officers completed first aid and defibrillation refresher training, and two new first aid officers were appointed and trained.

Staff satisfaction with WHS

Each year the Audit Office conducts a comprehensive WHS Survey to identify:

  • employee awareness of WHS representatives, policies and issues
  • employee knowledge of WHS reporting processes
  • current WHS issues
  • what employees would like to see improved.

In 2017–18, the survey showed a WHS satisfaction index score of 91, which is consistent with 92 in 2016.

The results from our WHS Survey are used to determine areas of focus for the WHS Committee the following year. The results we received in the previous 2016–17 year showed that there were several areas that could be improved. The core issues staff wanted to see addressed were:

  • poor facilities at client sites, for example broken chairs, small rooms and flickering lights
  • increased random checks at client sites to ensure facilities are adequate
  • communication to the client prior to the audit detailing the Audit Office’s expectation for the standard of facilities
  • managing workplace stress, particularly during peak periods of work.

In response to last year’s results, in 2017–18 the WHS Committee developed action points to be delivered throughout the year. These actions included:

  • ensuring staff can easily identify safety representatives by placing posters in appropriate locations across the office, supplemented by regular safety representative communications
  • updating our WHS policies and procedures, including procedures on incident reporting, and ensuring these can be easily accessed via our intranet
  • further educating our staff on utilising WHS Client Checklists to identify any hazards or risks that may be at our client sites
  • starting on the development of a Health and Wellbeing Strategy to create a healthier work environment for our staff.

WHS staff satisfaction

We aim to continuously improve WHS initiatives

In addition to the specific actions taken in response to our WHS survey results, there was also strong focus in 2017–18 on improving our consultation approaches. The WHS Committee has a strong commitment to consulting with employees throughout the year to ensure employee concerns are raised in quarterly WHS Committee meetings.

There was also a focus this year on educating our employees on what procedures to follow when reporting or witnessing workplace hazards or risks. Workplace Health and Safety was also a strong discussion topic within branch and team meetings, as well as at our all-staff Office Forums.

The year ahead

In 2018–19, we plan to build on last year’s progress in WHS by focusing on:

  • further reducing our lost time injury frequency rate
  • embedding promotion of, and compliance with, our WHS Client Site Checklist
  • continuing to improve communication on WHS initiatives across the organisation
  • finalising a Health and Wellbeing Strategy
  • training all new WHS Committee members, first aid officers and fire wardens.

We will also in 2018–19 be ensuring our new Workplace Strategy has a keen focus on WHS. It will be important to ensure the new office environment we deliver under our Future Workplace Project meets the safety, accessibility, and health and wellbeing needs of our staff.