B.7 Work health and safety


Work Health and Safety within ACT Health is primarily the responsibility of the management team. This responsibility is shared with all staff. Workplace Safety (WPS) has overarching responsibility for ensuring that ACT Health has an effective Work Health and Safety Management System (WHSMS). The WHSMS assists management and staff to:

  • identify, manage, monitor and report incidents, safety hazards and their associated risks
  • meet legislative compliance as far as is reasonably practicable.

WPS provides occupational medicine services across ACT Health to prevent potential infectious disease being transmitted to healthcare workers. These services include:

  • pre-employment screening
  • a vaccination program, including annual influenza vaccinations
  • occupational risk exposure and follow-up management, counselling and advice
  • cytotoxic screening
  • monitoring safety devices
  • health surveillance
  • education.

WPS also provides a holistic early intervention physiotherapy service to staff who have sustained musculoskeletal injuries. This assists in:

  • reducing time off work
  • facilitating early return to work
  • improving staff morale
  • decreasing workers compensation claims.

A priority is educating staff to increase their awareness of:

  • safe work practices
  • Work Health Safety
  • training available to staff, managers and Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs)
  • ergonomic environments.

WPS has operational responsibility for the Riskman system. This allows ACT Health to configure the system to meet business needs, including:

  • providing support to stakeholders
  • using the system to coordinate issues with the ACT Health’s divisions and services.

Work Health and Safety Act 2011 reporting

Table 15 identifies the number of incidents, accidents, investigations and Provisional Improvement Notices (PINs) reported in 2015–16, as required by the reporting requirements of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

Table 15: Work Health and Safety Act 2011 reporting
Year No. of staff  incidents* Lost time injury of one day or more* No. of staff incidents notified to ACT WorkSafe*(under section 35 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011) No. of PINs
2015–16 1,299 159 21 1
2014–15 1,318 151 40 2
2013–14 1,367 158 54 N/A
Source: * Workplace Safety Team Riskman Staff Incident Register

One PIN was issued on 12 February 2016 in relation to hazards in a compactors area of the Cancer, Ambulatory and Community Health Support (CACHS) Radiation Oncology File room. The PIN was withdrawn on 23 February 2016 after remedial action.

No Prohibition Notices or Improvement Notices were issued to ACT Health during 2015–16.

There were no ACT Health workplace fatalities in 2015–16.

Worker consultation arrangements

ACT Health has three tiers of Work Health and Safety Committees.

The Tier 1 Work Health and Safety Committee is the peak organisational body for Work Health and Safety in ACT Health and met four times during 2015–16. This committee is chaired by the Director-General or Deputy Director-General and includes management representatives and workplace HSRs.

Tier 2 Health and Safety Committees are chaired by Executive Directors and represent major divisions and branches. Tier 2 committees meet quarterly and monthly.

Tier 3 Health and Safety Committees represent localised work areas and bring together groups within similar locations/job types. Tier 3 committees meet monthly.

Health and Safety Representatives

As shown in Table 16, at 30 June 2016 there were 274 elected Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) within ACT Health.

Table 16: Number of HSRs
Year Number of HSRs
2015–16 274
2014–15 268
Source: Workplace Safety Team 2016


Injury prevention programs


The electronic staff accident and incident reporting system (Riskman) is now in its seventh year of operation. Riskman continues to provide organisational reporting and enables ACT Health to quickly:

  • identify and implement relevant controls
  • report incident and trend data to management and workplace HSRs.

The Riskman system continues to be developed to meet organisational needs both in clinical and non-clinical areas. Various registers and extensions were upgraded in 2015–16 to:

  • provide customised and dash board reports, indicator sets and body charts
  • improve functionality.

The Riskman system now consists of 15 registers and associated extensions, up from nine in 2014–15.

Staff/management feedback was utilised to develop a more user-friendly system, which allows higher quality reporting to management and committees. An Occupational Medicine Unit Riskman module has been developed to capture data for staff screening and immunisation, including annual influenza vaccinations and occupational risk exposures.

