B.7 - Work Health and Safety

Introduction/overview

Our priority—a safe and healthy working environment for all employees

Work Health and Safety within ACT Health is primarily the responsibility of the management team. This responsibility is shared with all staff.

Workplace Safety (WPS) has overarching responsibility for ensuring that ACT Health has an effective Work Health and Safety Management System (WHSMS). The WHSMS assists management and staff to:

  • identify, manage, monitor and report safety hazards and their associated risks
  • meet legislative compliance as far as is reasonably practicable.

WPS provides occupational medicine services across ACT Health to prevent potential infectious disease being transmitted to healthcare workers. These services include:

  • pre-employment screening
  • a vaccination program, including annual influenza vaccinations
  • occupational risk exposure and follow-up management, counselling and advice
  • cytotoxic screening
  • monitoring safety devices
  • health surveillance
  • education.

WPS also provides a holistic early intervention physiotherapy service to staff who have sustained musculoskeletal injuries. This assists in:

  • reducing time off work
  • facilitating early return to work
  • improving staff morale
  • decreasing workers compensation claims.

A priority is educating staff to increase their awareness of safe work practices and ergonomic environments.

WPS has operational responsibility for the Riskman system. This allows ACT Health to configure the system to meet business needs, including

  • providing support to stakeholders
  • using the system to coordinate issues with the ACT Health’s divisions and services.

The Riskman system currently consists of nine registers and associated extensions.

More information: For detailed information, see Riskman.

Workplace safety measures

During 2014–15, the WHSMS was reviewed and updated to reflect changes to:

  • legislation
  • regulations and codes of practice
  • operational requirements
  • processes.

WPS also developed an asbestos management plan, which has been implemented across the organisation.

Additional workplace safety measures undertaken during 2014–15 are discussed below.

Riskman

The electronic staff accident and incident reporting system (Riskman) is now in its sixth year of operation. This system continues to provide consistent reporting and enables ACT Health to quickly:

  • identify and implement relevant controls
  • report incident and trend data to management and workplace Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs).

The Riskman system continues to be developed to meet organisational needs both in clinical and non-clinical areas. Various registers and extensions were upgraded to:

  • provide customised reports, indicator sets and body charts
  • improve functionality.

Staff/management feedback has led to the development of a more user-friendly system, which allows higher quality reporting to management and committees. This will be fully implemented in 2016.

An Occupational Medicine Unit Riskman module has been developed to capture data for staff screening and immunisation, including annual influenza vaccinations and occupational risk exposures.

Safety training and auditing

Safety training remains a priority and continues to be provided for HSRs, managers and new staff. The Work Health and Safety Managers course and Investigation course assist managers to:

  • implement relevant preventive and corrective safety controls
  • continuously improve safety in the workplace.

ACT Health received accreditation in 2015 from WorkSafe ACT as a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) to provide tailored HSR training for our staff.

ACT Health has developed its own internal safety auditing tool in response to feedback from management and staff. This enables ACT Health to meet corporate and legislative requirements.

Work Health and Safety Act 2011 reporting

Incidents, accidents, investigations and notices in 2014–15 were as follows:

  • 1,318 accident/incident reports were lodged during the 2014–15 financial year. This compares with 1,367 lodged during the preceding year. Of these reports, 151 resulted in lost time injury of one day or more, compared with 158 in 2013–14.
  • 40 accidents/incidents relating to ACT Health staff were notified to ACT WorkSafe under section 35 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, compared to 54 in 2013–14.
  • One Provisional Improvement Notice (PIN) was issued by an ACT Health HSR in 2014–15:
    • The PIN was issued on 25 July 2014.
    • The PIN was placed on the Adult Mental Health Unit (AMHU) by the AMHU’s HSR. It related to concerns for staff safety related to staffing levels at the unit following a post occupancy evaluation.
    • The PIN was lifted on 31 October 2014, following negotiations with management.
  • No notices of noncompliance were issued in 2014–15 in relation to the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.
  • One prohibition notice was issued to ACT Health in February 2015 in relation to construction activity under Regulation 296 of the Workplace Health and Safety Regulation 2011. WorkSafe identified that a principal contractor had not been appointed for this construction activity.
  • There were no workplace fatalities in 2014–15.

