The agency’s performance is measured in accordance with the Act—functions (s.6), Portfolio Budget Statement (PBS) 2016–17, the Safe Work Australia Corporate Plan 2016–2020 (corporate plan) and the Safe Work Australia Operational Plan 2016–17 (operational plan).
Specific achievements are outlined in Part 4 - Our Achievements.
Portfolio Budget Statement
The PBS 2016–17, outlines a single program structure with the outcome statement:
Healthier, safer and more productive workplaces through improvements to Australian WHS and workers’ compensation arrangements.
Performance against the outcome is measured by eight strategies and two performance indicators.
The eight strategies are:
- Support the implementation of the Australian Strategy.
- Promote community awareness and knowledge of WHS and workers’ compensation.
- Support evidence-informed policy, programs and practice through national WHS and workers’ compensation data, research and evaluation programs.
- Improve and reform WHS laws in Australian to provide a consistent, equitable and high level of protection to all workers, while ensuring practicability for small business and individual workers.
- Promote consistent approaches and improved knowledge, skills and capabilities for managing health and safety hazards and risks.
- Identify opportunities to improve workers’ compensation arrangements.
- Develop nationally consistent explosives regulations.
- Cooperate and share information, expertise and experience with international organisations.
The following performance indicators measure the agency’s progress in achieving its outcome:
- 80% of Members agree the agency is achieving the deliverables of its operational plan.
- By 2022:
- reduce workplace fatalities due to injury by 20 per cent or more
- reduce the incidence rate of serious workers’ compensation claims by 30 per cent or more, and
- reduce the incidence rate of serious workers’ compensation claims for musculoskeletal claims by 30 per cent or more.
Each year, Safe Work Australia is required by the Act to prepare a corporate plan that promotes its strategic vision and goals over the coming four years. The corporate plan sets out eight strategies to achieve the outcome statement listed in the PBS within those four years. The corporate plan is available on the Safe Work Australia website and in Part 7 - Appendix 1.
Safe Work Australia is required to have an annual operational plan as outlined in Part 4 of the Act. The operational plan sets out the activities the agency will undertake to achieve the outcomes for the year. The operational plan is available on the Safe Work Australia website and in Part 7 - Appendix 2.
Annual performance statement
I, Michelle Baxter, as the accountable authority of Safe Work Australia, present the agency’s 2016–17 annual performance statement, as required under paragraph 39(1)(a) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) and the Safe Work Australia Act 2008 (the Act).
In my opinion, the annual performance statement is based on properly maintained records, accurately reflects the performance of the entity and complies with subsection 39(2) of the PGPA Act.
Michelle Baxter, Chief Executive Officer, 22 September 2017.
Safe Work Australia has an important national role to achieve significant and continual reductions in the incidence of work-related death, injury and illness and to improve outcomes for injured workers and their employers.
To meet its objectives Safe Work Australia works collaboratively with Commonwealth, state and territory governments, industry and employee associations and the community to achieve healthy, safe and productive working lives for all Australians.
Safe Work Australia pursues its purpose through a set of eight strategies as outlined in the Safe Work Australia Corporate Plan 2016–2020 (the corporate plan).
The corporate plan meets the requirements of the Act and does not set out the performance criteria. Performance criteria are outlined in Safe Work Australia’s Portfolio Budget Statements 2016-17.
The annual performance statement reports on our fulfilment of our purpose during 2016-17.
|Outcome 1||Healthier, safer and more productive workplaces through improvements to Australian work health and safety (WHS) and workers’ compensation arrangements|
|Program 1.1||Reform of and improvements to Australian WHS and workers’ compensation arrangements contribute to Outcome 1 by the innovative development of multi-stakeholder policy and being central to Australia becoming a world leader in the delivery of improved safety and compensation outcomes|
|Performance criteria 1||Activities in the Safe Work Australia Operational Plan 2016-2017 (the operational plan) are delivered to the expected quality, on time and within budget|
|Performance criteria 2||Reductions in the incidence of work-related death, injury and illness through: an improved and reformed WHS framework|
Results against Performance Criteria 1
|Criteria||Activities in the operational plan are delivered to the expected quality, on time and within budget|
|Target||80% of Members and the Chair are satisfied with the Agency’s achievements|
|Analysis||The Agency conducted an annual survey with its Chair and Members to measure the level of satisfaction during 2016–17.
A four point rating scale was developed to assist Members to make an assessment of whether the agency had met the overall outcomes of the operational plan. A report highlighting the Agency’s achievements was enclosed to assist in determining whether the Agency had met its deliverables.
All Members were satisfied that the agency had met the relevant deliverables.
Results against Performance Criteria 2
|Criteria||Reductions in the incidence of work-related death, injury and illness through:|
Note: The above target mirrors the national targets outlined in the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2022 (Australian Strategy).
Analysis against our purpose
Performance Criteria 1
During 2016–17, Safe Work Australia continued to review and refine its governance and reporting arrangements to embed a strong foundation of accountability, responsibility and transparency to ensure the activities outlined in the operational plan are achieved.
