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Work health and safety

The Treasury abides by its obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act) by providing a safe and healthy work environment, promoting strategies to enhance personal wellbeing and upholding high standards of ethical behaviour as set out within the APS Values, Employment Principles and the APS Code of Conduct.

The Treasury is committed to providing a workplace that enables all work activities to be carried out without risks to health and safety. The Treasury takes all reasonably practicable measures to eliminate or minimise risks to the health, safety and welfare of workers, contractors and visitors to the department.

The Treasury’s new Work Health and Safety Management System (WHSMS) was endorsed in December 2017. The WHSMS is the Treasury’s overarching policy on workplace health and safety and assists the department in meeting its obligations in accordance with the WHS Act. The WHSMS policy and related policies and guidelines set out the safety arrangements and principles which are to be observed by the Treasury and its workers to ensure compliance with the WHS Act, and provide appropriate mechanisms for continuing consultation and management of work health and safety matters.

  • In accordance with the WHS Act, the Health and Safety Committee met quarterly throughout 2017-18. The Treasury currently has 13 Health and Safety Representatives, 18 Workplace Harassment Contact Officers and 16 First Aid Officers to assist in maintaining work health and safety standards throughout the department.
  • The Treasury’s Comcare premium rate has remained consistently low over the past four years. The Treasury’s premium rate currently sits at 0.53 per cent, which is 50 per cent of the APS average of 1.06 per cent. This low rate is attributed to the Treasury’s Rehabilitation Management System (RMS) which outlines the Treasury’s approach to injury and illness management and provides information to staff and managers about the support available to them. The primary objective of the RMS is to prevent injury or illness, or where this is not possible to assist injured or ill staff through the provision of early intervention support and rehabilitation. The Treasury’s RMS compliance rating currently sits at 85 per cent. The early intervention component of this policy represents a positive and proactive incentive for staff to seek early treatment at the onset of physical injury or illness which may be having an adverse impact in the workplace.
  • The Treasury’s incident rate is very low. In 2017-18, a total of 15 incident reports were received, none of which were reportable to Comcare. The majority of incidents related to slips, trips and falls.
  • Throughout 2017-18 the Treasury offered a number of awareness, training and wellbeing initiatives to staff. This has included resilience coaching, participation in R U OK day events, APS values in practice training, disability awareness training, e-learning modules on emotional intelligence and relationship building, domestic violence seminars and activities to promote and raise funds for organisations such as Lifeline and Gift of Life. Staff were also offered the opportunity to participate in lunchtime yoga classes and the Treasury soccer and cricket competitions.
  • In May 2018, the Treasury enhanced its staff support package for domestic violence providing more practical, meaningful and tangible support. This has included dedicated case management, specialised counselling, short-term access to emergency accommodation, increased leave provisions and access to useful online tools and resources.

Additional wellbeing initiatives which took place throughout 2017‑18 are summarised below.

  • In each calendar year, the Treasury provides for eligible ongoing staff to claim a single payment of $600 to undertake independent health initiatives which contribute towards a healthy lifestyle. This includes the Treasury’s Corporate Health Program which offers discounted rates for gym memberships and related activities. A total of 834 staff claimed this payment in 2017‑18.
  • In March and April 2018, free quadrivalent flu vaccinations were offered to staff in an effort to prevent the spread of colds and flu. A total of 406 employees participated in the program.
  • A total of 116 workstation assessments were provided to staff in 2017‑18. Of the 116 assessments conducted, 84 were conducted in-house and 32 assessments were conducted by external providers.
  • Employees requiring lenses for screen‑based use can be reimbursed a portion of the cost. In 2017‑18, 28 employees received this reimbursement.
  • The Treasury’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP), recently rebranded as Benestar, offers free and confidential counselling independent of the Treasury. The service continues to be available to all Treasury staff, their immediate family members and other people they share a close relationship with. The counselling service is available to help address a range of issues including family life, daily life, emotional wellbeing, work life balance, nutrition and management practices. Staff can also access the EAP online health and wellbeing resources (including videos, learning modules and fact sheets), live chat and online counselling, via the Benestar website.