SA • National Strategy General Stakeholder Workshop in Adelaide, SA
Contents Page and Content 4. History of National Strategy 5. Safe Work Australia and the National Strategy 6. National Work Health and Safety Strategy Consultation and Development 7. Welcome 8. Workshop Introduction 9. Workshop participants profile 10. Session Scopes 11. Session 1: Group discussion on work health and safety in the next ten years 14. Session 2: Social/Economic/Emerging Issues in the workforce, business and technology 20. Session 3: Enhancing the capacity of workplaces to respond to disease, injury and psychological injury causing hazards 26. Session 4: Work Health & Safety Systems in safe design, skills and training, safety leadership & organisational culture 32. Closing Remarks 33. Evaluation Comments Disclaimer: The views of participants expressed in this document are not necessarily the views of Safe Work Australia.
History of National Strategy The 10 year National Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Improvement Framework (NIF) was in place in the 1990s providing Australia with a nationally coordinated “roadmap” for improving workplace health and safety. The NIF signalled the commitment to OHS improvement in Australia by the Workplace Relations Ministers’ Council (WRMC), the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission (NOHSC) and NOHSC members. It set out to improve prevention, share knowledge, foster partnerships and collaborations, and compare performance among the key OHS stakeholders in Australia. The National OHS Strategy (National Strategy) was endorsed in May 2002 with the vision of Australian workplaces free from death, injury and disease. This was a tripartite initiative of NOHSC and unanimously endorsed by Federal, State and Territory Ministers. The 10 year timeframe was chosen to span political terms and provide the time to develop evidence based policies and programs. The Workplace Relations Ministers’ noted the successes of the National Road Strategy and its associated targets, and believed the inclusion of targets in a new document would help sharpen the national focus and efforts to improve Australia’s OHS performance. The National Strategy set out the basis for nationally strategic interventions that were intended to foster sustainably safe and healthy work environments, and to reduce significantly the numbers of people hurt or killed at work. Five national priorities and nine areas that required national action were agreed. These collectively aimed to bring about short and long-term improvements in OHS, as well as longer-term cultural change. Reports on progress to achieve the objectives of the National Strategy were provided annually to WRMC. NOHSC provided the original leadership and took carriage of the National Strategy until it was replaced by the Australian Safety and Compensation Council in 2005.
Safe Work Australia and the National Strategy In 2009 Safe Work Australia – an independent Australian Government statutory body – was established. It has primary responsibility for improving work health and safety and workers’ compensation arrangements across Australia. Safe Work Australia represents a genuine partnership between governments, unions and industry working together towards the goal of reducing death, injury and disease in workplaces. The current and future National Strategy are key documents to guide the work of Safe Work Australia and others to achieve this goal. The current historic commitment to work health and safety is illustrated by the joint funding by the Commonwealth, state and territory governments of Safe Work Australia, facilitated through an intergovernmental agreement signed in July 2008. Safe Work Australia members: Back left to right: Mr Mark Goodsell Australian Industry Group; Mr Brian Bradley Western Australia; Ms Michele Patterson South Australia; Ms Michelle Baxter Commonwealth; Mr Rex Hoy Chief Executive Officer; Mr Peter Tighe Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) Front left to right: Ms Anne Bellamy Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Mr John Watson New South Wales; Mr Tom Phillips AM Chair; Mr Michael Borowick (ACTU) Absent: Mr Greg Tweedly Victoria; Mr Barry Leahy Queensland; Ms LieslCentenera ACT; Mr Roy Ormerod Tasmania; and Ms Laurene Hull Northern Territory.
National Work Health and Safety Strategy Consultation and Development Safe Work Australia is now developing a new National Work Health and Safety Strategy to supersede the previous Strategy that expires in June 2012. To inform the development process, workshops are being held in all capital cities and a number of regional centres. These will seek ideas and comments from invited participants including employers, employees, regulators, work health and safety professionals, academics and interested community members. Safe Work Australia will also continue to consult with key stakeholders through a range of other mechanisms including ongoing bilateral consultations and by commissioning topic papers from experts on selected issues. These consultations will allow Safe Work Australia Members to decide on priority areas, targets and the Strategy’s duration. Once a draft National Work Health and Safety Strategy has been agreed by Safe Work Australia Members this will be released for public comment early in 2012. The comments will be analysed and used to further inform the development of the new Strategy.