The agency developed and delivered the Safe Work Australia Members’ Project and Activity Dashboard (the Dashboard). The Dashboard provides key information to Members on the major pieces of work being undertaken and includes the status and progress of each project and a high level overview of budget and staffing resources. The Dashboard is a tool that increases the visibility of the work the agency is undertaking and helps to ensure that resources are being used effectively to achieve the objective of healthy, safe and productive working lives for all Australians.
As part of the 2016–17 annual performance survey, Members were asked if they were satisfied with the agency’s performance over the year and whether they considered the activities outlined in the operational plan had been achieved. All Members indicated their satisfaction with a number also acknowledging the agency’s efforts to improve transparency of activities and resources.
As part of the survey, the agency also sought feedback from Members on areas of improvement and views on future work projects. These responses are being used to tailor planning sessions for early in 2017–18. Areas for improvement are being addressed.
Performance Criteria 2
The annual progress report of the Australian Strategy shows strong results against the national targets indicating the activities being undertaken are having an impact. Based on the data collected and analysed, the results are:
- Fatality target – The annual number of work-related deaths due to injury is highly variable. To even out the volatility in the data, four years of data has been used to establish a base period (2007 to 2010), and a three-year rolling average used to track progress. The data covers all of Australia, for all industries, for the calendar year.
- There has been a 27 per cent decrease in the number of traumatic injury fatalities, from 270 fatalities in the base period to 197 in 2013–15. This reduction in work-related deaths to date is on track to meet the target of at least a 20 per cent reduction by 2022.
- Serious injury target – The serious injury target is measured by the incidence rate, which is the number of serious compensated claims resulting in one or more weeks off work, per 1,000 employees. A three-year rolling average is used as a baseline for the injury target (2009–10 to 2011–12) and the data is gathered on a financial year basis. The latest available data is for 2014–15, which covers the first three years of the Australian Strategy.
- There has been a 22 per cent decrease in the incidence rate of serious injuries between the base period and 2014–15. The current rate is 9.8 serious claims per 1,000 employees, down from 12.5. This decrease is on track to meet the target of at least a 30 per cent reduction by 2022.
- Musculoskeletal disorders target – Musculoskeletal claims include serious claims of musculoskeletal and connective tissue diseases plus serious claims of traumatic joint/ligament and muscle/tendon injury. A three-year rolling average is used as a baseline for the musculoskeletal disorders target (2009–10 to 2011–12) and the data is gathered on a financial year basis.
- There has been a 24 per cent decrease in the incidence rate of musculoskeletal claims between the base period and 2014–15. The current rate is 5.8 claims per 1,000 employees, down from 7.6. This decrease is on track to meet the target of at least a 30 per cent reduction by 2022.
The above results reflect positive collaboration between Safe Work Australia, Commonwealth, state and territory governments, industry and employee associations and the community. A variety of different activities and initiatives have been undertaken to support healthy, safe and productive workplaces. Some of the activities that were undertaken in 2016-17 include:
- continuously improving the operation of the model WHS laws by implementing the recommendations agreed by WHS ministers in the 2014 Council of Australian Governments review
- expanding the popular Virtual Seminar Series to increase awareness of WHS and workers’ compensation and deliver a program of seminars over the course of the year rather than in only one month
- conducting research on topics including shift work, musculoskeletal disorders and exposure to asthmagens in the workplace
- supported workplaces to manage risks by developing and reviewing guidance material on topics such as stevedoring, hazardous chemicals, quad bikes and workplace bullying, and
- working with stakeholders to gain a better understanding of what is needed to help employees to return to safe work sooner and in a sustainable way.
Throughout 2016–17, Safe Work Australia refined its evidence function to ensure the data and research that is collected and maintained directly informs WHS and workers’ compensation policy, programs and practice. With the changing nature of work and workplaces, Safe Work Australia is looking at new ways the evidence collected can be used to understand the challenges that are likely to arise in the future.
The Australian Strategy has now reached the half way mark of implementation and a mid-term review commenced in 2016–17. Over the course of the first five years of the Australian Strategy, a focus was placed on reducing the high numbers of fatalities in two priority industries - agriculture and road freight transport. An analysis of the results against the targets in all of the priority industries is also underway with the outcome assisting to determine whether to continue to keep focusing on the agriculture and road freight transport industries or whether there should be a broader focus across the priority industries.
In 2017–18, Safe Work Australia will also undertake two other major reviews which may impact on the achievement of the targets—the review of the model WHS laws and the review of the model Codes of Practice. These reviews along with the mid-term review of the Australian Strategy, all provide an important opportunity to work with the Commonwealth, state and territory governments, industry and employee associations and the community to ensure the legislative framework and our policy priorities reflect the needs of contemporary, and future, workplaces and workforces. By focusing effort and resources where it is most needed, we will continue to stay on track to achieve the national targets.
Further information and analysis on Safe Work Australia’s performance and achievements are detailed in Part 4 - Our achievements.