The Department of Finance advocates the provision of services that address the different needs of Western Australia’s diverse community and the elimination of systematic bias and discrimination. To ensure equality of opportunity for staff and clients, access, participation and equity needs are considered in the development and delivery of the Department’s policies and services.
This year the Department trialled an Introduction to Unconscious Bias workshop for the Leadership Development alumni group. This workshop highlighted the different areas of bias and how it can affect people’s views without an understanding of the individual. This workshop has now been developed as an online module and is accessible to all staff through the Department’s learning management system.
Staff have attended Aboriginal Cultural Awareness training that outlined the history, traditional ways of life and potential solutions to closing the gap with Aboriginal Peoples. In addition, the Department launched the Noongar seasonal calendar as a screen saver, to reflect the Aboriginal six seasons.
The Department also promoted the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia and Transphobia to help foster a more inclusive workplace.
The Department champions diversity and at the Optima Building location, a ‘Personal Space’ room has been made available for staff who have religious needs during the working day. The aim is to provide a private space for religious observations.
OSH and injury management
Our Department is committed to achieving excellence in the provision of a safe working environment for employees, contractors, visitors and those who may be associated with our operations. During 2018-19 we have been progressively building on a culture where health, safety and employee wellbeing is a priority, all staff understand their responsibilities and are able to safely undertake their work, and staff are encouraged to report hazards so associated risks are assessed and managed in a consultative manner.
A focus during 2018-19 has been the consolidation of all our Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) related policies to reconstruct the framework of our safety management system. By doing so we can implement health, safety and wellbeing initiatives through a planned and prioritised approach with support and endorsement from the Director General and Corporate Executive.
The Department works closely with all Safety Health Representatives (SHR) across its different work locations, who form an important part of our formal consultation mechanism. During 2018-19, 40 site inspections were undertaken by SHRs within our regional as well as metro work locations. All identified hazards were assessed at time of being reported. Based on consultation between SHR, Management and staff relevant actions are taken to mitigate identified risks. The OSH Committee meets quarterly and monitors all incidents and hazards reported, and actions taken to resolve these. An important achievement is that we have been able to have our regional SHR actively participate in the OSH Committee meetings through the Skype for Business tool.
A good initiative has been the delivery of half day workshops for SHRs and First Aiders (in the regions as well as metro areas), which has been the first time these groups have been able to collectively meet and discuss emerging safety and first aid matters. This was an opportunity for the Department to thank and acknowledge all our SHRs and First Aiders for their important contribution towards upholding health, safety and wellbeing in all our workplaces.
An assessment of the Department’s occupational safety and health management system was initially undertaken during the 2014-15 financial year using the WorkSafe Plan assessment tool. To date all of the recommendations have been actioned with approximately 75 per cent completed. These actions included:
- the ongoing consultation on health, safety and wellbeing matters;
- expansion of a risk management approach to address identified hazards in all our workplaces; and
- an invigorated program to train our Managers and Supervisors – an initiative that has been actively encouraged and supported by the Director General and Corporate Executive.
Relevant consultation relating to Emergency, Evacuation and Safety procedures for the Department’s regional offices has commenced and is expected to be finalised over the coming year.
Eight half day OSH manager training sessions were held covering health, safety and injury management. Such training is offered to Managers and Supervisors as part of our ongoing strategy to improve their knowledge and understanding on health and safety. Employees were also able to access the online OSH module in our Learning Management System.
An Activity Based Work (ABW) environment was successfully implemented at our Osborne Park (Optima) location. This was undertaken through regular consultation with staff, addressing their health and safety concerns, and has resulted in safely transitioning staff into the ABW environment. Staff were provided with a safety kit at the time of moving to the new work environment including relevant information sessions and training.
Twelve one-hour training sessions were held to help staff understand the principles of ergonomics and to enable them to set up their workstations to their specific requirements.
During 2018-19, Mental Health was an important element of our Wellbeing Program. As undertaken in previous years, the Department celebrated R U OK Day and Mental Health Week. A calendar of events was developed based on different wellbeing topics within WA during the year. The Department offered a variety of awareness sessions as part of its ongoing commitment to enhancing employee wellbeing. A total of 28 such sessions were provided. Wellness topics included Building Resilience; Mindfulness; Stress Management; Growth Mindset; Promoting Good Mental Health. All Sessions were well attended and feedback was positive. In addition, articles promoting good health and wellbeing were published on the Department’s intranet site.
Flu Vaccine Clinics were offered during April and May 2019, and a total of 326 employees participated.
Early intervention injury management assistance was offered to all employees on an ongoing basis, to help them to either return to or remain at work after an injury or illness, whether this be work or non- work related. The injury management system and return-to-work program are documented in our Injury Management Policy and supporting guidelines and all our processes are compliant with the requirements of the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981.
Employee Assistance Program
The Department provides an Employee Assistance Program where employees and immediate family members can access confidential and professional counselling services. In 2018-19 there were 65 new referrals and 15 continuing referrals to the provider.
Personal issues represented the largest proportion of referrals at 83 per cent and 17 per cent of referrals were attributed to work related matters. Based on trends identified with the issues reported the Department was able to offer relevant employee well-being initiatives.