ASD is committed to providing a safe working environment and ensuring the health, safety and welfare of its staff. Staff can access work health and safety (WHS) information through the ASD intranet and directly through the WHS team; they are able to contribute to ASD’s overall safety culture through a network of Health and Safety Representatives.
In 2019–20 ASD continued to promote a proactive approach to WHS. During the year the most significant WHS initiatives were:
- Providing workstation assessments and, where needed, rehabilitation case management services to meet the health, safety and rehabilitation needs of the workforce.
- Supporting ASD staff throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in relation to the transition to working from home and the provision of information to assist in safe ergonomic arrangements.
- Undertaking mental health initiatives to support staff including the introduction of Therapy Dogs.
During 2019–20, 72 workplace incidents/hazards were reported. While this is an increase on the 43 incidents/hazards reported in the previous year, the rate of injuries has decreased by 26 per cent, demonstrating a positive reporting culture. Corrective actions were implemented to eliminate or minimise reported risks to prevent further occurrences.
Three incidents were notified to Comcare under Part 3 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act). No directions were given to ASD under section 217 Part 11 of the WHS Act.
ASD conducts WHS inspections across all locations twice a year to assess compliance with ASD’s WHS management system and to identify areas for improvement.
ASD has a strong focus on mental health and wellbeing, which is pivotal to maintaining an emotionally resilient workforce.
ASD staff have access to an embedded Psychological Services team which provides counselling and therapeutic interventions for a range of issues and, where relevant, refers staff to the Defence Intelligence Agencies Employee Assistance Services panel for external support.
ASD-embedded psychologists provide a range of relevant training and presentations to staff on mental health topics including: working with potentially traumatic material; managing anxiety; and managing stress and resilience. In addition to this a member of the psychology team presents at all staff inductions to normalise help-seeking and to ensure all staff entering the agency are aware of the available services. The Psychological Services team maintains connections across the NIC psychology forums to stay abreast of relevant issues for staff within the NIC.
In addition, ASD maintains a Management Review Committee (MRC) as the key body for managing staff wellbeing and personnel security risks for the agency. Where required, the MRC considers potential issues of concern related to employee organisational suitability in a manner which balances intelligence-related equities and appropriate personnel management.