Working with You. Welcome to the Autumn 2008 edition of Working with You.

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1 Working with You Issue 38 Autumn 2008 Welcome to the Autumn 2008 edition of Working with You. Working with You aims to keep you informed of important issues, trends and actions in the world of workplace health and safety. It is also an opportunity for Comcare to let you know about the work it is doing to help employers and employees in its scheme achieve and maintain Australia s safest workplaces and support injured employees. Inside this issue you will find the latest information on our workplace bullying campaign, two recent enforcement actions undertaken and some information about the review of the Comcare scheme which is currently underway. The year ahead is a big one for Comcare. In 2008 Comcare will deliver a range of products and services and several major events are on the calendar, including the Comcare Seminar Series and the Comcare National Conference. You can find more information on the seminar series, which will be held across the country in April, on page eight. More information on the Comcare conference will be available in our next edition. I ll take this opportunity though to remind you about the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Council (SRCC) National Safety Awards which will be held in October in association with the conference. If your workplace has a great program or innovation which has improved health and safety, why not enter the 2008 SRCC Awards and be acknowledged for your efforts? Turn to page three of this edition to be inspired by the 2007 winners while you plan your entry for this year s awards. I look forward to working with you as we continue to improve workplace health and safety outcomes in AUSTRALIA S SAFEST WORKPLACES

2 Contents 1 Welcome 2 Learning and Development Solutions: Training for Australia s safest workplaces SRCC Safety Awards Winners Conference 8 Enforcement update 10 Comcare Review 12 Addressing workplace bullying progress on the targeted compaign Publication details Commonwealth of Australia 2008 Comcare GPO Box 9905, Canberra ACT 2601 Phone Website PUB28 Issue 38 ISSN Disclaimer This publication is intended to provide only a summary and general overview of matters of interest. It is not intended to be comprehensive and is not a substitute for independent professional advice. Please contact an appropriate qualified professional person before relying on the contents of this publication. Comcare (and the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission), its officers, servants and agents expressly disclaim liability and responsibility in respect to, and accept no responsibility for, the consequences of anything done or omitted to be done to any person in reliance, whether wholly or partly, upon this publication, including but not limited to the results of any action taken on the basis of the information in this publication and the accuracy, reliability, currency or completeness of any material contained in this publication. Learning and Development Solutions: Training for Australia s safest workplaces Improve your knowledge of workplace safety with the leading government and private sector authority. Learn how to prevent injury, successfully manage the rehabilitation and return to work of your employees or simply brush up on the latest legislative changes. Enrol today and start getting the help you need to manage the health and safety of your organisation. New courses in 2008 include: Developing Health and Safety Management Arrangements Learn how to develop an occupational health and safety framework that is flexible to the needs of your organisation OHS Act in Detail With OHS practitioners and HR managers in mind, this course will cover regulations, codes of practice, HSMAs, DWGs, HSRs, PINS and OHS Committees, compliance, investigations, appeals and prosecutions Prevention and Management of Body Stressing Injuries Discover the causes of body stressing injuries and the tools necessary to manage and prevent them occurring in your workplace Using the Second Edition of the Guide to the Assessment of the Degree of Permanent Impairment A course for any claims manager wanting greater understanding of PI determinations made under the SRC Act. This is your opportunity to comprehend the: PI provisions and non-economic loss provisions of the Act principles of assessment changes to the PI tables and the specific rules for calculating whole person impairment (WPI) rating View the complete Learning & Development training calendar at or call for your training needs.

3 Congratulations to our 2007 SRCC Safety Awards Winners! Parliament House in Canberra played host to the annual Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission (SRCC) Safety Awards dinner, held in conjunction with Comcare s National Conference, on 24 October Hosted by Richard Morecroft in the Great Hall, the event attracted over 300 guests from around Australia who were entertained throughout the evening by Sydney violin trio, String Diva, and local Canberra band, Limelight. The SRCC Safety Awards are designed to recognise excellence and commitment to continuous improvement in workplace health and safety. Organisations operating within the Commonwealth occupational health and safety and workers compensation jurisdiction were eligible to enter the awards in 2007, which saw a 37% increase in the number of entries received compared to The winners in each category in 2007 have shown extraordinary initiative and made a valuable contribution in advancing the cause of workplace health and safety in Australia. The 2007 organisation category winners were: the Department of Health and Ageing, John Holland Group, the Department of Defence and SingTel Optus. An individual award was also presented to Captain Sharryn Batt from the Department of Defence for her contribution to health and safety. Commenting on the high calibre of nominations and eventual winners, SRCC Chairman, Mr Les Taylor said: the winners demonstrated continued commitment to ensuring workplaces under the Comcare scheme have the highest safety standards, the fewest work-related injuries and the most effective rehabilitation of injured employees. Nominations for the 2008 SRCC Safety Awards open on 2 April and will close on 18 June. A formal awards dinner will be held in October to coincide with the 2008 Comcare National Conference. For further information on how to enter the 2008 SRCC Safety Awards, visit or contact the SRCC Secretariat on Working With You Page 3

