Work health and safety

Work health and safety performance

AFMA is committed to fostering a proactive and collaborative approach to the management of work health and safety in the workplace.

AFMA’s Work Health and Safety Committee comprises staff and management representatives. The committee focuses on continuous improvement in the management of workplace health and safety issues and provides a consultative mechanism for employees and their representatives to raise and address workplace health and safety concerns.

Health and safety initiatives

AFMA is dedicated to promoting a healthy workplace including mental health and general wellbeing. Health and safety initiatives during 2015–16 included:

  • annual health checks
  • influenza vaccinations
  • early intervention services to prevent or mitigate development of chronic injury or illness
  • regular workplace inspections, risk assessments and monitoring by the Work Health and Safety Committee representatives
  • providing work, health and safety information including policies and factsheets
  • mental health first aid training
  • accidental counsellor training
  • lunch time seminars on health and wellbeing.

AFMA has also introduced a Work Health and Safety and Rehabilitation Management System Commitment Statement. The statement outlines AFMA’s commitment to ensuring compliance with, and implementation of, the rehabilitation management system. The system is the framework of processes and procedures used to ensure that AFMA can achieve its rehabilitation objectives. AFMA’s rehabilitation management system:

  • provides for effective rehabilitation arrangements
  • ensures early intervention best practices
  • provides training and tools to assist managers and employees
  • assists injured employees achieve a durable return to work
  • identifies and provides suitable duties for ill and injured employees
  • promotes continuous improvement
  • promotes communication with employees
  • provides for internal and external accountability
  • puts in place adequate control structures to manage risk
  • recognises compliance obligations.

AFMA’s policies and procedures seek to protect all our employees. Promoting safe practices is a fundamental and inherent part of how we think about our operations and procedures. AFMA has developed and implemented a series of work health and safety fact sheets as part of our long term commitment to improving the physical and mental health of staff. These fact sheets included:

  • work health and safety responsibilities of an employee
  • work health and safety responsibilities of a manager
  • role of a rehabilitation provider
  • having a conversation about health
  • early intervention – helping an employee before a symptom develops into injury
  • improving attendance in the workplace
  • psychological illness
  • identify the early warning signs – physical, psychological and emotional
  • implementing positive changes
  • building resilience
  • my manager is asking questions about health
  • why am I being asked to attend a medical assessment?
  • looking after yourself and carers.

Health and safety outcomes achieved

AFMA continued to provide high quality and timely rehabilitation assistance and support to employees with an injury or illness.

Our commitment to promoting and monitoring a strong health and safety culture within our workforce coupled with our proactive management of injury or illness cases has seen AFMA’s workers compensation premiums for
2015–16 decrease by 31 per cent from the previous financial year.

Accident or dangerous occurrence statistics

Graph 3 compares work health and safety statistics from 2014–15 to 2015–16. A total of 22 incidents were reported in 2015–16, with ‘body stressing’ accounting for the highest proportion (41 per cent) of all reported incidents. The total number of reported incidents has increased slightly compared to those reported in 2014–15.

Graph 3: AFMA work health and safety incident reports comparison

AFMA work health and safety incident

Investigations conducted during the year

Under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 AFMA is required to report ‘notifiable incidents’ to Comcare where the incident results in:

  1. the death of a person;
  2. serious injury or illness; or
  3. a dangerous incident which arises out of the agency conducting its business.

There was one notifiable incident reported to Comcare for 2015–16, relating to an at-sea boarding activity. This incident was subsequently investigated by Comcare along with the owner/operator of the vessel with AFMA being advised by Comcare that the matter was finalised with no further action being required from AFMA.

This incident resulted in an increase in our ‘notifiable incident’ reporting to Comcare from last year where there were no notifiable incidents reported.

There were no notices issued by work health and safety representatives and no compliance actions such as improvement or prohibition notices issued by Comcare.

warp deflectors

Figure 34: Warp deflectors are used to scare birds away from fishing gear – Photo courtesy of Will Hansen, AFMA.