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Publications archive - Annual reports

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Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

Environment Australia Annual Report 2001-02

Environment Australia, 2002
ISSN 1441-9335

Appendix 3
Occupational Health and Safety

This report is presented in accordance with the requirements of section 74 of the Occupational Health and Safety (Commonwealth Employment) Act 1991.

Environment Australia continued to maintain a strong commitment to the health, safety and welfare of its staff and any other persons at or near Environment Australia's sites through the promotion of its health, safety and welfare programmes. The new Occupational Health and Safety Policy and Agreement were finalised during 2001-02.

Environment Australia's Occupational Health and Safety Committee continued to address a wide range of issues. Occupational health and safety awareness training commenced for managers and supervisors, and will be continued during 2002-03.

Achievements during 2001-02 included:

The Australian Antarctic Division introduced a new Division-specific occupational health and safety policy statement and rehabilitation policy. Risk assessment processes for all Division work areas were standardised and formalised. A gap analysis was carried out to compare the Australian Antarctic Division safety management system with Australian Standard (AS) 4801, and work is in progress to enhance the Division's safety management system to meet, as a minimum, the AS 4801. The asbestos management plan was updated. An occupational health and safety induction session was developed for new head office staff.

Accident or incident reporting

During 2001-02, Environment Australia and Canberra-based programmes reported 37 incidents or accidents under section 68 of the Occupational Health and Safety (Commonwealth Employment) Act. Additionally, Parks Australia reported 34 accidents or incidents under section 68 of the Act.

Two investigations into incidents in Kakadu National Park were conducted by Comcare during the year. No injuries were sustained in one of the incidents and relatively minor injuries were sustained by an employee in the other. As a result of the Comcare investigations, procedures were reviewed and improvements made to the occupational health and safety systems in the park.

There were no matters to report under sections 45, 46 or 47 of the Act.

With regard to section 30 of the Act, one request for information was received from a health and safety representative relating to the market testing and proposed outsourcing of the occupational health and safety function of the Department. The information sought was provided, and it is noted that the proposed outsourcing did not proceed.

During 2001-02, the Australian Antarctic Division reported 14 incidents or accidents under section 68 of the Occupational Health and Safety (Commonwealth Employment) Act.

Compensation and rehabilitation

Under the rehabilitation policy and guidelines, Environment Australia continued to provide support for injured and ill employees and provided an early return to work programme. During 2001-02, there were 12 return to work plans in place for injured staff. Six return to work plans ceased during this period.

In the Australian Antarctic Division there were two return to work plans in place for injured staff.

Bureau of Meteorology

During the year a number of the Bureau's occupational health and safety policies were reviewed, and the revised policies will be finalised and implemented in 2002-03.

Successful testing of a safer hydrogen generation system resulted in the appointment of a supplier to provide the new system commencing in 2002-03.

Comcare completed an occupational health and safety audit at head office, NSW regional office and the Townsville office in late 2001. The audit identified some deficiencies in existing practices within the Bureau. Health and safety training was considered the main area needing to be addressed, and renewed efforts will be made to ensure that all managers and staff understand their responsibilities in relation to health and safety.

The national occupational health and safety coordinator visited all regions to facilitate the conduct of occupational health and safety committee meetings and attend to issues as necessary. Training courses and conferences were addressed on occupational health and safety matters.

First aid training was organised, and a database of all first aid training is being developed. Health and safety representative training continued.

Health promotion activities were undertaken, with approximately 20 per cent of staff participating in an influenza vaccination programme.

The Employee Assistance Programme, a confidential counselling and referral service, is provided for all Bureau employees and their dependants. Approximately 5 per cent of employees used the programme in 2001-02.

The Bureau had one accident which was reportable to Comcare under section 68 of the Occupational Health and Safety (Commonwealth Employment) Act.

The Bureau's workers' compensation premium rate continued to be set below the Australian Public Service average. The number of compensation claims received by the Bureau in 2001-02 reduced by approximately 45 per cent.

There were no directions given to the employer under section 45, and no notices were served on the Bureau under sections 46 and 47 of the Occupational Health and Safety (Commonwealth Employment) Act.