4 2007 SRCC Safety Award Winners continued The 2007 SRCC Safety Awards winners are: Category one: Public Sector Leadership Award for Injury Prevention and Management Winner Department of Health and Ageing Better Practice, Better People, Better Premiums Category two: Best Workplace Health and Safety Management System Winner High Commendation Commendation Finalist John Holland Group OHS & R Manual National Australia Bank Star Safety CSIRO Musculoskeletal Management Strategy Linfox Armaguard Pty Ltd Building upon the Armaguard Safety Management System to drive change in Workplace Health and Safety Culture and Enhance Management and Employee Consultation in our Safety Focus Category three: Best Solution to an Identified Workplace Health and Safety Issue Winner High Commendation Commendation Finalist Department of Defence Royal Australian Navy Amphibious & Afloat Support Group The RAN Boarding Ladder Australian Taxation Office Psychological Wellbeing Initiative Australian Bureau of Statistics Power of OHS Culture Department of Defence Defence Science & Technology Organisation, Scientific Engineering Services Sheet Material Handling Trolley Page 4

5 Category four: Best Individual Contribution to Health and Safety Winner High Commendation Captain Sharryn Batt Department of Defence, Army Special Air Service Regiment, WA Inorganic Lead Awareness Program Matthew Olding Linfox Armaguard Pty Ltd The modification of equipment associated with a common task leading to a substantial reduction in manual handling Category five: Best Rehabilitation and Return to Work Winner High Commendation Finalist Finalist Finalist SingTel Optus Best Practice Rehabilitation & Return to Work at Optus Centrelink - Area Hunter Leadership Commitment to Rehabilitation & Return to Work Department of Defence Defence Support Group, SA Strategic Rehabilitation Response Program Linfox Armaguard Pty Ltd Innovation & Improvements in Rehabilitation Snowy Hydro Limited Early Injury Support the Snowy Way 1 Category one winner: David Kalisch, Department of Health & Ageing and Martin Dolan, Comcare and SRC Commissioner 2 Category two winner: Dean Cipolla, John Holland Group and Graham Rawstron, SRC Commissioner 3 Category three winner: Warrant Officer Tom Hodges, Department of Defence, Royal Australian Navy and Graham Rodda, SRC Commissioner 4 Category four winner: Captain Sharryn Batt, Department of Defence, Army and Lieutenant General Ken Gillespie, SRC Commissioner 5 Category five winner: Tim Carmichael, SingTel Optus and Craig Bosworth, SRC Commissioner 4 5 Working With You Page 5

6 2007 Comcare National Conference Big Crowd at Conference The rising awareness of the importance of occupational health and safety continues with a record attendance at Comcare s annual conference held recently in Canberra. Over 450 delegates attended the event, bringing together some of the most contemporary health and safety minds in Australia and New Zealand, including Dr Jan White, CEO of the Accident Compensation Corporation and Kate Carnell, CEO of the Australian General Practice Network. Over two days attendees were treated to the ideas and insight from a range of industry specialists eager to share their knowledge of Building business capability through workplace safety and rehabilitation. Changes to the nature of workplace injury and illness are emerging. This was the key message from Acting CEO Martin Dolan as he opened the conference. Physical hazard injuries are decreasing in the workplace, the challenge now is to develop robust systems to manage occupational overuse, psychological injury and other long onset diseases. The extended working life of employees was also identified as an issue for the future. The long-term effects of conditions, such as diabetes and cardiac disease, on Australia s ageing workforce is a concern for employers. It was considered that these issues may impact on business over the next years and with a climate characterised by skills shortages and a tight labour market, many organisations are already struggling to attract talent and retain corporate knowledge. Martin Dolan Page 6

