Management of Staff Occupational Health and Safety in Schools

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Tabled: 29 May 2013

The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) is responsible for the health and safety of all its employees, including more than
53 620 school staff. WorkSafe Victoria regulates occupational health and safety (OHS) and can engage employers to improve OHS performance. DEECD developed a new OHS management system in 2008 to improve the safety culture and avoid further prosecution following a number of safety incidents in schools. 

Since 2009 the incidence of new school staff injury claims has reduced. Surveyed staff say that they feel safe at work. However the cost of claims, an indication of injury severity and duration, has increased since 2008 and non-government schools outperform government schools on most health and safety indicators. Few schools audited for OHS compliance are achieving full compliance and schools are not held to account for poor OHS performance. A DEECD draft OHS strategy aims to improve OHS accountability.

WorkSafe completed specific workplace projects that targeted OHS in schools. It did not, however, comprehensively evaluate these projects and cannot show their impact. WorkSafe stopped directly engaging DEECD to improve OHS in 2011. This lack of information sharing between the agencies is preventing them from more effectively targeting safety weaknesses in government schools.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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