The Riskman system interfaces with the Chris21 payroll system and the ACT Patient Administration System (ACTPAS) system to automatically populate validated staff and patient demographic data. This reduces data entry while increasing data quality.

Safety training and auditing

Safety training remains a priority and continues to be provided for HSRs, managers and new staff. The Work Health and Safety Managers course assists managers to:

  • implement relevant preventive and corrective safety controls
  • continuously improve safety in the workplace.

ACT Health continues to be accredited by WorkSafe ACT as a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) to provide tailored HSR training for our staff.

ACT Health has developed its own internal safety auditing tool in response to feedback from management and staff. This enables ACT Health to meet corporate and legislative requirements. External WHSMS auditing is undertaken by a qualified contractors.

WPS Early Intervention Physiotherapy Program

As shown in Table 17, the WPS Early Intervention Physiotherapy Program completed 583 workstation assessments during 2015–16. Workstation assessments may also be conducted to support an employee returning to work where a work or non-work injury has occurred.


Table 17: Number of workstation assessments
Year Total number of WPS Workstation assessments
2015–16 583
2014–15 579
Source: Workplace Safety Early Intervention Physiotherapy Team


Performance against Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012–22 targets

As shown in Figure 11 and Table 18, in 2015–16, ACT Health continued to reduce the number of new claims that exceeded five days off work per 1,000 employees. This is due to early intervention strategies and proactive case management.

The 2015–16 figures are consistent with historical trends, and overall performance continues to be very good against both the Health Directorate and ACT Public Service (ACTPS) targets.

Target 1: a reduction of at least 30 per cent in the incidence rate of claims resulting in one or more weeks off work
Incident rate of claims resulting in one or more weeks off work


Table 18: Incident rate of claims resulting in one or more weeks off work
Health Health Directorate — no. new 5 day claims Health Directorate — rate per 1000 employees Health Directorate Target 1 ACTPS — no. new 5 day claims ACTPS rate per 1,000 employees ACTPS Target 1
Baseline (Avg FY 09-12) 67.00 13.31 13.31 336.33 17.21 17.21
2012–13 87.00 16.07 12.92 371 18.17 16.69
2013–14 81.00 13.79 12.52 326 15.48 16.18
2014–15 83.00 13.62 12.12 280 12.89 15.66
2015–16 72.00 11.37 11.72 205 9.33 15.14
2016–17     11.32     14.63
2017–18     10.92     14.11
2018–19     10.52     13.60
2019–20     10.12     13.08
2020–21     9.72     12.56
2021–22     9.32     12.05
Target 2: a reduction of at least 30 per cent in the incidence rate of claims for musculoskeletal disorders resulting in one or more weeks off work

As shown in Figure 12 and Table 19, in 2015–16, ACT Health reduced the incidence of musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) claims resulting in five days or more off work. This continues a trend from previous years and brings the incidence rate below the target level. The overall trend in performance on these claims has been achieved with early intervention strategies and proactive case management.

See: Injury prevention programs, page 179.

Incident rate of claims for musculoskeletal disorders resulting in five days off work


Table 19: Incident rate of claims for musculoskeletal disorders resulting in five days off work
Health Health Directorate — no. new 5 day MSD claims Health Directorate — MSD rate per 1000 employees Health Directorate Target 2 ACTPS — no. new 5 day MSD claims ACTPS MSD rate per 1,000 employees ACTPS Target 2
Baseline (Avg FY 09-12) 47.33 9.41 9.41 224.67 11.50 11.50
2012–13 60.00 11.08 9.12 240 11.76 11.15
2013–14 57.00 9.71 8.84 213 10.11 10.81
2014–15 56.00 9.19 8.56 180 8.28 10.46
2015–16 57.00 9.00 8.28 146 6.64 10.12
2016–17     8.00     9.77
2017–18     7.71     9.43
2018–19     7.43     9.08
2019–20     7.15     8.74
2020–21     6.87     8.39
2021–22     6.58     8.05
Dates are based on those claims received by Comcare in each financial year.
Past years' claim numbers may differ from results published in previous annual reports due to maturation of claims data.
The report includes accepted claims which result in one or more weeks off work.
Data includes claims up to 30 June 2016.