Health and safety

At CSIRO we aspire to Zero Harm and are committed to the safety, health and wellbeing of our people, partners, customers and the environment.

Figure 3.1: CSIRO lost time injury frequency rate.

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In 2014–15, 34 staff suffered an injury serious enough to prevent them from coming to work, four fewer than in 2013–14. These injuries occurred at a rate of 3.6 per million hours worked, equal to the lost time injury frequency rate of 2013–14. This equivalent frequency rate is due to the decrease in staff numbers that occurred during the year (an overall drop of 9 per cent in hours worked).

Musculoskeletal disorders continue to remain the most frequent cause of injury to our people. Although not life-threatening, these injuries are always painful and often debilitating. In 2014–15, 129 of our staff experienced an injury which required time off work or medical treatment, and 60 percent of these were musculoskeletal.

Figure 3.2: CSIRO recordable injury frequency rate.

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The Wellnomics computer work-pace and risk management software installed on all Windows computers last year has been rolled out to other users and the data is helping people to change their computer habits, thus reducing the risks and a 17 per cent drop in the occurrence of these injuries.

We are also focused on preventing injuries that are low frequency, but have the potential to cause death or permanent disability. These high-potential incidents are typically reportable
to Comcare.

Figure 3.3: Comcare notifiable incidents.1

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In 2014–15 there were 11 reportable incidents, down from 13 in 2013–14 (15 per cent reduction). All of these incidents have been fully investigated by CSIRO and preventative measures are being implemented. Comcare did not issue CSIRO any improvement notices under Section 19 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act).

In 2014–15 there were two radiation incidents that were reportable to the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA). These incidents have been fully investigated by CSIRO. ARPANSA have not yet notified CSIRO of any decision relating to how these incidents will be treated by the regulator.

HSE Strategy

In 2014–15 key initiatives in the CSIRO 2011–15 Health Safety and Environment (HSE) Strategy were progressed with a major focus on fatality risk prevention, with programs implemented to reduce the risks associated with all-terrain vehicles, forklifts, electrical work and pressure vessels. CSIRO has reduced the number of all-terrain vehicles from 35 to three, with controls and training in place for the remaining vehicles. A trial is being completed at the Pullenvale site with respect to forklift controls, and a cohort of electrical engineers from across CSIRO has finalised the procedures and training required with respect to electrical safety.

Key elements of the CSIRO Wellbeing at Work Strategy have been rolled out with psychosocial risk assessments conducted across CSIRO during the organisational restructure.

Mental health awareness training has been provided across the organisation.

The focus on musculoskeletal injuries has continued, with the development of an online training module and the further rollout of components of the Wellnomics Risk Manager program.

Contractor HSE Management training has been delivered to assist staff to identify and manage risks arising from work by contractors.

The HSE team have also been working to develop the 2015–2020 HSE plan, which builds on the 2011–2015 HSE Strategy and clearly supports the overarching CSIRO Strategy. The focus in the next 12 months will be primarily on fatality prevention, musculoskeletal disorders and the continued development of a culture in which all staff recognise health, safety and environmental risks, and the ongoing management of these risks becomes entrenched in the way we approach our work and do business.

  1. The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 came into effect on 1 January 2012, changing the criteria that determine which incidents must be notified to Comcare. This change accounts for much of the steep decline in notifiable incidents between 2011–12 and 2012–13.

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