Workplace health and safety

Keeping our people safe a high priority
12 reported safety incidents
4 new workers’ compensation claims

WHS injuries and incidents

In 2015–16, we recorded a total of 12 notifiable injuries directly related to safety. These were immediately reported and addressed. Reported injury categories were varied and included slips, trips and falls, hitting stationary objects, and being accidently hit by another person. Four of these injuries resulted in workers’ compensation claims (slips, trips and falls), with three of these claims resulting in lost time. We worked closely with all employees and our insurers to support their recovery and a safe and timely return to the workplace.

Our main safety hazard and most frequently reported risk is slips, trips and falls, accounting for 67 per cent of the injuries reported. Hitting stationary objects, being hit by a person accidentally, contact with a sharp object and ‘other’ factors, all contribute to the remaining 33 per cent of our injuries.

Reported safety hazards and risks are managed by the Audit Office’s WHS Committee through ongoing consultation, education and training. In 2015–16, this included the development of a WHS online learning module and a newly updated injury management process and information pack for staff and managers.

Due to a change in our reporting in 2015–16, we are reporting 'notifiable injuries', not 'WHS incidents' as in past years, but with more detailed categories, in compliance with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. Notifiable injuries do not include the near-miss safety incidents previously included in a WHS incident. Going forward we will report on this measure only.

A notifiable injury is defined as

  • the death of a person
  • a ‘serious injury or illness’, or
  • a ‘dangerous incident’

arising out of the conduct of a business or undertaking at a workplace. It may relate to any person – employee, contractor or member of the public.

The year ahead

In 2016–17, we plan to build on last year’s progress on WHS by focusing on:

  • continuing to reduce our lost time injury frequency rate
  • increasing compliance with our new WHS Client Site Checklist covering induction at client sites
  • continuing to improve communication on WHS initiatives across the Audit Office
  • improving our ‘healthy at work’ initiatives
  • completing the review and update of all WHS policies and procedures
  • training all new WHS Committee members.

Notifiable Injuries


Our commitment

We are committed to providing the best possible standard of workplace health and safety for all our staff at both our office premises and at client premises, and for visitors to our head office.


Notifiable injuries by body part and occurence

In 2015–16, we recorded 12 notifiable injuries, categorised below by body part and how the injuries occurred. We also detail our near miss safety incidents, although we are not obligated to record and report these.

Notifiable injuries body parts

WHS activities and initiatives

The following table details all our 2015–16 WHS activities and initiatives against nine key reporting categories.

WHS activity by category
Category Initiative

  • WHS Committee met four times
  • WHS Committee actively consulted with all workgroups throughout the year
  • Election process held for Health and Safety Representatives
  • Office Executive provided with four comprehensive WHS reports with in-depth analysis of all WHS key performance indicators
  • All WHS survey results, including verbatim comments, communicated to all staff.
WHS Management system/risk management

  • WHS Annual Plan 2015–16 developed
  • WHS Client Site Checklist developed, complete with how-to guide and process map, to reduce client site risks and hazards
  • WHS Roles and Responsibilities document developed
  • WHS Risk Register monitored quarterly and updated as required
  • Injury Management Packs for managers and employees developed and rolled out to all staff, including:
    – guidelines on what to do for a work injury or incident at work – manager and employee versions
    – guidelines on what to do for a non-work related injury
    – process map for managing work or non-work related injuries
    – fact sheet for employees regarding the impact workers’ compensation leave has on their salary
    – key contact and further information list
    – Employee Assistance Program (EAP) information.
  • New improved Return to Work Plan template developed to make it easier for staff to follow.

  • 11 stand-up desks installed to promote healthy work habits and encourage staff to incorporate regular postural breaks into their work routine
  • 14 ergonomic workplace assessments conducted in 2015–16, to minimise and prevent injuries related to posture.
Information, education and training

  • 100 per cent staff completion of WHS online learning module
  • WHS committee refresher training held
  • WHS Coordinator attended the ‘Integrated Health – Achieving Physical, Mental and Social Wellbeing in the Workplace’ training
  • Compulsory ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ online learning module created and launched
  • ‘Bullying and Harassment’ training completed by all new employees
  • All first aid officers completed annual first aid and defibrillation refresher training.
Policies and procedures

  • Stage One of the WHS Policy Review Project completed which included a review of current legislation and an update in line with current practice
  • Stage Two, to update and consolidate WHS policies, will take place in 2016–17.
Safety alerts

  • WHS Newsletter developed to communicate safety issues and hazards, safety initiatives and safety updates to all staff
  • WHS Communication Plan developed to help communicate and educate all staff on how to report incidents, WHS roles and responsibilities, and increase safety awareness
  • Practiced our evacuation procedure through a fire drill
  • Safety alerts routinely communicated to staff in the event of an incident.

