The CEFC is a ‘public authority’ under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth) (WHS Act) and is required to report annually according to the particulars of Schedule 2, Part 4, section 4.
Health, safety and wellbeing initiatives
The CEFC is committed to the safety and health of its staff and acknowledges its responsibilities under the WHS Act and the National Employment Standards. These standards cover standard hours of work, reasonable additional hours, flexible working arrangements, the provision of personal/carers’ leave and compassionate leave. The standards underpin the CEFC’s commitment to providing safe working hours and adopting a holistic view of staff health and wellbeing.
A respectful workplace
The CEFC is committed to providing a positive, respectful and supportive work environment free from inappropriate workplace behaviour. The highest standards of conduct and ethical behaviour are essential to create a work environment which enables CEFC employees to contribute to the success of the organisation and their own career development, as well as promoting the integrity and accountability of the Commonwealth public sector.
New employees are provided with the CEFC Employee Handbook, which includes links to all CEFC policies, including the CEFC Code of Conduct and Ethics, and the policies for each of workplace bullying, discrimination and harassment; equal employment opportunity; and workplace health and safety. Mandatory online induction training in these policies is also provided and new employees are required to acknowledge their understanding of these policies and confirm they will behave in accordance with the expectations contained in them.
All CEFC employees undertake mandatory annual refresher training covering the CEFC Code of Conduct and Ethics; discrimination and equal employment opportunity; workplace bullying; and workplace health and safety. Contractors and consultants must comply with all workplace laws and ensure that their subcontractors are also in compliance. The CEFC’s standard agreements with our contract suppliers contain clauses requiring compliance with workplace laws.
Public Interest Disclosure
The CEFC operates under the public interest disclosure scheme established by the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (PID Act). This establishes a whistleblower protection for current and former Commonwealth Government employees, contractors and the employees of contractors who report wrongdoing within the Commonwealth public sector and Commonwealth entities.
Where the nature of a disclosure, or potential disclosure, suggests that an individual grievance or workplace conflict could be reasonably construed as a matter more broadly representative of a larger or systemic issue (e.g. employment matters that may be representative of a culture of bullying or harassment), further investigation under the PID Act may be appropriate.
The CEFC Board has a legal duty to implement and monitor systems which ensure safe working conditions at the CEFC as far as reasonably practicable. The Board framework for managing this includes:
- operating within the CEFC risk appetite and maintaining a Risk Management Framework;
- maintaining Corporate Policies and Procedures; and
- monitoring any WHS incidents and/or near misses.
During 2018–19, the CEFC had up to seven emergency wardens in the Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne offices. These emergency wardens have conducted emergency response and evacuation training in accordance with requirements under New South Wales, Queensland and Victorian law.
The CEFC also has eight certified First Aid Officers, who complete annual certification. Details of emergency evacuation procedures, emergency wardens and first aid officers are provided to all CEFC employees, and are displayed in all meeting rooms, kitchen/lunch areas and adjacent to exit doors. In addition, first aid procedures and first aid equipment are available to all employees.
Wellbeing in the workplace
In December 2018 the CEFC introduced a staff Wellness Program. A number of initiatives have been introduced, including a corporate partnership which provide employees with access to competitive rates for fitness programs.
The CEFC encourages employees to participate in healthy exercise. CEFC premises provide lockers and end-of-trip facilities for employees wishing to exercise around their work commitments.
The CEFC encourages employees to participate in wellbeing activities and provides corporate sponsorship for employees to enter corporate fitness challenges and events, including National Ride2Work Day, the LawRight Street Soccer Tournament and various runs and walks throughout the year, such as the annual JP Morgan corporate challenge.
CEFC offices are located in secure buildings with restricted security pass access to the offices, and to the buildings generally at nights and weekends.
Workstation design and facilities exhibit up-to-date safety features, such as adjustable seats and computer monitor arms. Employees are provided with additional equipment as required, including footstands, wrist supports and variable-height desks, and ergonomic assessments are offered to all staff.
The CEFC has a long-standing relationship with Drake WorkWise for the provision of a confidential, employer-funded Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for employees and their families. The Board, Executive and staff are unified in their commitment to provide a caring workplace environment that reflects the CEFC values. The provision of a confidential EAP helps us achieve this goal.
The CEFC is a supporter of R U OK? Day, which falls in September each year. The initiative reminds people to ask family, friends and colleagues ‘R U OK?’ in a meaningful way, in order to create connections with people who might be experiencing difficulties.
The CEFC provides annual flu vaccinations to support employees to maintain their health and wellbeing.
Health and safety outcomes
The CEFC is required to report on health and safety outcomes (including the impact of injury rates of workers) achieved as a result of staff initiatives. During the reporting period, the CEFC had two workplace injuries, including one burn injury to an employee’s hand plus a separate hand injury. One employee also submitted an incident report for a fall sustained on a footpath outside work premises.
There were no notifiable incidents (i.e. deaths, serious injuries or illnesses and dangerous incidents) for the reporting period.
The CEFC must report any investigations conducted during the year that relate to businesses or undertakings conducted by the entity, including details of all notices given to the entity during the year under Part 10 of the WHS Act.
The CEFC has not received any notices, conducted any investigations, nor been investigated under the relevant provisions over the financial year and is a Nil report for all particulars.
Other matters under JCPAA guidelines
Under the WHS Act, the CEFC is required to report on other matters as required by guidelines approved on behalf of the Australian Parliament by the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit (JCPAA).
At the end of the reporting period, the JCPAA had not specified additional requirements for the CEFC under this provision.