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Work health and safety

CASA’s Work Health and Safety Strategy 2017–19 underpins the ongoing development, review and implementation of key work health and safety (WHS) objectives to ensure the health, safety and welfare of CASA’s workers. The strategy aims to:

  • foster a positive and compliant WHS culture
  • encourage proactive prevention and active early intervention
  • promote a healthy, productive and supportive work environment.

Key areas of focus

In 2018–19, CASA strongly focused on improvements to the WHS safety management system; consultation and communication; and training.

National hazard profile and WHS risk register

A major program of work was undertaken to finalise the national hazard profile, based on the outcomes of significant consultation with staff in 2017–18. The national hazard profile and WHS risk register identified more than 40 risks across 21 hazard categories. The revised WHS risk register was approved by the CASA Executive Committee and released to staff in March 2019.

A key aim of the project was to build a sustainable whole-of-organisation model for hazard identification and risk management in future. Through revised governance arrangements, the Aviation Safety Committee and the People Committee work in partnership to regularly identify and review operational and technical hazards and capture WHS risks in the enterprise risk management framework.

The ongoing collaboration between CASA’s corporate and operational business areas has built a strong foundation for continued improvement of the WHS management system, to the benefit of CASA employees.

First aid needs assessment

A first aid needs assessment undertaken in 2017–18 identified that operational staff working in remote and rural locations or working away from the office needed improved access to first aid equipment and training. During 2018–19, targeted training was deemed mandatory for these staff members.

Significant progress has been made, with 87 per cent of identified staff completing this training in 2018–19.

Hearing conservation program

A review of the hearing conservation program was undertaken in 2018–19. The review identified, validated and developed a register of all positions that required employees to operate in hazardous noise environments on a regular basis. The second phase of the review aimed to capture and record data for baseline audiometric tests and monitoring every two years.

Work was undertaken to improve the data visibility and monitoring of all audiometric testing and ensure that the reporting system enabled the organisation to respond to non-compliance.

Significant progress has been made, with 90 per cent of identified staff completing baseline audiometric tests in 2018–19.

Communication and consultation mechanisms

CASA utilises a work group structure to facilitate effective communication and consultation across regions. Following an organisational restructure in early 2018, consultation and negotiations were undertaken on a new work group structure that was agreed on 31 October 2018.

In developing the new structure, the matters considered were:

  • location and grouping of workers
  • nature of work
  • number of workers
  • pattern of work and nature of engagement
  • nature of hazards and risks.

CASA now has six work groups, based on geographic location. The number of Health and Safety Representative positions available has risen from 13 to 23. Twenty-one positions were filled in 2018–19 and all work groups are represented by elected representatives.

National Health and Safety Committee

The National Health and Safety Committee is the primary advisory body for WHS matters in CASA and provides a key communication and consultation mechanism. The committee is chaired by the Branch Manager, People and Culture, and comprises equal representation of employees and management.

The committee met quarterly, in August and November 2018 and March and June 2019.

Local consultative forums

In 2018–19, CASA reinvigorated its local consultative forums across all work groups. The forums provide an opportunity for staff to be consulted about WHS matters and to share ideas and positively influence activity that supports good WHS in their work group. The local consultative forum structure also provides an avenue for communication and consultation between the regional work groups and the National Health and Safety Committee.

Since the new work group structure was implemented, the terms of reference for the forums have been reviewed and corporate support has been provided to ensure that all local consultative forums meet quarterly to resolve potential issues locally or, where required, escalate matters to the National Health and Safety Committee.

Training and activities

CASA has a strong commitment to WHS training. In 2018–19, mandatory training modules were promoted and monitored to ensure that they were completed by the target staff, in the following areas:

  • due diligence training for senior leaders and members of the Board
  • Beyond Blue training for managers and supervisors
  • WHS training for new starters
  • duty of officers training for delegated officers
  • duty of employees training for all employees.

During 2018–19, the following WHS topics were actively promoted and included in news articles, posters and screen savers:

  • mental health in the workplace – R U OK?
  • CASA’s hearing conservation program – National Safety Work Month
  • summer hazards – working outdoors in the heat
  • summer hazards – snake bite
  • hygiene in the cold and influenza season.

Table 10 provides results of other key activities that contributed to CASA’s WHS performance.

Table 10 Results of work health and safety activities, 2018–19

Activity

2018–19

Employees who participated in the seasonal influenza vaccination program

463

Employees who had an individual workstation assessment

92a

Employees who were provided with case management support to stay at work or return to work safely while addressing significant personal or health issues

20

Employees who accessed early intervention assistance for work-related illness or injury

3

Incidents notified by employees

49

Hazards notified by employees

22

Employees and family members who accessed the employee assistance program

70

Operational employees who attended a hearing assessment

179

Operational employees working in remote areas who completed first aid training

147

a Thirteen workstation assessments were home-based assessments.

Actions and investigations

The final five corrective actions identified in the 2016 Comcare audit were completed.

During 2018–19, CASA had no notifiable incidents.

Workers compensation

CASA’s 2018–19 workers compensation premium rate was 0.52 per cent of the 2018–19 payroll. This was a significant decrease from 0.60 per cent in 2017–18 and lower than the average premium rate of 1.06 per cent for all agencies.

Early intervention

In January 2019, CASA implemented a 12-month trial of early intervention assistance designed to remove potential impediments to early support and treatment and minimise the onset and impact of compensable work-related illness and injury.

CASA continues to monitor early indicators of factors that potentially influence high-cost claims. This includes monitoring extended unplanned leave, reported health issues, and patterns of poor attendance, performance or conduct.

Claims

Eight claims for workers compensation were lodged in 2018–19. This was a decrease compared to the nine claims lodged in 2017–18.

Of the eight claims lodged, six related to physical injuries and two related to psychological injuries. Three physical injury claims were accepted by Comcare prior to 30 June 2019 and three claims are yet to be determined. One physical injury claim was rejected by Comcare on the grounds that there was no evidence that it was a work-related incident and one psychological injury claim was withdrawn by the employee.

CASA CEO sleeps out for charity

CASA’s CEO, Shane Carmody, raised over $13,000 by participating in the Canberra Vinnies CEO Sleepout at Canberra Airport in June 2019. Many of CASA’s staff contributed to the worthwhile cause by attending a fundraising BBQ breakfast, raising money through a bake sale, and making individual donations.

‘My accommodation (along with many others’) was the concrete between two hangars on the RAAF side of the airport during what was to become a minus 5 degree Canberra night. At least we were able to bring our own sleeping bags. Vinnies provided three pieces of cardboard, a cup of soup and a bread roll for dinner and then breakfast on Friday at 0500 – no sleep-ins allowed.

‘It certainly gave me an appreciation for some of what homeless people have to endure, particularly in Canberra, and reminded me of the great work that organisations like Vinnies do to support them.’