  • Annual check conducted to ensure all electrical equipment is tagged and a review of all Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) conducted.

  • Four WHS internal inspections conducted
  • New WHS internal inspection guidelines created to ensure Health and Safety Representatives are able to conduct a thorough inspection
  • New WHS internal inspections checklist created.

  • Flu Vaccination Program (four strains) successfully held for a higher number of employees than last year
  • Employee Assistance Program communicated twice to ensure staff are aware of the service provided by our EAP.

We have an engaged and active WHS Committee

In 2015–16, we focused heavily on WHS initiatives to create a proactive safety management system. We strengthened our consultative approach through the Audit Office WHS Committee to proactively meet WHS requirements. The committee is made up of elected staff and nominated management representatives who actively work to identify and resolve safety concerns. The committee reviews and actions the results of internal audits and inspections, identifies WHS hazards and risks, and understands the impact of operational and business requirements on the safety and wellbeing of our staff.

The committee develops a WHS Annual Plan each year to arrange activities and actions that support employee safety across the Audit Office. This year’s plan helped us achieve continuous improvement in the awareness and culture of WHS at head office and at client sites. The plan helps ensure that the Audit Office complies with and actively supports the WHS Management System, and ensures safety is a mandatory consideration during any purchase or when commissioning a service for the Audit Office. Additionally, this plan includes a communication strategy to ensure staff understand how to access information and their responsibilities in respect of WHS, including how to report a hazard or incident and how to manage an injury should it occur. A WHS Newsletter was developed by the committee in 2015–16 to keep employees up-to-date with committee activity and to inform employees of any hazards or incidents they need to be aware of.


Staff satisfaction with WHS

Every year as part of our staff survey, we include questions to measure staff satisfaction with workplace health and safety. We assess this through performance gaps, which is the difference between staff expectation of the 'ideal' and how well we are performing. In 2015–16, the performance gap for the statement 'The Audit Office provides a safe and health work environment' was 9.8, closing the gap from 19.0 in 2014–15. This is pleasing, and reflects the continued focus on WHS within the Audit Office. See here for further information on our staff satisfaction survey.

'The Audit Office provides a safe and healthy work environment' performance gap












We aim to continuously improve WHS initiatives

Injury Management Packs were also developed this year for both managers and employees to ensure everyone knows what they have to do if they are injured at work. The packs also help employees understand their role in a safe and timely return to work.

The WHS Committee reviewed its charter in 2015–16 to ensure it is in line with best practice. New members are currently being elected to serve on the committee. All new members of the committee will undertake a two-day intensive WHS training course. As per previous years, our first aid officers completed first aid and defibrillation refresher training this year.

Additionally this year, there was a strong focus on improving our WHS key performance indicators (KPIs). We used benchmarking information from SafeWork Australia and WorkCover to develop new KPI measures to assist us in continuously improving our measures of WHS performance.

Case Study

Ensuring safety both at the office and out at clients sites

The Audit Office conducted a WHS staff satisfaction survey this year to gauge staff satisfaction levels on the processes, information, representation and consultation of WHS initiatives. Overall, we received an 87 per cent satisfaction score for our approach to managing safety.

As a part of the survey, feedback from our staff suggested we could improve the induction process at client sites. In response, we launched a WHS Client Site Checklist to ensure an induction takes place at each client site against a minimum set of criteria.

In conjunction with the WHS Client Site Checklist, we developed new internal inspection guidelines to ensure that internal inspections are carried out appropriately, resulting in improved inspection processes within the office.

Since the launch of the WHS Client Site Checklist, staff have been enthusiastic in assessing their client sites and returning the checklist, ensuring we promptly address any WHS concerns:

The checklist is a great initiative. It helps to identify any WHS issues within our teams’ work environment when out at clients. The checklist makes me feel more accountable for the health and safety of my team. It also helps speed up the process of dealing with any identified WHS issues.

Renee Meimaroglou, Director, Financial Audit