Health and Safety Representatives

At 30 June 2015 there were 268 elected Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) within the Health Directorate.

Worker consultation arrangements

The ACT Health Tier 1 Work Health Safety Committee is the peak organisational body for work health and safety in ACT Health. It met four times during the year. This committee is chaired by the Director-General and includes management and workplace HSRs.

Tier 2 Health and Safety Committees are chaired by Executive Directors and represent major divisions and branches. Tier 2 committees meet quarterly (in administrative environments) and monthly (in clinical environments). These committees must include more HSRs than management representatives.

Tier 3 Health and Safety Committees represent localised work areas and bring together groups within similar locations/job types. Tier 3 committees meet monthly.

WPS Early Intervention Physiotherapy Program

The WPS Early Intervention Physiotherapy Program completed 579 workstation assessments during the 2014–15.

Workstation assessments may also be conducted to support an employee returning to work where a work or non-work injury has occurred.

Performance against Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012–22 targets


Target 1: A reduction of at least 30 per cent in the incidence rate of claims resulting in one or more weeks off work

Figure 19 and Table 22 shows the number of new claims per 1,000 employees that resulted in five or more days off work since 2012–13. Figure 19 also shows the baseline and targets for each financial year up to 2021–22.

Figure 19 and Table 22 shows the number of new claims per 1,000 employees that resulted in five or more days off work since 2012–13. Figure 19 also shows the baseline and targets for each financial year up to 2021–22.

Table 22: Incident rate of claims resulting in five days or more off work

Health

Baseline (Avg FY 09-12)

2012–13

2013–14

2014–15

2015–16

2016–17

2017–18

2018–19

2019–20

2020–21

2021–22

HD # new 5 day claims

67

87

81

70

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HD rate per 1000 employees

13.31

16.07

13.79

11.51

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HD Target 1

13.31

12.92

12.52

12.12

11.72

11.32

10.92

10.52

10.12

9.72

9.32

ACTPS # new 5 day claims

335.33

369

322

226

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACTPS rate per 1000 employees

17.16

18.07

15.29

10.65

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACTPS Target 1

17.16

16.64

16.13

15.61

15.10

14.59

14.07

13.56

13.04

12.53

12.01

In 2014–15, ACT Health continued to reduce the number of new claims that exceeded five days off work per 1,000 employees. This is due to early intervention strategies and proactive case management.

The 2014–15 figures are consistent with historical trends, and overall performance is very good against both the Health Directorate and ACT Public Service targets.

Target 2: A reduction of at least 30 per cent in the incidence rate of claims for musculoskeletal disorders resulting in one or more weeks off work

Figure 20 and Table 23 shows the number of new musculoskeletal disorders claims per 1,000 employees that resulted in five or more days off work since 2012–13. Figure 20 also shows the baseline and targets for each financial year up to 2021–22.

Graph - Incident rate of claims for musculoskeletal disorders resulting in five days off work

Figure 20: Incident rate of claims for musculoskeletal disorders resulting in five days off work

Table 23: Incident rate of claims for musculoskeletal disorders resulting in five days off work

Health

Baseline (Avg FY 09-12)

2012–13

2013–14

2014–15

2015–16

2016–17

2017–18

2018–19

2019–20

2020–21

2021–22

HD # new 5 day MSD claims

47.33

60

57

47

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HD MSD rate per 1000 employees

9.41

11.08

9.71

7.73

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HD Target 2

9.41

9.12

8.84

8.56

8.28

8.00

7.71

7.43

7.15

6.87

6.58

ACTPS # new 5 day MSD claims

224

238

210

142

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACTPS MSD rate per 1000 employees

11.46

11.66

9.97

6.69

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACTPS Target 2

11.46

11.12

10.77

10.43

10.09

9.74

9.40

9.06

8.71

8.37

8.02

In 2014–15, ACT Health reduced the incidence of musculoskeletal claims resulting in five days or more off work, continuing a trend from previous years and bringing the incidence rate below the target level. The overall trend in performance on these claims has been achieved with early intervention strategies and proactive case management.