Comcare - Australian Government
Comcare homeComcare Annual Report 2010-11 homeManagement

Occupational Health and Safety Initiatives and Outcomes

This year Comcare has participated in a number of key activities designed to reduce the risks to our employees.

Guarding Minds @ Work

In the Comcare scheme psychological injury accounts for 10 per cent of all claims and 30 per cent of total claim costs. As part of the Plan we are committed to examining ways to prevent and manage psychological injury and contribute to individual and organisational resilience. Guarding Minds @ Work is one way that we have identified to protect and promote psychological safety in the workplace.

Guarding Minds @ Work was developed by researchers in Canada and includes an organisational audit, multiple employee surveys, action tools and evaluation templates.

Comcare, along with the Australian Taxation Office and the ACT Government participated in the pilot of the program that ran from March to June 2011.

Workplace BullyingBullying-poster

In May 2011, Comcare participated in a proactive examination of policies and procedures to prevent workplace bullying. This activity was taken in partnership with Comcare as the regulator and was designed to explore the strength of the systems that Comcare has in place to prevent bullying. The results of this work will be finalised in early 2011–12.

As part of this activity Comcare conducted an awareness campaign encouraging employees to take action is they see any unacceptable behaviour.

Safety Training and Awareness

Developing effective working relationships across all business areas of Comcare and delivering key messages and training programs about health and safety practices to Comcare employees was a key priority in 2010–11. These messages included:

  • safe work practices as an integral part of business and workplace culture
  • effective prevention programs
  • major health and safety risks and strategies for mitigating these risks
  • the importance of appropriate consultation between employees, managers and the workplace health and safety unit before implementing new work practices or equipment
  • reporting incidents and hazards to enable Comcare to address individual issues and collect data for trend analysis and development of risk controls.

All employees who hold a health and safety role in Comcare—health and safety representatives, harassment contact officers, first aid officers and emergency wardens—have been provided with the appropriate accredited training or refresher training. Comcare has an ongoing calendar of training, beginning with induction, aimed at ensuring that all employees have the appropriate OHS training to fulfil their roles in safety, health and management.

Workplace health specialists were involved before purchase or introduction of new equipment or before the implementation of new work practices to ensure no new hazards were introduced into the work area, and that appropriate risk assessments were conducted. Examples of the new equipment assessed include:

  • computer monitors, keyboards and peripherals
  • computer software.

Health and wellbeing

Comcare is committed to promoting the health and wellbeing of its employees. Comcare recognises that workplace-based health and wellbeing programs positively contribute to morale, resilience and productivity by reducing workforce absence, illness, and workplace injury. By informing, enabling and supporting employees to make healthy choices, Comcare is positively contributing to the overall health and wellbeing of its social community.

Martin Seligman Award for Health and Wellbeing

In 2010, Comcare was a finalist in the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI) awards in the Martin Seligman Award for Health and Wellbeing category. This category recognises outstanding initiatives and strategies promoting the health and wellbeing of employees in the workplace.

The awards were held on 23 November.

CEO Paul O’Connor, COO Gaby Medley-Brown and members of the People and Place Team attended the awards.

Employee Assistance Program

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides access to confidential counselling to support the psychological wellbeing of employees and their families.

In this financial year, 11 per cent of employees and their families used the service. Personal issues were the main reason for Comcare employees to access the counselling service, accounting for 59.7 per cent of all appointments. The use of the service for a wide variety of personal and work-related issues indicates that Comcare employees understand the value of counselling to manage challenges.