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Work health and safety

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 2020–21, ASD undertook a program of work to embed an organisational culture that proactively manages WHS risks.

Key initiatives during the year included:

  • implementing a revised Due Diligence Framework for ASD Senior Executives.
  • reviewing and updating ASD’s Health and Safety Management Arrangements, thereby strengthening communication, consultation and coordination of WHS matters across the organisation.
  • revitalising WHS committee arrangements that are reflective of ASD’s geographical footprint, and facilitating robust consultation to support officers in exercising their due diligence obligations.

These actions demonstrate our commitment to fostering attitudes that support and sustain healthy and safe work environments.

Notifiable incident reporting

During 2020–21, seven work health safety incidents were notified to Comcare in accordance with Part 3 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act).

ASD was not issued any notices in accordance with Part 10 or directions under Part 11 of the WHS Act.

Psychological safety

ASD has a strong focus on mental health and wellbeing, which is essential in maintaining an emotionally resilient and high-performing workforce.

ASD staff have access to a wide range of mental health supports through the Department of Defence as well as ASD’s embedded Psychological Services Team. ASD’s team provides counselling and therapeutic interventions, as well as training and workshops. ASD psychologists provide training and presentations to staff on managing exposure to potentially traumatic material; skills for managing stress and anxiety; and building resilience.

In 2020–21, the Psychological Services Team finalised a policy on Managing Exposure to Potentially Traumatic Material in the workplace, and developed new resources for managers and staff working with this material. In 2021, the team also sourced external expertise to provide a series of Mental Health First Aid sessions. The team continues to work with staff across ASD to support recruitment and diversity that includes neurodiversity initiatives.

The Psychological Services Team maintains connections across the NIC, through the NIC Senior Psychology Forum, to stay abreast of relevant issues for staff within the NIC.

In addition, ASD maintains the 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 with appropriate personnel management.