Purpose 2—National Regulator

Working with employers, employees and other stakeholders to deliver consistent, risk based regulation to improve work health, safety and rehabilitation outcomes

Achievement of the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012–2022 targets and initiatives

SOURCE TARGET
PBS component 1.1

Percentage number of assessed workplaces and providers demonstrating compliance at the first time of assessment and on subsequent assessments.

Qualitative evaluation of the consistency of compliance activities.

Percentage number of activities that comply with Comcare’s internal and statutory requirements of investigations, inspections, authorisations and assessments of notifications.

The Australian WHS Strategy includes national targets and performance indicators that measure the success of national actions. Targets in Australia to be achieved by 2022 include:

  1. a reduction in the number of worker fatalities due to injury of at least 20 per cent
  2. a reduction in the incidence rate of claims resulting in one or more weeks off work of at least 30 per cent
  3. a reduction in the incidence rate of claims for musculoskeletal disorders resulting in one or more weeks off work of at least 30 per cent.

In 2016–17, the Comcare scheme (the scheme) recorded against the targets:

  1. one claim for a compensable injury fatality
  2. 5.4 claims per 1000 FTE employees. This rate of improvement, if continued, would exceed the requirements of the Australian WHS Strategy
  3. a reduction to a rate of 1.4 claims per 1000 FTE employees. This is approximately 30 per cent below the Comcare scheme target for this measure for the same period.

Compliance with the Nationally Consistent Approval Framework for Workplace Rehabilitation Providers by workplace rehabilitation programme providers approved by Comcare.

SOURCE TARGET
PBS component 1.1

Percentage number of assessed workplaces and providers demonstrating compliance at the first time of assessment and on subsequent assessments.

Qualitative evaluation of the consistency of compliance activities.

Percentage number of activities that comply with Comcare’s internal and statutory requirements of investigations, inspections, authorisations and assessments of notifications.

Comcare approves workplace rehabilitation providers (WRPs) who support and facilitate return to work in the Comcare, Military Rehabilitation and Compensation, and Seacare Schemes.

There are 119 Comcare approved WRPs as at 30 June 2017.

For the period 2016–17, Comcare evaluated the results of WRP self-assessments against the Nationally Consistency Approval Framework. During 2016–17, 87 self-assessments were reviewed, of which 63 per cent received level one conformity and 11 per cent received level two conformity.

The remaining 26 per cent of WRPs were not assessed for the following reasons:

  • assessment not required
  • WRP requested to be removed from the approved Comcare list
  • no self-assessment returned by WRP.

The majority of the non-conformances for WRPs with a level two score were as a result of failures of consultants to undertake assessment services according to the standard required by the national framework’s Principles of workplace rehabilitation.

Achievement of Regulator Performance Framework requirements.

Note: Comcare’s Regulator Performance Framework includes 20 measures of good regulatory performance and 46 output/activity-based evidence.

SOURCE TARGET
PBS component 1.1

Percentage number of assessed workplaces and providers demonstrating compliance at the first time of assessment and on subsequent assessments.

Qualitative evaluation of the consistency of compliance activities.

Percentage number of activities that comply with Comcare’s internal and statutory requirements of investigations, inspections, authorisations and assessments of notifications.

In 2016–17 Comcare completed its second annual self-assessment against the Government’s Regulatory Performance Framework (RPF). Comcare’s Regulator Performance Framework provides regulators with a standard set of key performance indicators, which articulate the Government’s overarching expectations of regulator performance.

The self-assessment identified that Comcare has met 11 out of the 12 key performance indicators (91.6 per cent). This is an increase from 85 per cent in 2015–16.

Comcare’s RPF measurement 2.1 is, ‘Comcare provides guidance and information that is up to date, clear, accessible and concise through media appropriate to the target audience’. This measure is still being scoped to provide the ability to receive an annual return from entities in the Comcare scheme to ascertain their WHS compliance posture and identify emerging WHS risks.

The information collected will be used to enhance the capability of Comcare’s Risk Model and will ensure that Comcare has a comprehensive understanding of the nature of work undertaken by employers, and associated WHS risks, in its jurisdiction. This approach will provide value to both Comcare and its regulated entities by ensuring more balanced and proportionate engagements and improve regulatory efficiency.

The self-assessment will be published on Comcare’s website later this year.

Our proactive regulatory reach is extended to all entities in our scheme, to further our breadth of activities both in cities and remote workplaces and ensure we have increased the number of active relationships with entities.