Welcome to participants • Mr Bryan Russell, Acting Executive Director, SafeWork SA, welcomes participants to the Adelaide workshop.
Workshop Introduction Mr Rex Hoy, the Chief Executive Officer of Safe Work Australia gave an introduction to the workshop. He noted that the National OHS Strategy 2002-2012 provides a basis for developing sustainable, safe and healthy work environments and for reducing the number of people hurt or killed at work. He noted that the current Strategy set very clear and ambitious goals for work heath and safety, and was a key initiative to improve Australia's work health and safety performance from 2002–12. He thanked participants for attending and indicated that the workshops are an important part of the extensive stakeholder consultation process for the development of the New National Strategy. Mr Hoy invited participants to stay engaged and review the development progress reports on the new Strategy on the Safe Work Australia website as they are released. Mr Hoy provided data on the progress and limitations of the current Strategy and lessons learnt. He also noted the public comment period for the new Strategy early next year and welcomed participants’ comments at that time. Mr Hoy’s presentation slides are available on the Safe Work Australia website. Participant comments on the workshops and new National Strategy themes can be sent to email@example.com
Session Scopes To assist participants, all tables displayed scopes outlining what was meant by the key discussion topics. These are noted below: • Social/Economic/Emerging Issues in the Workforce, Business and Technology • The Workforce: Changing worker demographics such as ageing, young workers, casualisation, contract work, shift work, and individual needs such as literacy, disability, mental health • Business: How business is changing to meet emerging challenges and to remain viable and competitive, such as outsourcing, subcontracting, casualisation, etc • Technology: Innovations in the workplace that have already or may have a future impact on Work Health and Safety , such as nanotechnology, green technology, innovations in genetics, electronics and IT systems • Hazards – Enhancing the capacity of workplaces to respond to: • Disease-Causing Hazards - includes noise, hazardous substances, chemicals and asbestos • Injury-Causing Hazards - includes work practices, manual tasks, slips trips and falls • Psychological Injury-Causing Hazards - includes the design, management and organisation of work and work systems to achieve resilient productive and safe psychological working environments. • Work Health and Safety Systems – Challenges and Solutions in Safe Design and Work Systems, Skills and Training, and in Safety Leadership and Organisational Culture • Safe Design and Organisational Systems: the systems and principles that facilitate the elimination of hazards at the design or modification stage of products, buildings, structures and work processes • Skills & Training: the skills and training that employers and workers need to deliver safe workplaces. • Safety Leadership and Organisation Culture: Safety leadership generates organisational cultures that view safety and productivity of equal importance, validated by the attitudes, beliefs, perceptions and values of the workforce
Session One: What will success look like in 10 years? • Reduced injuries, illnesses and fatalities. • Reduced red tape. • An effective, workable legal framework. • Prioritisation of safe design in equipment. • Effective safety leadership. • Improved work health and safety culture, including improved employee accountability, employer awareness and accessibility. • More effective use of existing communication mechanisms and networks. • Nationally agreed lost time injury measurement. • A robust measurement system is in place with multiple data sets and rigorous evaluation. • Corporate social responsibility clearly includes work health and safety. • Policy interventions will be evidence based. • The value of work health and safety is improved and does not diminish over time. • There is an interface between school and work, and health and safety is embedded in the culture. • Work health and safety is as high a priority as road safety. • Small business owners are well informed about their responsibilities and understand work health and safety.
Session One: What will success look like in 10 years? • Professionals in the design areas e.g. architects and planners, incorporate and appreciate work health and safety from the start of the design process and safety is designed into all processes, eliminating hazards before they reach the workplace.
