Workplace health and safety

Keeping our people safe a high priority

3 reported notifiable incidents
0 new workers’ compensation claims

WHS injuries and incidents

In 2016–17, we recorded a total of three notifiable injuries directly related to Workplace Health and Safety (WHS), down from 12 in 2015–16. These were immediately reported and addressed. Reported injury categories included:

  • slips, trips and falls
  • repetitive strain
  • a minor hot water burn.

None of these incidents resulted in workers’ compensation claims or lost time. One workers’ compensation claim carried over from 2015–16, and in 2016–17 we worked closely with this employee and our insurers to support their recovery back to full pre-injury duties.

The significant drop in reported notifiable injuries has been in part due to the WHS Committee proactively conducting regular WHS internal inspections and proactively actioning any issues raised through our WHS Client Site Checklist. Two of our three notifiable injuries occurred outside our office or client premises.

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 2016–17, the WHS Committee continued to put a strong focus on consultation within each of our workgroups and actively identifying hazards.

Our commitment

We are committed to providing the best possible standard of workplace health and safety for all our staff at both our office premises and at client premises, and for visitors to our head office.

 

Case study

Ensuring safety both in our office and out at client sites

Our staff spend much of their time working from the premises of our audit clients. The WHS Client Site Checklist was launched in 2015–16 to ensure our auditors undertake an induction at each client site against a minimum set of criteria. The accompanying Internal Inspection Guidelines were developed to ensure that internal inspections are carried out appropriately, resulting in improved inspection processes at each site.

We are very pleased with the progress we are making with these two new processes. The WHS Client Site Checklist has a completion rate of 100 per cent for 2016–17, a significant improvement on the 12 per cent completion rate last year.

Our 2016–17 WHS Survey showed 88 per cent of our staff feel their clients provide a safe and healthy work environment, improved from 67 per cent in 2015–16. Additionally, the new Internal Inspection Guidelines have assisted us in achieving a significantly lower notifiable injuries rate within our office premises, from 12 in 2015–16 to one in 2016–17.

Over the last year, staff have been diligently assessing their client sites and returning the checklists, ensuring any WHS concerns are promptly addressed.

 

‘The WHS Client Site Checklist is a pro-active way to ensure my staff are safe at work. It helps to identify any issues when out at clients, but more importantly, demonstrates the importance we place on always having a safe and healthy work environment.’

Aaron Green, Director, Financial Audit

 

Notifiable Injuries

Notifiable injuries by body part and occurence

In 2016–17, we recorded three notifiable injuries, categorised below by body part and how the injuries occurred.

WHS activities and initiatives

The following table details all our 2016–17 WHS activities and initiatives against nine key reporting categories.

WHS activity by category
Category Initiative
Consultation
  • WHS Committee met four times
  • WHS Committee actively consulted and engaged with all workgroups throughout the year
  • Election process completed for new Health and Safety Representatives
  • Office Executive provided with four comprehensive WHS reports with in-depth analysis of all WHS key performance indicators, including a new easy to read WHS Snapshot Report
  • All WHS survey results, including verbatim comments, communicated to all staff.
WHS Management system risk management
  • WHS Annual Plan 2016–17 developed in response to 2015–16 WHS Survey outcomes
  • WHS Client Site Checklist actively monitored and all hazards identified and actioned immediately
  • WHS Risk Register reviewed and consolidated into nine key risk areas to make it easier to manage
  • The WHS Risk Register aligned more closely to the Audit Office’s Enterprise Risk Register for consistency.
Ergonomic
  • 11 stand-up desks and 36 electronic sit-to-stand workstations installed to promote healthy work habits and encourage staff to incorporate regular postural breaks into their work routine
  • Seven ergonomic workplace assessments conducted in 2016–17 to minimise and prevent injuries related to posture
  • 10 lunch tables were assessed as not meeting safety standards and were modified to ensure they do not pose any risk to employees.
Information, education and training
  • 100 per cent of staff completed the WHS online learning module
  • WHS Chairperson training held
  • Two WHS Committee refresher training sessions held
  • WHS Coordinator attended a ‘People, Culture, Strategies’ webinar ‘Just incidentally: Your key must-knows in dealing with a WHS incident in your organisation’
  • 100 per cent of staff that are not on long term leave completed the compulsory ‘Diversity, Inclusion and Respect’ online learning module
  • All new employees completed ‘Bullying and Harassment’ training
  • All first aid officers completed annual first aid and defibrillation refresher training
  • Fire wardens attended three refresher training sessions.
Policies and procedures
  • All WHS policies were reviewed, updated and consolidated where practical
  • A new WHS Committee Timetable was developed to ensure the committee is on track with all safety commitments.
Safety alerts
  • WHS Newsletter continues to be communicated regularly to advise of safety issues and hazards, safety initiatives and safety updates to all staff
  • WHS Communication Plan 2016–17 developed to help communicate and educate all staff on how to report incidents, what their WHS roles and responsibilities are, and to increase safety awareness
  • Practiced our evacuation procedure through a fire drill
  • Safety alerts routinely communicated to staff in the event of an incident.
Electrical
  •  Annual check conducted to ensure all electrical equipment is tagged and a review of all Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) conducted.
Physical
  • Four WHS internal inspections conducted
  • 100 per cent of WHS Client Site Checklists completed for client site visits.
Programs
  • Flu Vaccination Program (four strains) successfully held for a higher number of employees than last year
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP) communicated twice to ensure staff are aware of the service provided
  • NSW Government initiative ‘Get Healthy at Work’ investigated to improve health awareness at work.