SOURCE TARGET
Corporate Plan Comcare interaction with 60 per cent of entities in our scheme

In 2016–17, Comcare has undertaken over 3000 regulatory interactions involving 152 regulated entities. This equates to 62 per cent of regulatory entities in our scheme.

Our approach improves WHS outcomes in workplaces through increased knowledge, awareness and compliance to ensure regulatory intervention makes a positive difference.

SOURCE TARGET
Corporate Plan Survey establishes a baseline of 60 per cent positive response

In May 2017, Comcare invited 17 employers to complete an online survey to evaluate its service delivery activities. A total of 11 employers agreed participate, accounting for a total of 67 per cent of all inspections conducted by Comcare.

The majority (68 per cent) of participating employers felt the regulatory services they were involved with had a positive impact on their workplace and improved their WHS outcomes. This is an improvement on the 2015–16 evaluation where 66 per cent of employers felt their WHS knowledge had increased or the organisations compliance had improved as a result of a compliance monitoring activity.

As a result of the 2015–16 evaluation activity, Comcare committed to increasing its verification of actions taken by regulated entities on recommendations made within inspector reports. In 2016–17, Comcare conducted 61 verification inspections and was satisfied with the actions taken following an initial inspection.

A sustained high level of satisfaction and engagement with services provided measured by survey, to ensure regulatory actions are appropriate, responsive and relevant.

SOURCE TARGET
Corporate Plan Survey result baseline (80 per cent satisfaction rating)

Feedback collected during Comcare’s evaluation indicates a high level of satisfaction with our services delivered for compliance monitoring inspections.

The majority of employers (85 per cent) felt Comcare’s regulatory response was proportionate to the issue. Furthermore, all of the employers believed the inspector demonstrated an understanding of the issue, explained the purpose of the inspection, how the inspection would be conducted and was clear about what they required.

Analysis of performance against Purpose 2

In 2016–17 Comcare developed a Risk Model to capture data from a variety of sources to better understand employer WHS performance.

The Risk Model is designed to include data drawn from incident notifications, claim incidents rates, industry, location, FTE, mechanisms of injury and a range of other data from external sources such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics and Safe Work Australia.

The model compares data sources for each employer against industry averages and a range of other metrics in order to gain better perspective on how the employers WHS performance and allows the regulator to prioritise regulatory activity.

Once fully implemented the Risk Model will allow Comcare to identify emerging risks, engage with employers who are engaged in high risk activities and target regulatory activity to broader systemic issues. The model will enhance Comcare’s goal of being a risk-based, targeted national regulator.

In 2016–17, Comcare introduced a series of performance targets aimed at progressively extending our regulatory reach to all entities in the scheme by 2019. The target for 2016–17 was for interaction with at least 60 per cent of regulated entities. During the financial year, Comcare was involved in over 3000 regulatory interactions with 152 entities of the 244 regulated entities. This equates to 62 per cent of the Comcare’s regulated entities.

These interactions include:

  • the provision of information and advice
  • connecting locally activities
  • executive engagement with employers
  • a mental health community of practice
  • outreach activities with entities
  • WHS and rehabilitation management system audits
  • investigations, and
  • compliance monitoring activities.

In addition, Comcare conducted regulatory campaigns, health and safety forums, and delivered an education and training programme.

Comcare’s regulatory campaigns are aimed at minimising harm in the workplace. Five campaigns were undertaken during 2016–17. Campaign topics were:

  • falls of a person from a height
  • mental health disorders
  • healthy and safe by design
  • supply chains and networks
  • Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals.

A total of 438 registrations were received for the National WHS Forum Programme. The programme covered:

  • risk perceptions
  • identifying barriers to good WHS
  • precursor analysis for hazard identification
  • the practical implications of WHS in contract management.

Comcare’s Education Team delivered 184 training sessions across Australia to approximately 2600 participants. Comcare training provides participants with access to current research, description of WHS trends, and information about legislative changes affecting the industry and jurisdiction. Participant feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

To ensure our regulatory services are aligned with expectations, Comcare evaluates its regulatory performance to understand whether our approach improves WHS outcomes in workplaces and ensures regulatory actions are appropriate, responsive and relevant.

2016–17 indicated that Comcare is delivering its regulatory services in a manner that is meeting internal operational requirements and the expectations of our regulated entities. The majority of employers who participated in the evaluation felt the regulatory service they were involved with had a positive impact on their workplace and improved WHS outcomes.