7 The 2008 Comcare National Conference will be held at the National Convention Centre, Canberra from October For further information please contact the National Events Manager or go online at for more details. Providing some perspective from the other side of the Tasman was Dr Jan White, CEO of the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC), New Zealand. In a comprehensive keynote address, Dr White provided delegates with an insight into the ACC s holistic and socio-cultural approach to rehabilitation and OHS that underpins the NZ accident compensation scheme. Dr Jan White Views from the Industry Sharing the socio-cultural approach to improved safety and rehabilitation management was Adam McInerney. In a lively presentation, the Director of Better Practice for the Australian Public Service Commission highlighted the link between workplace values and employee responsibility. Stressing that participation from employees and management was the key to a robust OHS culture, delegates were left with no doubt that sharing the responsibility of OHS served to entrench it as part of the workplace ethos. Proof that integrating OHS objectives into a business model can bring positive change to an organisation was provided by the Australian Taxation Office. Assistant Commissioner David Diment was proud to present a working example of safety standards and business goals working in synergy. In a keynote address that served as a how to guide, issues including management buy-in and performance reporting were broken down for the audience. With the information and resources available over the two day event, delegates were truly spoiled for choice. The theme of building business capability was addressed from perspectives covering the entire health and safety spectrum. Cementing this issue onto the workplace agenda continues to be a challenge. The delegates attending the 2007 Comcare National Conference certainly received the message and better still, they now have the knowledge and the tools to do something about it. Working With You Page 7

8 Enforcement update Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991 (the Act) Comcare has the power to accept a written undertaking from a duty holder in relation to the fulfilment of an obligation under the Act. This remedy is available as an alternative to civil proceedings thereby encouraging voluntary compliance with the requirements of the Act. An undertaking may be accepted whether or not civil proceedings have commenced. If the undertaking is not complied with, it can be enforced either by direct court order or by the resumption of suspended proceedings. Enforceable Undertaking Australian Postal Corporation On 17 December 2007, Comcare accepted a Court-enforceable Undertaking (Undertaking) from the Australian Postal Corporation (Australia Post) in relation to an alleged failure by Australia Post to observe its duties under the Act. The Undertaking is a legally enforceable commitment by Australia Post which has been accepted by Comcare as an alternative to Comcare pursuing civil proceedings against Australia Post in relation to the alleged breach. The Undertaking follows an investigation by Comcare into a motorcycle accident that occurred on 12 November 2004 at Bundoora, Victoria, in which an employee of Australia Post was seriously injured. Comcare s investigation into the accident revealed that the motorcycle being ridden by the employee at the time of the accident was in an un-roadworthy condition. The investigation further revealed that the employee had not been appropriately supervised to ensure that she did not ride a motorcycle that was un-roadworthy. COMCARE CUSTOMER SEMINARS April National Tour Comcare will commence a national tour of its Customer Seminars in April Seminars will be held in all major states and territories and are free to attend. Seminars are designed to give participants the opportunity to listen to engaging speakers on specific and industry-related topics. Dates & Locations: Hobart Monday 7 April 2008 Hotel Grand Chancellor Adelaide Wednesday 9 April 2008 Mecure Grosvenor Hotel Melbourne Friday 11 April 2008 Sofitel Melbourne Sydney Monday 14 April 2008 Brisbane Hilton Brisbane Wednesday 16 April 2008 Sydney Hilton Townsville Friday 18 April 2008 Rydges Southbank Darwin Monday 21 April 2008 Crowne Plaza Perth Wednesday 23 April 2008 Rydges Perth Canberra Tuesday 29 April 2008 Rydges Lakeside Canberra Registration is now open and places are strictly limited. For more information or to register visit Page Australia s Safest Workplaces

