AFMA’s Work Health and Safety Committee is a joint management and staff committee established in accordance with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. The committee is primarily responsible for developing, implementing, reviewing and updating policies and procedures. The committee also reviews reported incidents and subsequent implementation of preventative measures. It is also responsible for improving the cooperation between AFMA and its staff to promote a positive work, health and safety work environment and address any issues proactively. The committee met four times during 2016–17.
During the reporting period the committee endorsed a number of work, health and safety policies including First Aid Management at AFMA policy. This document was implemented in May 2017 and provides staff with key information regarding the management and provision of first aid within AFMA.
The committee also supported the implementation of the AFMA Observer Workplace Health Policy and Safety Risk Assessment Guidelines. This document provides AFMA observers with a summary of tools and resources to ensure they carry out their duties safely.
AFMA continued to recognise the importance for a heathy workplace including mental health and general wellbeing. The 2016–17 health and wellbeing program offered staff specific initiatives including onsite health checks and influenza vaccinations. The program also included various lunch time seminars and workshops on topics such as mental health awareness, breast cancer awareness, community gardens, healthy heart, being sun smart and a healthy eating seminar. In addition, a presentation was delivered by Heads Up, a Beyond Blue initiative, which focused on creating mentally healthy workplaces by offering free tools and resources for staff.
In supporting AFMA’s approach to managing mental health in the workplace, Mental Health First Aid training was offered to all staff. The initial focus has been for all Executive Level employees to complete this training to ensure they are equipped with the necessary tools to be able to support someone within their team who may have a mental health issue and to reduce the stigma attached to mental illnesses. This training will be expanded in 2017–18 to include all AFMA staff.
All new starters to AFMA are provided with an assessment of their workstation as part of their new starter induction. The Workplace Group-Human Resources Section undertook initial workstation assessments for all new starters and other staff as requested. Twenty-six workstation assessments were conducted in 2016–17 by an external assessor resulting in a variety of measures being implemented, including providing specialised equipment for staff.
In addition to conducting workstation assessments, AFMA installed sit-stand workstations across all AFMA offices which can be used by all staff on a booking basis. There is a growing body of evidence that high levels of sedentary behaviour and sitting, in particular, are emerging risk factors for chronic disease and it is anticipated that the installation of these workstations will avoid periods of prolonged periods of sitting and related injuries.
In 2016–17 AFMA recorded 14 minor incidents relating to accidents or near-misses (see Figure 6). This rate is down from 17 in 2015–16. There was only one personal injury resulting in two or more week’s absence.
Figure 6: AFMA work health and safety incident reports comparison
* Other includes office based employees working in the field or defensive tactics training
In accordance with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, AFMA is required to report ‘notifiable incidents’ which include the death of a person, serious injury or illness, or a dangerous incident which arises out of AFMA conducting its business. In 2016–17 there were four incidents that were required to be notified to Comcare as they fell within the definition of a Dangerous Occurrence under the Work Health and Safety legislation.
There were no notices issued in relation to these incidents and no prohibition notices issued.