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Safety Essentials—Summer 2015

Comcare 2015–16 Corporate Plan

The Comcare 2015–16 Corporate Plan describes a new direction for Comcare. Launched by CEO Jennifer Taylor in September 2015, it sets a clear path to transform our business and deliver our four business priorities.

  • Leading insurer—working with employers and employees to minimise harm in workplaces, support return to work and recovery at work, and deliver robust and transparent management of claims.
  • National regulator—delivering risk-based, cost-effective and consistent national regulation of workplaces, encouraging compliance to improve health, safety and rehabilitation outcomes through education and appropriate, balanced enforcement.
  • Excellence in scheme management and design—working with scheme participants to achieve a sustainable, fair and best practice national scheme. We provide expert advice to the Minister for Employment, Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission (SRCC) and Seafarers Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Authority (Seacare Authority), and provide leadership in policy and scheme design.
  • Efficient and cost-effective corporate management—providing high quality, timely management of corporate services, supporting business innovation and improvement by leading corporate planning and building the capability of our people.

Comcare has made the conscious decision to change how we work. This plan sets a new direction to deliver healthy and safe workplaces that minimise the impact of harm. The plan also reflects the feedback received from our key stakeholders about the need for change.

The plan covers the financial years 2015–16 to 2018–19. Corporate plans for Australian Government agencies are required to be rolling plans, updated annually for the four years ahead. We will report against the plan in the annual performance statements that form part of the Comcare Annual Report, tabled in Parliament by the Minister for Employment in October following each financial year.


Changes to the Workers' Compensation Claim Form

Comcare has streamlined the Workers' Compensation Claim Form to make it more user-friendly and easier to complete.

The substantially redesigned form aligns with Comcare's commitment to improving our service, cutting red tape and delivering efficient and transparent claims management.

A version of the form that can be completed and submitted by employees online will be available in January 2016, delivering processing benefits that will allow us to further strengthen our focus on returning employees to work and health more quickly.

Comcare will also continue to provide greater flexibility in how you can interact with us and to enhance effective communication among employers, employees and Comcare.

We welcome your feedback on any aspect of the claim form. Please email or call 1300 366 979.


New and upcoming courses for January 2016

Comcare's Education team has developed a new course titled 'A Supervisors Role in Early Intervention and Rehabilitation'. The target audience for this course is anyone who may have the responsibility of managing or supervising staff. This course will improve supervisors' (at all levels) awareness, knowledge and understanding of the role they play in actively preventing injuries in the workplace, and if an injury occurs, in assisting an injured worker back into the workplace, as healthily, safely and as quickly as possible.

This course provides a brief overview of the WHS Act and SRC Act, as well as early intervention and injury management practices. It is expected to be available for registration from mid-December, for initial delivery from 1 February 2016. A course outline can be found on the Education Services webpage

The Education team has also reviewed the current suite of courses delivered to the jurisdiction. Some course titles have been amended to better reflect the actual course content. For a list of updated courses please go to the Education Services Webpage.

Upcoming courses for January 2016

Course

Date

Location
WHS Act in a day 19 Jaunary 2016 Sydney
Workplace Rehabilitation Provider Training 20 January 2016 Sydney
SRC Act in a day 20 January 2016 Melbourne
SRC Act in a day 21 January 2016 Sydney
Workplace Rehabilitation Provider Training 21 January 2016 Melbourne
Workplace Rehabilitation Provider Training 28 January 2016 Brisbane

For more information please contact Education team.


Comcare Digital Strategy 2015–20

The Comcare Digital Strategy 2015–20 is a key tool in achieving the objectives of the Comcare 2015–16 Corporate Plan and will allow Comcare to be more efficient and cost-effective in delivering our four business priorities:

  • Leading insurer
  • National regulator
  • Excellence in scheme management and design
  • Efficient and cost effective corporate management.

The digital strategy underpins a five year programme of initiatives that will improve service experiences, deliver greater efficiency in the work environment and meet the Australian Government's digital transformation agenda.