We have an engaged and active WHS Committee

In 2016–17, the Audit Office held WHS elections and five new employees joined the committee. The outgoing committee members conducted a successful handover to new members, ensuring the transition was smooth and effective. All new members completed a committee training session. As per previous years, our first aid officers completed first aid and defibrillation refresher training this year.

In 2016–17, the WHS survey showed improvements in many areas including:

  • safety awareness
  • who and where to find health and safety representatives
  • where to find WHS policies and procedures
  • how to report incidents and hazards
  • improved satisfaction rates with safety at client sites.

The committee are currently developing actions that will address areas for improvement identified in the survey.

Staff satisfaction with WHS

Every year as part of our staff survey, we include questions to measure staff satisfaction with workplace health and safety. We assess this through performance gaps, which is the difference between staff expectation of the ‘ideal’ and how well we are performing. Gaps over 20 points are considered a high priority for resolution.

In 2015–16, the performance gap for the statement ‘The Audit Office provides a safe and healthy work environment’ was 10, closing the gap from 19 in the 2014–15 survey. In 2016–17, we have remained steady with a gap of 10. For more information see staff satisfaction.

We aim to continuously improve WHS initiatives

A WHS Emergency Evacuation Plan and WHS Medical Emergency Procedure was developed 2016–17. These documents will be communicated to all employees to ensure they understand their responsibilities in the case of an emergency evacuation and to highlight the medical emergency process for several different scenarios.

The WHS Committee amalgamated our current WHS Risk Register into nine key risk categories and aligned it to our Human Resources People Risk Register and the Audit Office’s overarching Enterprise Risk Register. The aim of this consolidation was to make the risks more manageable to monitor, and make the register consistent with other Audit Office risk registers.

Additionally this year, there was a strong focus on improving our consultation approach with all employees to identify any WHS issues currently facing the Audit Office. To do this the committee actively consulted with employees’ multiple times throughout the year and developed actions to rectify the hazards identified.

In 2016–17, we completed our first full year using our new WHS key performance indicators (KPIs). We were below the new KPI for Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate by 0.2 per cent. This was partly due to a focus on working with Nominated Treating Doctors and employees to provide suitable return to work duties, typically reducing lost time. The WHS Committee will benchmark again this year with professional services industries to determine if our safety KPIs are still relevant.

 

The year ahead

In 2017–18, we plan to build on last year’s progress on 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
  • developing new ‘healthy at work’ initiatives
  • training all new WHS Committee members.

In 2017–18, the WHS Committee will continue to actively work to:

  • identify and resolve safety concerns
  • action the results of internal audits and inspections
  • identify WHS hazards and risks
  • understand the impact of operational and business requirements on the safety, health and wellbeing of our staff.

 

‘The Audit Office provides a safe and healthy work environment’ performance gap