The first year

It’s been a year since the Work Health and Safety Roadmap was launched by SafeWork NSW.  There’s been a lot of great work done in all three priority areas of the Roadmap, and the vision - “Healthy, safe and productive working lives’ – is well and truly in our sights.

Here is a snapshot of our most recent achievements:

Action Area I: Embed the Health and Safety Landscape in NSW workplaces

  • SafeWork NSW continues to support NSW businesses to embed the health and safety landscape by promoting and delivering the Safety Promise project. 63 businesses have signed up to show their commitment to embedding a new health and safety culture within their workplace.
  • SafeWork’s very first smart phone app ‘SAFE App’ is now available to download for Android or Apple devices. Users can utilise the free app to create a safety team, raise safety issues, discuss problems and resolve issues along with attaching photos. The app can be downloaded here
  • The Influencing Supply Chains project has commenced. We are undertaking a review of activities undertaken by other jurisdictions to help us understand issues and any areas of influence. With a strong focus on improved information throughout the supply chain and greater WHS focus embedded within tertiary studies this project aims to build capability critical to NSW workplaces.
  • The Return to Work (RTW) project has focused on utilising data to identify claims with a high risk of a poor RTW outcome. This has led to engagement activities to ascertain if the correct RTW program is in place and if any further guidance or assistance is required.
  • SafeWork NSW and the Port Macquarie Business Chamber signed off on the official sponsorship and launch of the 2017 Business Excellence Awards. A key feature of the sponsorship will be the promotion of the WHS Roadmap 2022, and embedding the WHS Landscape in businesses across the Mid North Coast.
  • Work is underway for the filming of a series of best practice consultation videos.  These will be valuable resource for employers and workers in NSW to support effective consultation. There will be a video and a case study for each industry identified in the Roadmap as a hotspot industry, these include: Health Care, Agriculture, Transport, Construction, Manufacturing and the Government Sector.

What’s next?

  • The Safety Promise project will ramp up its operations and promotional tools in anticipation of “Safe Work Month.”
  • A celebration of the achievements of the 2016/17 Mentor Program will be held in August.
  • Stakeholder consultation for the Supply Chain project will commence in August 2017.
  • Planning is well underway for a Consultation@Work conference to be held in October 2017.

Action Area 2: Prioritise sectors, harms, workers and workplaces

High risk sectors:

  • The Government WHS Sector Plan has been drafted and consultation undertaken with representatives from Unions and Government representatives.
  • Consultation for the development of the Agriculture WHS Sector Plan has been held and drafting of the plan is in progress.
  • Consultation across the Construction sector has commenced with over 10 consultation sessions underway. The sessions focus on:
    • what the critical risks are in the construction sector
    • the ways of embedding Work Health & Safety in the construction landscape
    • our regulatory approach – what stakeholders think it should look like.
  • The Manufacturing, Transport & Health Care & Social Assistance WHS Sector Plans are in the planning and data analysis phase.
  • SafeWork NSW has launched a new TradieSafe project in an effort to reduce injuries in the Hunter region’s residential construction industry. Over the next 12 months, SafeWork NSW inspectors will visit construction sites across the region to help tradespersons improve work health and safety in their businesses. TradieSafe will be focusing on the following workplace safety risks during visits:
    • falls from heights
    • house keeping
    • personal protective equipment
    • site security.

High impact harms:

  • In June we held a very successful stakeholder forum for the Hazardous Chemicals Materials Exposure Baseline project. 33 stakeholders from a range of industries provided feedback about the proposed ‘top 10’ chemicals of concern from a list of over 40,000 chemicals available in Australia.
  • An interim 2017-18 NSW Statewide Asbestos Plan is being finalised.
  • The Get Healthy@Work team are continuing to promote the free confidential “Brief Health Checks” at business breakfasts. The checks aim to help improve the health of working adults by providing workplaces with tools, resources and support to develop simple yet effective workplace health programs.
  • A study on the efficacy of quad bike-specific operator protective devices (OPDs) and helmets has been released. We commissioned the University of NSW to undertake this important piece of research, the largest of its kind looking at the real-world experience of OPDs and helmets in quad bikes.  The study indicates that OPDs protect against serious chest injuries in the event of a rollover and also found that they did not contribute to any serious injuries or deaths. The findings also show that quad bike specific helmets reduce the risk of head injuries by half. You can read the study here.
  • Two stakeholder consultation sessions were held in May about the development of a Musculoskeletal Disorders Strategy. A draft strategy is almost complete.

High risk workplaces:

  • We are developing methods to identify high risk workplaces through a range of different means and have been working on an intensive engagement approach that can be consistently applied to secure improved health and safety in identified workplaces.

At risk workers:

  • Consultation with at risk worker groups, representatives and key employer groups is well underway.

What’s next?

  • The 2017/18 High Consequence, Low Frequency program will commence. Over 30 projects will be implemented that focus on issues such as construction, chemicals, explosives, testing and training and will play a major role in addressing risks and harms.
  • The Agriculture WHS Sector Plan is set to be launched on the 22 August 2017 at the Agquip field days.
  • Establish the baseline for the At Risk Worker strategy.

Action Area 3: Build exemplary regulatory services

Crucial to support the delivery of the first two action areas, we have also:

  • Published customer service standards for Enforceable Undertakings, Raising a WHS Concern, Notifying a WHS Incident, as well as an Investigation Factsheet, which will provide clarity to employees and customers about service level expectations.
  • In the three month period March to May 2017 we have completed 387 visits to businesses with other regulators as part of the Commerce Regulation Program. The specific projects were: Regional & Remote Service Stations, Tree Work, Waste Recycling and Construction in the Metropolitan region.
  • Completed digitalising the small business rebate form. This led to a 25% process improvement delivered and a 31% increase in customer uptake as a result. Next steps include building an online tracker for customers to self-monitor their application. This work will be reusable across any rebate initiative.
  • Commenced the establishment of the Centre for WHS with emphasis on collaborative research analytics and prevention.
  • Commenced co-operative regulatory arrangements with the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal, leading to stream-lined reporting for electricity network suppliers and enhanced response capabilities for both regulators.
  • Finalised eight Enforceable Undertakings resulting in over $2.2mill of WHS benefits flowing to NSW businesses and the community. Commenced a financial support scheme to assist injured parties or family members to attend court for a sentence hearing or to provide a victim’s impact statement.
  • Commenced a review of health and safety representative training.
  • Rollout of the SaFE Mobility App for use by inspectors, commenced in June 2017. The SaFE Mobility App provides a modern customer service delivery solution, through the use of a tablet. We aim to provide more and better quality services anytime anywhere to businesses, concerned citizens and workers through a secure two-way communication that supports inspectors in the field.
  • The Human Centred Design project aims to improve the safety culture of the farming community, particularly regarding quad bike use on farms. SafeWork NSW, the NSW Office of the Small Business Commissioner and the Department of Primary Industries are working collaboratively and applying design thinking on this project. An initial workshop has been held and next steps include inviting farmers to be involved in this work.

What’s next?

  • Release the SafeWork NSW Strategic Business Plan 2017-18
  • Implement the Roadmap Evaluation Framework.

We will continue to update you on our progress. In the meantime I encourage everyone to reflect on how the work YOU are doing contributes to the implementation of the WHS Roadmap NSW 2022.

Peter Dunphy
Executive Director

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