C.9 Workplace health and safety

Our priority—a safe and healthy working environment for all employees

Workplace safety within ACT Health is a shared responsibility between managers, staff and the Workplace Safety section.

The Workplace Safety section:

  • has overarching responsibility for ensuring that ACT Health has an effective workplace safety management system to identify, manage and monitor and report safety risks
  • provides a holistic early intervention physiotherapy service to staff who have sustained a musculo-skeletal accident or injury in the workplace
  • provides occupational medicine services across ACT Health to prevent the potential transmission of infectious disease to healthcare workers. These services include pre-employment screening, a vaccination program (including annual influenza vaccinations), an immunisation drop-in clinic, occupational risk exposure (ORE) and follow-up management, counselling and advice, cytotoxic screening, a mobile clinic for seasonal influenza vaccinations and product monitoring on safety devices, surveillance and education.

In addition to promoting workplace safety, ACT Health provides staff with health promotion opportunities. These aim to enhance the efforts already achieved in keeping directorate staff healthy and safe and ensure this is a sustainable goal.

Measures taken during 2012‑13

Workplace safety measures undertaken during 2012‑13 are set out below.

  • The ACT Health Work Health Safety Management System was amended during the year to reflect changes to legislation and to focus on risk management. It includes enhanced asbestos management and removal procedures and an update of cytotoxic drug procedures. This system was designed to meet the Australian Standard 4804 and enables ACT Health to have an integrated safety system. Auditing against Australian Standard 4801 will enable ACT Health to continuously improve its safety management system.
  • The ACT Health Workplace Safety Committee (the peak organisational body for occupational health and safety in ACT Health) met four times during the year. It is chaired by the Director-General and includes management and workplace health and safety representatives.
  • The fourth year of electronic staff accident and incident reporting has resulted in consistent reporting and enabled ACT Health to quickly identify and implement relevant controls, as well as report to management and workplace health and safety representatives.
  • Safety training remains a priority and continues to be provided for health and safety representatives, managers and new staff. E-learning packages were developed for work safety legislation, work station setup, and violence and aggression.
  • The ACT Health Capital Asset Development Plan, and the resultant capital construction of new buildings and the refurbishment of existing buildings, has created a need to increase the level and extent of safety advice provided by Workplace Safety staff.
  • The Dangerous Goods and Hazardous Substances Manual was re-issued in April 2013. This was supported by a Respiratory Policy.


Target 2 graph

Target 2 — Reduce the incidence of claims resulting in one or more weeks off work by at least 30 per cent


Health Baseline
(Avg FY 09–12)
HD # new
5 day claims
60.0 71                  
HD rate per 1000 employees 12.03 12.85                  
HD Target 2 12.03 11.67 11.30 10.94 10.58 10.22 9.86 9.50 9.14 8.78 8.42
ACTPS # new
5 day claims
304.3 274                  
ACTPS rate per 1000 employees 15.66 13.87                  
ACTPS Target 2 15.66 15.19 14.72 14.25 13.78 13.31 12.84 12.37 11.90 11.43 10.96


Over the last 10 years ACT Health has consistently reduced the number of new claims that have exceeded five days incapacity per 1000 employees. This improvement varies on a year-to-year basis depending on the nature and complexity of a small number of claims. A small deterioration has occurred in overall performance between the 2009–2012 average and 2012‑13. However, 2012‑13 figures are still reflective of historical trends. Overall performance is very good against the ACT Public Service figures.


Target 3 graph

Target 3 — Reduce the incidence of claims for musculoskeletal disorders (MSK) resulting in one or more weeks off work by at least 30 per cent


Health Baseline
(Avg FY 09–12)
2012 –13 2013 –14 2014 –15 2015 –16 2016 –17 2017 –18 2018 –19 2019 –20 2020 –21 2021 –22
HD # new 5 day MSD claims 31.0 36                  
HD MSD rate per 1000 employees 6.21 6.52                  
HD Target 3 6.21 6.03 5.84 5.65 5.47 5.28 5.10 4.91 4.72 4.54 4.35
ACTPS # new 5 day MSD claims 154.7 114                  
ACTPS MSD rate per 1000 employees 7.96 5.77                  
ACTPS Target 3 7.96 7.72 7.48 7.24 7.00 6.76 6.53 6.29 6.05 5.81 5.57


The report includes accepted claims only.
Dates are based on those claims received by Comcare in each financial year.
Both reports are based on injury or disease which results in one or more weeks off work.

ACT Health’s performance has indicated a small deterioration compared with the preceding four years. This is reflective of the incidence of musculoskeletal claims in line with the risk profile for these types of injuries within ACT Health. ACT Health manages this risk through investing in proactive approaches to ensure that long-term trends do not reflect 2012‑13 statistical performance. The overall trend in performance on these claims is improving with these early intervention strategies and proactive case management.

Other key performance indicators

Incidents, accidents, investigations and notices in 2012‑13 were as follows:

  • 1355 accident/incident reports were lodged during the 2012‑13 financial year (not including non-individual or Redevelopment Unit contractors). This compares with 1209 lodged during 2011‑12. Of these reports, 164 resulted in lost time of one day or more, compared with 153 in 2011‑12.
  • 74 accidents/incidents relating to ACT Health staff were notified to WorkSafe ACT under section 35 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, compared with 14 in 2011‑12. In addition there were a number of instances where contractors working for ACT Health reported incidents directly to WorkSafe ACT.
  • There was one outstanding provisional improvement notice (PIN) issued in 2011‑12 (27 March 2012). The notice was in relation to potential unknown contaminants in level 5, 1 Moore Street affecting staff working there. The PIN was lifted by WorkSafe ACT on 6 September 2012. ACT Health has since relinquished occupancy of this floor. One further PIN was issued on 7 December 2012. This was because of an ongoing chemical smell that had been detected in the ACT Research School Endocrinology and Diabetics Laboratory in Building 10, level 6, TCH. This was lifted by the Health and Safety Representative on 5 March 2013 when the odour had been eliminated.
  • At 30 June 2013, there were 243 elected Health and Safety representatives within ACT Health. There were 194 Health and Safety Representatives during the 2011‑12 period.
  • There were 304 workstation assessments completed by the Workplace Safety Early Intervention Physiotherapy Program during the 2012‑13 financial year. Workstation assessments are conducted as part of workers, compensation return-to-work plans as well as for non-compensatory purposes. This is an increase from the 129 completed the previous year.
  • Five improvement notices, failure to comply notices, prohibition notices or notices of non-compliance were issued to ACT Health under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.