A safe place to work

The department is committed to providing a safe and healthy working environment while calling on all employees to share responsibility for work health and safety (WHS). Overarching governance of WHS systems in the department is managed by the WHS Steering Committee, a sub-committee of the Board of Management. Workplace committees continue to address local issues by engaging work unit employees  to apply local solutions.

Work Health and Safety

Table 3.3 WHS incidents by mechanism1

Being hit by objects59
Biological factors20
Body stressing78
Chemicals and substances52
Environmental factors34
Hitting objects912
Mental factors00
Slips, trips and falls819
Vehicle incidents and other156

1Data from WHS003 – Incident details: Incident summary report derived from the BOXI-HR system (Department of Corporate and Information Services).
2 The increase in hazards reported reflects a focus on increased hazard identification and reporting.

The total incidents reported for the department have increased from the previous year. This can be attributable to an increase in identifying and rectifying hazards before an incident can occur and is seen as a positive improvement in WHS awareness and a cultural change.

Similarly, workers compensation claims have also decreased, suggesting the impacts of incidents on individuals has reduced.


The department supports flexible working arrangements, including job sharing, part-time hours, home-based  work and flexible working hours to allow a better balance between work and family responsibilities.  These arrangements improve the attraction and retention of employees leading to improved service delivery. As at 30 June 2019, 45 employees were employed under flexible working arrangements, including eight with working from home arrangements.

In 2018-19, the department continued to provide psychological and organisational development services to employees through the sector-wide Employee Assistance Program (EAP). The program is accessible by employees and their immediate families. Services have included training, support with personal and workplace relationships, health, depression, substance abuse and trauma.

In 2018-19, the EAP was accessed by employees and their family members for 195 sessions at a total cost of $45,601. The department will continue to maintain this program to support employees in their personal and professional challenges during 2019-20.

Employees were offered the opportunity to receive the quadrivalent influenza vaccine (Flu) vaccination free of charge to help them remain healthy and reduce the impact of season flu in the workplace. In 2018-19, 182 staff from Darwin, Katherine and Alice Springs  took advantage of this offer.

The department also subsidised programs for Q Fever pre-tests and vaccinations for staff working in and around livestock yards, along with vaccinations against hepatitis A, rabies and tetanus for staff working in animal welfare situations.

Purchases of ‘sit-to-stand’ workstations continued in 2018-19, providing health benefits to staff with sitting jobs by improving the ergonomics of their work areas through the flexibility to easily switch between sitting and standing.

During the year, Fisheries Division staff were supported to transition to a new building and facilities.


Last updated: 23 October 2019

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