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Appendix G: Work health and safety

DVA implements and maintains effective work health and safety (WHS) strategies and systems that promote continuous WHS improvement and a positive safety culture. In 2017–18, DVA focused on promoting a healthy culture for mental and physical wellbeing.

The Department is committed to effective, open communication and works collaboratively — through WHS committees and staff advisory groups — to promote the health and wellbeing of employees, recognising that health and wellbeing initiatives assist in increasing morale, resilience and productivity.

The National Work Health and Safety Committee was established to ensure effective consultation between managers and staff in relation to health and safety. It meets quarterly and is supported by a network of state-based committees that also meet quarterly.

DVA’s leaders demonstrate commitment to health, safety and wellbeing by:

  • participating in health and safety committees
  • resourcing preventive health, wellbeing and early intervention programs
  • supporting strong networks of first aid officers, harassment contact officers, health and safety representatives and emergency wardens, and a range of consultative and reporting processes for raising health and safety concerns
  • providing education, resources and support — including mandatory WHS training for new employees — to managers and staff
  • ensuring that regular workplace hazard inspections are conducted jointly by managers and trained workplace health and safety representatives
  • overseeing audit and assurance activities in rehabilitation case management and WHS.

Initiatives

DVA provided a range of services and activities to promote health, safety and wellbeing in 2017–18, including:

  • training programs such as Accidental Counselling, Mental Health First Aid, Planning and Managing Change, and Domestic and Family Violence Awareness
  • Employee Assistance Program presentations, delivered across Australia and customised for local needs
  • annual flu vaccinations, subsidies for eyeglasses and fitness equipment, and ergonomic workstation assessments
  • a draft wellbeing strategy (a component of the broader Workforce Strategy), for implementation in 2018–19.

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Outcomes

The average unscheduled absence rate dropped by 0.6 days from 14.6 in 2016–17 to 14.0 days, and the number of accepted workers compensation claims reduced to two in 2017–18 compared to seven in 2016–17.

Table G1 shows the key results for 2016–17 and 2017–18.

Table G1: Key work health and safety results 2016–17 to 2017–18
  2016–17 2017–18
Workers compensation premium $3.286m $4.493m
Workers compensation (proportion of payroll) 2.8% 2.2%
Workers compensation claims accepted 7 2
Notifiable incidents reported to Comcare 6 1

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