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Health and Safety

Performance – Competent, Considered and Focused

Our Approach

The COVID-19 pandemic presented, and continues to present, several new risks for AIMS that apply across multiple timeframes – days, weeks, months and years – and multiple risk areas, including workplace health and safety, strategic targets and outcomes, plans, resources, delivery and communication. Various risk management tools and methods have been used to assess and manage COVID-19-specific and change management risks (e.g. field work task risk assessments, work from home risk assessments and corporate risk management). Assessments have been effective, collaborative and have guided decision making and response while emphasising the importance of risk management as an essential business management process within the AIMS Risk Management Framework.

At the commencement of the COVID-19 crisis, the AIMS Emergency Management Team managed the quickly evolving situation to ensure that immediate risks were addressed in a timely and effective manner. The Business Continuity Team (BCT) was established shortly thereafter to manage the longer-term business and operational risks. The BCT will continue operation into 2020-21 and oversee the safe transition back to the workplace in a controlled fashion. Essential controls include physical distancing, enhanced cleaning regimes, video conference meetings (prioritised over face-to-face), controlled gathering sizes, personal protective equipment and flexible working arrangements.

The safety of our people, collaborators, contractors and those with whom we share the oceans remains paramount. AIMS Strategy 2025 defines AIMS safety value, to care for ourselves and others in all that we do.

AIMS defines measurable targets with which we will track our progress towards our work, health and safety objectives. At the highest level, AIMS has committed to achieving year on year improvements in safety performance.

Continuous Improvement

Injury Reduction Program

Improving awareness and providing tools and strategies that have reduced serious incident rates

Leadership and Cultural Change Program

Assisting people to work together more effectively, and look out for each other’s health and safety, through personalised assessment, review, and coaching

Improved Safety Reporting

Review and upgrade of AIMS’ incident and injury reporting framework, re-evaluating existing measures and approaches, and linking AIMS safety indicators to key strategic objectives

COVID-19 Think Tank

Targeted review of AIMS’ COVID-19 response to identify what worked well, what do we keep, what has changed or needs changing?

Physical and Mental Wellbeing Program

Providing improved access to exercise opportunities, including Fitness Passport, in addition to mindfulness workshops and training

Internal Audit and Inspection Regimes

Providing a safe workplace and practice through site inspection and Internal Audit Committee review of policies and procedures.

Safety Pillars

Our health and safety approach is based on six pillars (Figure 17) that guide our annual strategic work planning:

Figure 17: Health and Safety Pillars  leadership and culture, learning culture, training and development, continuous improvement, health and wellbeing, communication and collaboration.

Dedicated Safety Roles

Our commitment to the health and safety of workers is demonstrated by the number and diversity of roles dedicated to health and safety management at AIMS (Figure 18).

Figure 18: Health and safety dedicated roles  HSE team members, wardens, first aid officers, safety committee members, health and safety reps, harassment contact officers, cruise leaders, dive officer and supervisors, boating officer and attendants, laboratory managers, quarantine and biosafety officer, radiation safety officer, emergency mangement officer, emergency management team, business continuity team.
In 2020 AIMS Emergency Management and Business Continuity teams played a critical role in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring the health and safety of all workers. A forward-thinking, flexible, risk-based approach that was centred around communication and collaboration, has resulted in no cases of COVID-19 in the workplace while allowing for continued, but restricted, operations.

Lost Time Injuries

There were two lost time injuries recorded in 2019–20. AIMS has consistently achieved low lost time injury rates over the past five years, averaging only one per annum.

Lead and Lag Indicators

AIMS’ reporting culture remains strong, with the number of hazards reported well in excess of target. Of the 67 incidents reported, 4 resulted in lost time or medical treatment injuries, and 12 involved minor first aid cases (Figure 19).

Year on year improvement has been achieved in the areas of safety delivery, with respect to incident reporting, investigation timeframes and the number of incidents resulting in work restrictions. AIMS’ total recordable injury frequency rate decreased by 3 points (16%) and the injury severity rate decreased by 25 points (50%).

AIMS notified Comcare of one dangerous incident involving electric shock as per the requirements of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. No injury was sustained, and the incident was assessed as minor. Comcare closed the incident satisfied that the action plan eliminated or minimised the risk of this type of incident from recurring, so far as reasonably practicable.

No new workers’ compensation claims were accepted under the Comcare workers’ compensation scheme, in large part due to AIMS’ effective early intervention program.

Figure 19: AIMS safety reports, 2019–20  AIMS safety reports, 2019–20. 1 notifiable incident, 0 new workers comp claime, 2 lost time injuries, 192 hazards, 44 hazard inspections, 67 incident reports.
The number of manual task-related recordable injuries halved compared with the previous year. This improvement is attributable to our dedicated injury reduction plan providing early intervention, training and information around key risk factors and the application of manual task-specific risk management tools and role-based functional assessments.