DVA places a high priority on workplace health, safety and wellbeing and has complied with its legislated responsibilities under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act), including preserving and updating its Health and Safety Management Arrangements to reflect the new consultative requirements under the WHS Act.
The department is committed to providing robust consultation regarding WHS matters, and has reinvigorated its network of joint management and worker WHS committees at both the national and local level. Additionally, DVA has provided education, resources and support to managers and workers in the transition to the new legislation.
2012–13 initiatives and outcomes
DVA’s commitment to health and safety includes the provision of a range of health support programs and initiatives including:
- a network of human resource practitioners across DVA supporting the implementation of WHS policies and programs
- a network of joint management and worker WHS and wellness committees meeting quarterly, with national committees providing strategic direction for health, safety and wellbeing activity across DVA
- conducting a program of regular and ongoing workplace inspections carried out jointly by managers and health and safety representatives (HSRs)
- reviewing a range of health and safety indicator data, including incident reporting, to identify national trends or action required
- providing education and training regarding the new WHS Act for all DVA workers and appropriate accredited training for HSRs, first aid officers and others
- a network of workers compensation case managers and a partnership with Comcare to put strategies in place to prevent work-based injuries and to implement return-to-work and rehabilitation programs for injured or ill employees.
Health and safety outcomes achieved as a result of these and other initiatives include:
- a workers compensation premium below the Australian Public Service (APS) average
- revised and streamlined policies, procedures, forms and reporting compliant with the new WHS Act
- continuation of a national wellness committee, and location-based wellness committees implementing a range of wellness activities
- establishment of a national wellness information and resource exchange forum
- a reduction in the rate of workplace absence.
Two notifiable incidents arose out of the conduct of DVA business or undertakings under the WHS Act during 2012–13. These incidents were reported to Comcare in compliance with the reporting and timeliness requirements of sections 35–38 of the WHS Act.
In 2012–13, 22 claims for workers compensation were received, compared with 31 claims in 2011–12.
The workers compensation premium of $3.7 million in 2012–13 represented 1.67 per cent of DVA’s payroll, and was below the APS average premium cost of 1.77 per cent of total payroll.