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 (WHSA), including preserving and updating its Health and Safety Management Arrangements to reflect the new consultative requirements under the WHSA.
The Department is committed to providing robust consultation regarding WHSA matters, and has reinvigorated its network of joint management and worker WHSA committees at national and local levels. Additionally, DVA has provided education, resources and support to managers and workers in the transition to the new legislation.
2013–14 initiatives and outcomes
DVA has a strong governance and human resources (HR) support programme to monitor and support work health and safety (WHS) and wellness.
The national WHS Committee, comprising management and employee representatives, provides strategic direction across DVA. The national committee is supported by a network of state committees.
HR practitioners and trained case managers support ill and injured employees in rehabilitation and return to work.
The Employee Assistance Program provides access to free and confidential counselling.
Information on a range of childcare, aged care and health and support services is provided through Work Life Links. This is to assist employees to balance their work and family commitments.
A range of preventative health programmes are in place, including flu vaccinations, eyesight and hearing tests and subsidies if spectacles are required to use screen-based equipment. Specialised computer software is in place to monitor keyboard use and encourage rest and stretch breaks.
Health promotion measures include a variety of fitness and wellbeing programmes, lunch time walking groups and information on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. A financial subsidy is available to encourage participation in fitness and healthy lifestyle activities.
Flexible working arrangements such as part-time work, home-based work and flexible working hours provide employees with support to balance their work and other commitments and manage their overall wellbeing.
Specific safety activities include a programme of regular workplace hazard inspections conducted jointly by managers and trained workplace health and safety representatives.
A system is in place for workers to report any safety incidents (including ‘near misses’). Data from reports is analysed to identify any trends and to take remedial action if necessary.
WHS training is provided and professionally accredited training is mandatory for Health and Safety representatives, First Aid officers and Emergency Wardens.
During 2013–14, Comcare reviewed our approach to preventing and managing psychological injury. As a result, DVA implemented a training programme to prevent bullying and harassment.
Health and safety outcomes achieved as a result of these initiatives include:
- higher participation in location-based physical and psychological wellness activities
- improved awareness of workplace psychosocial risks and strategies to mitigate risks
- reduced number of incidents reported.
Three incidents were reported to Comcare, consistent with our obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. The three incidents related to employees being taken to hospital by ambulance for non-work related illness.
No investigations were conducted and no notices given in accordance with Part 10 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.