9 Australia Post has undertaken to: work with the Monash University Accident Research Centre to design and conduct a significant research study to provide for substantial and sustainable improvements in the safety of motorcycle delivery operations; implement in relation to its operations, countermeasures to address any work practices and organisational safety climate factors that have been identified by the study as contributing to the incidence of motorcycle operations related injuries; and make available to Comcare the results of the study, for its use to the broader benefit of the community. Comcare will oversee compliance by Australia Post with the Undertaking for its duration. Enforceable Undertaking Department of Defence On 3 December 2007, Comcare accepted a Court-enforceable Undertaking from the Department of Defence (through the Chief of the Defence Force) in relation to an alleged failure by the Australian Defence Force to observe its duties under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991 (the Act). The Undertaking is a legally enforceable commitment by Defence which has been accepted by Comcare as an alternative to Comcare pursuing civil proceedings against Defence in relation to the alleged breach of the Act. The Undertaking follows an investigation by Comcare into an accident in June 2005 in which a member of the Australian Defence Force was seriously injured while conducting roadside repairs on an Army vehicle. Comcare s investigation into the accident revealed that the Australian Defence Force member had not been provided with adequate training and instruction to carry out the repairs in a safe manner. The investigation further revealed that the member had not been appropriately supervised while undertaking the repairs to ensure that he did so safely. Defence has undertaken to: review the Australian Army s risk management framework and work with Comcare to design and conduct a significant research project into Occupational Health and Safety (OHS); review the procedures relating to the type of repair that was conducted on the vehicle involved in the June 2005 accident and amend its policies and procedures where required; provide training to all Australian Defence Force and civilian mechanics on the new procedures; and provide a case study of the item of equipment involved in the June 2005 accident, to all potential Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineer Corps (Army) supervisors before promotion. Comcare will oversee compliance by Defence with the Undertaking for its duration. The full details of each of the above enforceable undertakings can be viewed on Comcare s Compliance and Enforcement portal at the following web address: compliance_and_enforcement/compliance_ and_enforcement_current_actions Working With You Page 9

10 Comcare Review A recent announcement by the Commonwealth Government has placed a moratorium on new applications from private sector corporations wishing to move into the Comcare scheme. The Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, the Hon Julia Gillard MP, publicly announced the moratorium on new declarations, as well as a review of the Comcare scheme on 11 December The moratorium does not apply to those companies that have already been declared eligible under the previous Government. The Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission (SRCC) will continue to consider licence applications from those corporations that have been declared eligible to apply for a licence. The Terms of Reference for the review were announced by the Minister on Julia Gillard 23 January The process will examine Comcare s ability to provide a fair and equitable OHS and workers compensation system for those businesses seeking inclusion in the national scheme. A consultation process will be conducted by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR). Written submissions closed on 29 February The review is expected to be finalised for consideration by the Minister at the end of July For further information go to workplace.gov.au/workplace/publications/ PolicyReviews/Comcare. Collaboration Innovation Celebration SRCC SAFETY AWARDS NOMINATIONS OPEN NOW! Does your organisation excel in the areas of occupational health, safety and rehabilitation? Has your organisation developed a new workplace safety solution aimed specifically at reducing injuries? Then nominate your organisation in the 2008 Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission (SRCC) Safety Awards. Winners will be announced at a gala presentation dinner in October. For more information, visit or contact the SRCC Secretariat on Page Australia s Safest Workplaces

11 Addressing workplace bullying progress on the targeted campaign Studies have shown that job satisfaction is integral to our overall well-being. Comcare is dedicated to working with employers to systematically make the necessary changes and commitment to responsibly prevent and manage workplace bullying behaviour. Such collaboration is a key approach to achieving high standards of safety outcomes for Australian workers. One of the most recent activities in which this is being achieved is through the Workplace Bullying Intervention Campaign. The aim of the campaign is to develop awareness of workplace bullying and its consequences; promote good management practice; and assess the systems employers have in place to prevent bullying. range of available data such as incident notifications, workers compensation claims and employee complaints. 3. Feedback of investigation results. The final phase commenced in early This involves Comcare providing the results of investigations to individual organisations, and disseminating consolidated investigation results to the whole jurisdiction. For more information on the Workplace Bullying Campaign phone or The campaign consists of three phases: 1. Raising awareness of bullying as an occupational health and safety issue. This first phase of the campaign focused on education through the October 2006 conference; Customer Seminars; publications; and guidance material. All this material is currently available on the Comcare website. 2. Targeted investigations assessing compliance. The second phase commenced in August This involved conducting targeted investigations in a cross section of organisations throughout the jurisdiction to assess the systems in place for the prevention of bullying. In deciding which organisations are to be investigated, Comcare assessed a There s a variety of information available to support organisations to develop systems and processes to address bullying and harassment. The Australian Public Service Commission launched their Respect publication promoting a Culture Free from Harassment and Bullying in the APS. Comcare s Bullying in the Workplace is a guide to prevention for managers and supervisors. Working With You Page 11

12 COMCARE NATIONAL CONFERENCE October 2008 National Convention Centre Canberra Comcare s 2008 National Conference will be held on October 2008 to coincide with Safe Work Australia Week. This year it will be extended to a three-day event and incorporates workshops, a larger trade area and more opportunities for networking. Sponsorship, promotional and exhibition opportunities are also available. For more information visit or contact the National Events Manager on Australia s Safest Workplaces

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