Page 4656 - Week 12 - Thursday, 1 November 2018

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As part of Work Safety Month, WorkSafe ACT held and attended a number of workshops, events and seminars in relation to a broad range of issues currently facing Canberra’s workplaces. The workshops focused on issues such as occupational cancers, mental health and safe work method statements, to name a few, with stakeholders such as the ACT Cancer Council and beyondblue.

The Work Safety Commissioner and I also attended important events such as the launch of Airport Safety Week and the ACT New South Wales cross-border breakfast, both highlighting the importance of collaboration in safety: collaboration across the varied roles at Canberra Airport from check-in to baggage handling through to the boardroom; and collaboration across the border, including between the ACT and New South Wales regulators.

As I said, WorkSafe ACT also held a number of safe work method statement—SWMS—seminars over safe work month and will be continuing to run them into the future, with hundreds of employees and employers coming along to each seminar to learn about how to minimise or eliminate risks to health and safety for workers conducting high-risk work.

Everyone plays an important role in workplace safety. We ask that everyone take a moment to ensure that they do their part for workplace safety not only during Work Safety Month but every day of the year.

MR PETTERSSON: Minister, how do WorkSafe ACT’s activities in Work Safety Month reflect the national work health and safety strategy?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mr Pettersson for the supplementary question. The national work health and safety strategy’s vision is of healthy, safe and productive working lives. It is underpinned by two key principles: that all workers, regardless of their occupation or how they are engaged, have the right to a healthy and safe working environment; and that well-designed healthy and safe work will allow workers in Australia to have more productive working lives. The strategy sets three national targets to be achieved from 2012 to 2022: a reduction in the number of worker fatalities due to injury of at least 20 per cent; a reduction in the incidence rate of claims resulting in one or more weeks off work of at least 30 per cent; and a reduction in the incidence rate of claims for musculoskeletal disorders resulting in one or more weeks off work of at least 30 per cent.

As I mentioned in my previous answer, WorkSafe ACT has been working with a broad of range workers to ensure that everyone has the right to a healthy and safe working environment, including within the retail sector in the lead-up to Christmas. I am pleased to advise the Assembly that in 2016-17 the ACT private sector lost-time injury rate remained at its lowest recorded level for the second year in a row. An independent actuarial review of the territory’s workers compensation scheme found that there were 0.24 lost-time injuries for each million dollars of wages paid. This is a reduction of more than 20 per cent since 2010-11. But there is always more to be done. More recent data from 2017-18 shows that the number of lost-time work related injuries reduced by a further six per cent. We will continue to work towards our goal of ensuring that every worker goes home safely at the end of every day and every shift.

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