Session One: How do we get there? • Good measurement systems – we need more evidence based indicators that can be systematically applied across industries. • Management training must include a work health and safety component. • Systems and infrastructure must be addressed, not just workplace hazards. • Influence the Australian Securities and Investments Commission to enforce the responsibilities of Directors. • Engage the agricultural industry. • Educate safety professionals/consultants to provide credible practical end effective advice. • Address mental health issues. • There should be no retribution for reporting incidents. • Need to influence the key advisors of small business including accountants, lawyers and community groups. • Focus on improving safety culture: provide education in schools and in the vocational education and training sector - especially to suit the changing needs of different generations. • Raise awareness of what safety leaders are doing and what works. • Provide basic/accessible/useable information and training material and tools through a national education and training framework or similar. • Ensure regulators have both a compliance and advisory focus to support small, medium and large businesses. • Build a better collaborative framework within government to ensure all relevant policy areas and strategies are considered. • All workplace parties need to be involved in work health and safety, we cannot simply rely on the regulators to make change happen. • Build a framework which allows active collaboration within and between industries and with government.
Session Two: Emerging Issues in the WorkforceWhat will success look like in 10 years time? • Individual workers are empowered and have their say about work health and safety in their workplace. • More flexible employment options are provided for the ageing workforce: part-time, flexible hours, or flexible roles. • Transition to retirement is well managed, especially the transfer of knowledge and skill to younger workers. • The language barriers and training needs of a more multicultural workforce with short-term visa workers are addressed. • Health and wellbeing of workers receives more consideration, particularly women’s health. • More emphasis on new employee workhealth and safety induction. • Training is provided on an ongoing basis. • The workplace is safe for people of all sizesand with chronic conditions. • Sham contracting arrangements no longer occur.
Session Two: Emerging Issues in the Workforce How do we get there? • Business needs a better understanding of the potential impact of demographic changes. • Improve communication and consultation, ensure availability of interpreters if there are language issues. • Provide plain English instructions that are easier to understand and translate. • Support gender-specific issues. • Consider the needs of all areas (urban and rural) as well as demographics. • Conduct more specific inductions, training, instigate buddy or mentoring systems, follow-up training, recognise cultural and specific requirements, evaluate effectiveness of training, implement pre-start meetings and toolbox talks. • Promote training and education in youth and VET programs, including training on core elements of work health and safety. • Empower workers to take a leadership role, and if necessary to say no if the work is unsafe.
Session Two: Emerging Issues in BusinessWhat will success look like in 10 years time? • Business models and work health and safety performance are driven by business and the market rather than by the regulator. • Business understands the importance of safety at the local, state and national level and invests appropriate resources – spending on work health and safety is not a ‘grudge buy’. • The focus of key performance indicators has changed from lag to lead indicators. • Red tape is reduced. • Large companies will actively educate smaller companies and subcontractors about safety. • Government will have a larger role influencing business to operate safely. • Accountants, stockbrokers, insurance companies and facilities managers all take safety into consideration in business decisions. • Skills shortages are addressed, including literacy and language barriers of immigrant workers for work health and safety training, as well as the availability of trainers.
Session Two: Emerging Issues in BusinessHow do we get there? • Demonstrate measurable changes to productivity flowing from work health and safety. • Well performing businesses need to be exemplars and operate as mentors for other businesses. • Owners and managers should be required to undertake work health and safety training. • Businesses should resource their organisations to recognise the changing nature of the workforce. • As future workers, children should be educated on work health and safety practices early so that it becomes ingrained. • Government needs to use it’s power as a procurer and require certain safety requirements prior to awarding contracts. • Chairs and Boards should be educated about their work health and safety responsibilities and that health and safety adds corporate value. • Health and safety reporting in annual reports should be consistent across companies and mandatory. • We need to understand what the drivers are for those who make investment decisions, such as investors and stockbrokers, and attempt to influence them.
Session Two: Emerging Issues in TechnologyWhat will success look like in 10 years time? • Messages about work health and safety will be delivered in a flexible way. • Safe technology replaces unsafe technology. • Stricter controls/standards apply to the design, manufacture, or release of emerging technology and work health and safety risks are assessed before they enter workplaces. • Online information is available on new technology that is credible, evidence-based and usable. • We understand technology better and have a greater awareness of its impacts, when it is safe or unsafe, and when it can be used to improve work health and safety in the workplace, for example the use of mobile phones in the workplace. • Equipment in workplaces is updated to help manage work health and safety risks. • Technology ensures that workers and employers are aware of work health and safety issues as soon as they arise through a solutions database or through links to existing bodies.
