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Work health and safety

Executive commitment, work health and safety structure and oversight

The MDBA comprises two 'persons conducting a business or undertaking' under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, the six member Authority and the MDBA. Both the Authority and the MDBA have responsibilities under the Work Health and Safety Act for the safety of their workers and workplaces. All MDBA's senior executive service employees are officers under the Work Health and Safety Act and have been provided with information and training to assist them in carrying out their responsibilities.

Executive commitment to the maintenance of safe and healthy MDBA workplaces is set out in the MDBA health and safety management arrangements. The commitment of all parties to workplace safety is also set out in the MDBA Enterprise Agreement 2011–14. Management of work health and safety arrangements is overseen by the MDBA Health and Safety Committee.

Effective communication and consultation

Communication and consultation with MDBA staff continued during 2014–15 through:

  • quarterly meetings of the Health and Safety Committee
  • notices on the daily updates on the intranet, email, posters and signage
  • mandatory work health and safety induction and training
  • consultation with health and safety representatives
  • procedures to consult with 'persons conducting a business or undertaking' that share responsibilities for MDBA workers and worksites.

Initiatives ensuring workers' health and safety

Initiatives to ensure workers' health and safety have continued to be put in place during 2014–15. These include:

  • regular workplace inspections, risk assessments and monitoring by the Health and Safety Committee
  • offering flu vaccinations to all employees
  • providing an annual health and wellbeing allowance and an annual health and wellbeing week
  • providing health and safety information and policies
  • providing workstation assessments by qualified occupational therapists and providing ergonomically suitable equipment recommended as part of these assessments
  • providing early intervention services to prevent or mitigate development of chronic injury or illness
  • maintaining and developing a range of policies to encourage and maintain health and safety of MDBA workers and workplaces
  • providing training.

In 2014–15 MDBA provided an office walk-around by occupational therapists to assist staff to understand and ensure correct set up of workstations. This complemented a broad program of trained MDBA staff providing initial advice and assistance. Training was provided to assist staff in developing awareness in mental health, workplace bullying and conflict resolution as well as ergonomic awareness.

Downtown Deniliquin
Downtown Deniliquin (photo by Brayden Dykes, MDBA)

Towns in the Basin we come from

MDBA staff come from around the Basin, around Australia and around the world. We come from cities and towns across the Murray–Darling Basin including: Albury, Armidale, Barham, Bigga, Coonamble, Deniliquin, Canberra, Cooma, Cowra, Crookwell, Finley, Gerogery West, Hanwood, Leeton, Mildura, Miles, Montieth, Mount Beauty, Nyngan, Orange, Renmark, Swan Hill, Toowoomba, Tumut, Wagga Wagga, Wakool, Walwa, Wangaratta, Whorouly South, Wodonga and Yerong Creek.

Health and safety outcomes achieved as a result of initiatives

All issues identified through hazard and incident reports and regular workplace inspections were investigated and action taken. The Health and Safety Committee monitors incidents as well as the use of harassment contact officers and the Employee Assistant Program.

Work health and safety statistics comparison

Table 3.3 compares work health and safety statistics from 2010–11 to 2014–15. Lost time caused by incident increased to 10 days in 2014–15 due to a crane accident on one of the construction sites for the Environmental Works and Measures Program. No one was injured.

Comcare investigations conducted or notices issued

Comcare did not conduct any investigations or issue any notices to the MDBA under the Work Health and Safety Act during 2014–15.

The MDBA participated in an audit of the rehabilitation management system and received a conformance rating of 88%. We developed an action plan to address all areas of non-conformance and the 'Certificate of compliance with the guidelines for rehabilitation authorities 2012' was signed.

Comcare premiums

The agency premium rate for each employer provides an indication of the employer's effectiveness in preventing injury or illness and in helping its employees return to work quickly and safely after a work-related injury or illness. The overall scheme premium rate increased from 1.65% in 2013–14 to 1.93% in 2014–15.

Our MDBA premium rate since 2011–12 has increased more rapidly than the average premium rate. Our efforts over the last few years on implementing early intervention strategies are achieving results with our premium increases now slowed to a level below the increases shown by other agencies, see Table 3.5 and Figure 3.4.

The initial premium provided by Comcare was 2.88% for 2014–15. The premium was revised by Comcare to 3.35%.

Table 3.4 Work health and safety statistics

2010–11

2011–12

2012–13

2013–14

2014–15

Internal reports on workplace hazards and incidents

24

59

50

70

44

Lost time caused by incident and injury not reported to Comcare (staff days)

10.5

2

8

26.3

4.5

Lost time caused by incident and injury reported to Comcare (staff days)

4

17

0

0

10

Incidents reported to Comcare

2

5

0

0

1

Table 3.5 Comparison between Comcare claims and premiums

2011–12

2012–13

2013–14

2014–15

Number of claims

5

4

4

1

Total cost of claims ($)

124,407

105,682

61,754

11,625

Average cost of claims ($)

24,882

26,421

10,292

11,625

Claim frequency per $1 million payroll

0.29

0.21

0.16

0.12

Comcare premium ($)

408,828

628,621

1,094,118

1,080,859

Premium percent of payroll

1.60

2.29

2.74

2.88

Premium rates for all agencies combined

1.41

1.77

1.81

2.12

Graph showing MDBA compensation premium rate was lower than other agencies in 2010–11 but was more than other agencies from 2011 to 2015, but showed a similar trend

Figure 3.4 MDBA compensation premium rate compared to premium rates for all other agencies combined

Accident and dangerous occurrence statistics

Figure 3.5 shows the number of accidents and dangerous incidents notified from 2010–11 to 2014–15. The one dangerous occurrence in 2014–15 was a crane accident on one of the construction sites for the Environmental Works and Measures Program.

Graph showing that in 2010–11 there were just over 1 incidents reported of serious personal injury, in 2011–12 there were 5, there were no reports in 2012 to 2014, in 2014–15 there was 1 report of a dangerous occurrence

Figure 3.5 MDBA incidents notified from 2010–11 to 2014–15 (no deaths or incapacity > 30 working days were recorded)

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Updated: 15 Jan 2016