The Government's commitment to the digital delivery of services means more than simply reducing reliance on paper forms. Giving our clients the opportunity to interact with us quickly, easily and securely online requires change across every aspect of our business.

Our 'digital first' approach will see a redesign of core systems and processes as we build tools and skills to enhance our client satisfaction, productivity and working environment.

Comcare has made a conscious decision to change how we work, to become a leading organisation and to drive a greater level of innovation in all our business operations. The Comcare Digital Strategy 2015–20 shows clearly how we are putting this decision into action.


Certificate of Capacity

We are pleased to announce that the Certificate of Capacity is now in use by GPs in the ACT and surrounding regions. The Certificate of Capacity enables GPs to focus on their patients' capacity to work, and support them to return to and recover at work.

Comcare tested the Certificate of Capacity with GPs in ACT from February 2015 to June 2015 and received positive feedback from GPs about the links between health and work. A recent survey found that most GPs believe that work is good for health and that they have a role in helping their patients to return to and recover at work. The survey also found that GPs see the certificate as a tool to enable conversations with the employer.

Comcare is currently working with GPs to inform them about the health benefits of work and Certificate of Capacity. This included hosting a recent education event for around 60 GPs and allied health professionals focussing on psychological injuries in the scheme, understanding the legislative framework and the positive and tangible links between good work and good health.


Globally Harmonized System at a glance

The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals, known as GHS, is designed to standardise chemical classification, labelling and safety data sheets (SDS) in the workplace. Australia adopted the GHS with the introduction of the work health and safety laws on 1 January 2012 with a five year transitional period for full GHS implementation by 1 January 2017.

What are the changes?

The GHS uses a common set of pictograms, signal words, hazard statements and precautionary statements for labels and SDS to communicate information about a chemical to the user:

  • Pictograms—the GHS uses nine standard symbols to show how chemicals are classified:
  • Chronic health hazard imageCorrosive imageAcute toxicity imageExplosive imageFlammable imageEnvironmental imageGases under pressure imageHealth hazards imageOxidising image
  • Signal words—there are just two words describing the hazard level; Warning and Danger
  • Hazard statements—communicate the chemical's nature and severity, for example; 'Causes serious eye irritation'
  • Precautionary statements—relate to prevention, response, storage and disposal
  • Labels—contain information on the product identifier, chemical ingredients, pictograms, hazard statements, precautionary statements and other useful information including the contact details of the Australian manufacturer or importer
  • SDS—contains 16 sections with more extensive information relating to the chemical and is the source document for the label.

What should a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) be doing to implement the GHS by 1 January 2017?

PCBUs within the federal jurisdiction are encouraged to:

  • review current inventory holdings for GHS compliant and non-compliant stock
  • allow holdings of GHS non-compliant stock to run down
  • ensure all new purchases are GHS compliant
  • review SDS to ensure hazard management practices are in place
  • ensure workers are aware of the new labelling system and SDS.

Need more Information?

Visit the GHS information page on the Comcare website or email Comcare at GHS@comcare.gov.au


FOI policy changes

Comcare's FOI policy has changed to introduce charges, for non-personal information, from Monday 16 November 2015. There remains no charge for access to your personal information.

Before making a formal request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the FOI Act), you should browse our Information Publication Scheme to see if the information is already available.

For access to any other document held by Comcare, you will need to make a valid FOI request. For your request to be valid under the FOI Act, it must:

  • be in writing
  • state that the request is an application for the purposes of the FOI Act
  • provide information concerning the document as is reasonably necessary to enable Comcare to identify it
  • give details of how notices under the FOI Act may be sent to you (for example by providing an electronic address to which notices may be sent by electronic communication).

Comcare will provide applicants with an estimate of charges, which is realistic and as accurate as possible, for the cost of search and retrieval of the documents. Please send your request to Comcare by:

  • post to: Comcare FOI Team, Comcare, GPO Box 9905, Canberra ACT 2601 or
  • email to foi@comcare.gov.au
Page last updated: 04 Apr 2016