Session Two: Emerging Issues in TechnologyHow do we get there? • Provide flexible delivery of information through technology. • Undertake and disseminate better and quicker research information, education and advice about technology. • Ensure work health and safety training in tertiary institutions covers new and emerging technologies. • Develop international and national standards and codes of practice to underpin the safety of technology before it gets to workplaces. • Automate or provide technological replacements for people in high risk areas of work. • Design initiatives for new technology at work and design out risks before they get to workplaces. • Ensure we are aware of new hazards in emerging technologies.
Session Three: Responding to Disease-CausingHazards – What will success look like in 10 years time? • A holistic approach across a whole range of disease causing hazards similar to the national asbestos management plan is in place. • Available technology has raised awareness among the community of hazards. • Reduction in disease hazards and injury causing hazards. • There is widespread recognition that rural disease-causing hazards include those of a zoonotic nature (pathogens that are transmissible from animals to humans), and that they change depending on environmental variations and climatic conditions. • Risk control is less reactive, moreproactive, and there are better processes for identifying and controlling risks. • More information and education on bothphysical and psychological hazards are available. • Agencies and networks provide rapidcommunication on emerging hazards across industries. • Hazardous substances and chemicals areeffectively managed.
Session Three: Responding to Disease-Causing Hazards – How do we get there? • Enhance the capacity of workplaces to respond by: • developing phone apps to raise awareness of hazards • providing education about the life cycle of hazardous substances • improving research and data collections, to provide information to workers that is understandable and usable • researching and identifying effective substitution of hazardous substances that work • examining other models of compensation such as New Zealand’s • updating exposure standards • providing more accurate and current statistics on exposure and exposure outcomes • accessing and coordinating evidence based research, and • providing more funding for surveillance.
Session Three: Responding to Injury-Causing Hazards What will success look like in 10 years time? • Reduction in musculoskeletal disorders. • Workplaces will be designed to make sure the environment is safe. • High incident and high consequence hazards like manual handling, electrical, falls from heights, noise, radiation, high risk plant and equipment are identified and addressed. • Improved risk identification. • Controls are appropriate to the risk. • More time is spent on implementation than documentation but all issues will be recorded and monitored. • Old plant and equipment is eliminated or made less strenuous to use. • Repetitive tasks are mechanised. • Well being programs are tailored to address relevant hazards.
Session Three: Responding to Injury-Causing Hazards How do we get there? Enhance the capacity of workplaces to respond by: • educating workers with an emphasis on continuous improvement, not just training • providing evidence-based data and statistics to assist in the setting and measuring of targets • assisting organisations to share information between industry groups • establishing appropriate engagement and consultation for their employees • developing strong infrastructure around innovation in work health and safety • ensuring appropriate and credible procedures are in place (e.g. JSA or risk assessment) • ensuring appropriate consideration is given to isolated workers • ensuring appropriate controls are in place • ensuring workplaces are appropriately designed, and • adequately researching culture and its links to behaviour.
Session Three: Responding to Psychological Injury- Causing Hazards ̶ What will success look like in 10 years time? • Workplaces built on respect and transparency. • The use of evidence based data that reflects the reality and that relies on lead indicators. • Reduced psychological injuries. • Better understanding of mental health. • Improved reporting systems, including the provision of ‘sensitive’ alternatives. • Improved diagnosis and classification of psychological injury. • Improved leadership where psychological injury causing hazards are recognised and dealt with early and appropriately. • Workplaces where workloads are managed appropriately. • Improved return to work procedures. • Workplaces that appreciate that bullying is not the only psychological injury-causing hazard.
Session Three: Responding to Psychological Injury-Causing Hazards – How do we get there? Enhance the capacity of workplaces to respond by: • making CEOs responsible and including this in their performance agreements • recognising mental illness and removing stigma • raising awareness through research, communication and education • ensuring that worker representation and engagement occurs • ensuring that conversations about psychological health issues are held with influencers, and not left to the worker to instigate • training and supporting managers to improve their ‘people’ skills • identifying ‘most-at-risk’ jobs/industries • developing a code at a national level • instigating a risk management framework to identify the people most at risk and the most hazardous tasks • improving monitoring • finding a simple definition of what is deemed a psychological injury, one that people can relate to • dealing with people who are bullies, particularly those in management positions, and • Governments recognising their position of influence and as a role model.
