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Integrated and effective system - How can we improve?

Case study5

To reduce work-related injuries and illness and to promote health and wellbeing the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) endeavoured to reshape all work practices to include health and safety as a business outcome.

DIAC's workers' compensation premium was the initial indicator that the health and safety of staff had deteriorated. In 2006-07 DIAC's premium was just over $5 million and in 2007-08 the premium jumped to just over $9 million due to a growth in staff numbers, an increase in high cost claims and an increase in the overall number of claims.

DIAC recognised the need to address these issues and developed a three-year injury prevention and management plan aimed at promoting and implementing health and safety practices.

The plan and its associated activities were endorsed by the department's national OHS committee and included details of partnerships between state and territory offices.

Key initiatives of the plan include:

  • implementation of a competency framework and a learning and development program for all rehabilitation case managers
  • development of a practical instruction manual for rehabilitation case managers
  • increased reporting on illnesses and injuries
  • training for managers in the early intervention and management of psychological illness
  • promotion of OHS achievements and activities throughout the department, including the introduction of internal health and safety awards, regular meetings with Comcare to workshop long-term and high cost claims and yearly state and territory office visits.

Since the introduction of the injury prevention and management plan, DIAC has been actively working to reduce the number of claims submitted to Comcare. As at May 2008, 40 claims had been submitted, compared to 73 for the same period in 2007.

DIAC's premium rate for 2008-09 is 1.44 per cent, compared 1.82 per cent in 2007-08, falling by close to $3 million. This is due in part to the focus on targeted early intervention strategies and training campaigns. It is a significant improvement over a 12-month period.

Case study6 

With the granting of a self-insurance licence from the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Committee (SRCC), Optus faced a number of challenges in complying with the legislation and standards of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988.

Optus acknowledged the conditions of the licence and that its commitments, particularly in the area of rehabilitation and return to work, were in need of a review.

To strengthen its standards and practices, Optus developed a new rehabilitation management system that would be integrated across the business.

The Optus rehabilitation management system has the following key objectives:

  • to minimise the impact of injuries on employees and the workplace
  • to provide timely and appropriate intervention at each stage of the recovery and rehabilitation process
  • to implement policy and practices which are consistent with legislation and best practice rehabilitation.

To achieve this, Optus's integrated rehabilitation management system encompassed a number of key items, including:

  • a best practice policy
  • early notification systems
  • early intervention policies
  • proactive case management for work and non-work- related injures
  • active use and management of external rehabilitation providers including onsite provision in high-risk areas
  • extensive quality control measures
  • appropriate application of legislative requirements.

This proactive best practice system has enabled Optus to achieve significant improvements, including a 37.4 per cent reduction in lost time injuries, a 44.6 per cent reduction in the lost time severity rate, and a durability rate of 93 per cent in the last 12 months. In addition, Optus has outperformed set SRCC indicator targets, scheme performance and overall licensees' performance.

Better practice tip

Aim for a proactive approach that includes a range of initiatives designed to achieve effective rehabilitation and return to work. Monitor these initiatives and continuously improve on the existing process. Employees should feel that worker safety is valued.



5 2008 SRCC Safety Awards

6 2007 SRCC Safety Awards

Page last updated: 26 Sep 2014