Session Four: Safe Design & Work SystemsWhat will success look like in 10 years time? • Plant and equipment that is coming to Australia from offshore is safe. • Hazard identification is completed before items are designed. • Architects take their duty of care seriously and consult with stakeholders on the work health and safety implications of their designs throughout the building process. • Work health and safety is considered at all stages of the supply chain and the product lifecycle. • Architects and designers consult with end users on work health and safety to ensure it is embedded into the design’s functionality. • Risk assessments occur on change of work systems to ensure due diligence and not just tweaking. • Work health and safety is taken seriously. • Design principles take into account anthropometry. • Australian standards or equivalent are updated based on timely anthropometric data.
Session Four: Safe Design & Work SystemsHow do we get there? • Put in place a system of work health and safety star ratings on products. • Instigate third party certification on imported products where the product is checked and rejected if it is not safe. • Make construction design management regulations apply to architects as well as builders. • Embed more info/research/education and consultation into design practice, to ensure that designers recognise their duties and have access to necessary information. • Ensure that end users in workplaces understand the conditions of use. • Ensure that work health and safety is a key item that is included at every stage of the design process. • Provide work health and safety training for architects and designers. • Put in place a mechanism to ensure that if the designer does not meet required standards then the supplier must be accountable.
Session Four: Skills & Training What will success look like in 10 years time? • A well trained and skilled workforce. • Continual learning both on and off the job. • National competency-based training, learning and reinforcing skills learnt. • Training is affordable, effective and relevant. • Training takes into account language and cultural differences. • Training is open to all who need it, and training plans include succession planning and other training requirement into the future. • Employers commit resources for training. • Health and safety representatives are empowered, are recognised financially and afforded official protection. • Effective trainers/consultants are assessed as competent in delivery training and deliver up-to-date information. • Training is targeted to the recipient and is risk-based. • A system is in place that provides evidence of having done training that is effective, and recognised widely.
Session Four: Skills & Training - How do we get there? • Establish a national training body to ensure work health and safety training needs are met at a national level. • Ensure training commences while potential workers are still at school from kindergarten, through high school, under-graduate courses, and vocational education training. • Develop industry supported and approved curriculums. • Develop a national training and skills strategy. • Source training from the most effective sources either on-line or face to face. • Consider financial support or grants to meet essential training needs, as well as compliance support to ensure training is effective. • Recognise that training increases the value of employees to the organisation and for themselves, while assessing the effectiveness of training and the cost of ineffective training. • Ensure that migrant workers are informed, aware and trained in their work health and safety obligations before arriving in Australia. • Programs need to be put in place which recognise the training • needs for each individual worker starting from induction. • Encourage employers to develop a training matrix.
Session Four: Safety Leadership and Organisational Culture – What will success look like in 10 years time? • Leadership is encouraged at all levels of the organisation. • Safety is discussed by Boards. • Key Performance Indicators need to have a strong influence on safety. • Corporate Social Responsibility will be a focus. • All workplace parties (unions, employers, workers, associations) collaborate on work health and safety. • Leaders provide resources, people, systems and finances to support work health and safety. • Organisational systems are integrated: quality,manufacturing, safety, environment and health. • Leadership combines the systems and integrates risk management into them. • The drivers for good health and safety are well understood. • It is recognised that being unsafe costs money, and there is better understanding of the costsand impact of poor work health and safety. • Good safety management is an indicator of good investment, and information on the stock market highlights well performing companies in terms of work health and safety and injury management.
Session Four: Safety Leadership & Organisational Culture ̶ How do we get there? • Research the barriers which are preventing safety from being discussed at the top table. • Safety is not free, we need to engage with accountants to determine mechanisms for getting the commercial balance right. • Do not link reported safety outcomes to performance and pay – it can lead to under-reporting. • Identify lead indicators . • Start quantifying the social costs of injury. • Put in place mechanisms to support leadership and engagement by all. • Develop metrics for work health and safety performance and risk management that can be and are used by CEOs. • Environmental programs must include a costing for work health and safety. • Share information and lessons learned from leading organisations. • Educate and share knowledge within industries and across industries, e.g. share manual handling techniques from hospitals with manufacturing industries.
Closing Reflections from the Chief Executive Officer Rex Hoy thanked Bryan Russell, A/g Executive Director, SafeWork SA, for opening the workshop; the facilitator David Caple, and all the workshop participants for their attendance and contribution, particularly those participants representing workers. Rex felt from his perspective that we had the right mix of people in the room. He outlined how the Adelaide workshop fits into the overall development of the new National Work Health and Safety Strategy. Rex commented on the need for a rigorous evaluation plan for the new National Strategy that will provide good tools to measure the strategy’s progress and outcomes. He also highlighted that the new strategy should acknowledge the roles various stakeholders will be throughout the life of the strategy. Rex noted that this was a passionate group and that while the discussions highlighted similar matters to other workshops about where we want to be in 10 years time, there were differences on how to actually get there. Some of the themes in common with the other workshops were cultural issues, leadership, wellbeing and education in schools and the workforce. The education focus of the discussion was much stronger and more passionate that at other workshops. Rex noted that this is the first time he has heard such a sophisticated discussion of the concept and utility of collaboration, and this workshop benefitted from the quality of that discussion. Rex noted the interesting discussion about the concept of culture and how or indeed whether it is possible to change culture or should the focus be on behavior. He noted the suggestions regarding engagement with those who influence business such as accountants and the need for a framework to guide our collective work in this area. Rex appreciated the useful discussions about the link between safety, environment and health and Corporate Social Responsibility and also the need for more relevant and effective competency-based training. He also highlighted the quality of the discussions on technology as the most impressive he has seen at any workshop. There were interesting discussion on defining psychological issues, on getting a better understanding of exposure outcomes, and on identifying the true costs of diseases. He emphasised that these were all areas where we should ask how much is work-related and how much is really part of public health. He noted that one of the big challenges for Safe Work Australia is getting more up-to-date data. Safe Work Australia obtains data through various sources and it is a real challenge to release up-to-date data. He agreed with the comments on the need for work health and safety information in annual reporting. Rex went on to comment that the matters that had been chosen for exploration were just some of the many that are under active consideration by Safe Work Australia members as they develop the new National Strategy. He closed the workshop by welcoming participants’ ongoing engagement with the development of the new Strategy and said that if they would like to provide further comments and ideas these may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Evaluation Outcomes Overall, the feedback from the National Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2022 workshop which was held in Adelaide on 20 July was very positive. Both quantitative and qualitative results were collected from 29 evaluation sheets, which reported 100% satisfaction for the opportunity to contribute. There was 97% satisfaction with the facilitators, the format of the day and the length of the workshop, while the room set up and the location rated between 59-72% levels of satisfaction. There was 93% satisfaction with the food. Some found the food excellent, the facilitator excellent, while the number of car parks and the size of the room were found to be below the expected level. The ample opportunity for input was commented on favourably and the format led to good input and time was long enough for discussions but short enough to prompt a task focus. A number of participants found the workshop to be a great networking opportunity. The opportunity to provide feedback and input at this critical stage of developing the new National Work Health and Safety Strategy was appreciated, and the fact that all input was respectfully received and many times validated by the presenters offered the opportunity to get key massages across for uptake into the strategy and it was great to hear the experience of all at the table and not just the loudest in the room. Many helpful suggestions were made on how to improve the quality of discussion, including as this was the 6th workshop, it may have helped to have the summaries/issues from these previous workshops. It may have raised other issues to discuss further to providing case studies to contextualise the ideas. While most people were satisfied with the pace of the workshop, some requested more time for each topic to discuss and debate proposals. However, others found it hard to stay focussed for the whole length, and as there was 97% satisfaction with the length of the workshop, this was taken as a positive measure of participant enthusiasm overall. All of the input has been noted, and is being integrated into future workshops and into planning the new Work Health and Safety Strategy to make improvements. Text in italics indicates direct quotes from responders