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Independent News For The Australian Public Service
Edition Number 401f. Updated Friday, 21 March 2014

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Customs' work is risky business
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A table of Comcare claims lodged by Departments and Agencies in 2012-13 has revealed the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) to be the riskiest workplace in the Australian Public Service.

Comcare has also profiled action across the APS on work to reduce workplace harm and return sick and injured people to work.

More needed to be done, it said.

"APS leaders can improve the mindset and culture around health and safety and returning ill and injured people to work," Comcare said.

Tops Comcare tables

"This is a particular challenge for mental health conditions. Stigma and misunderstanding get in the way of people being welcomed and supported back to good and meaningful work as soon as possible."

The data of workplaces with more than 5,000 staff showed the Customs and Border Protection topped the tables with an incidence rate of 30.4 claims received, 24.6 accepted and 16.9 claims of one week or more of incapacity per 1,000 fulltime equivalent staff.

In comparison, the Department of Defence scored 18.2, 13.9 and 8.0, respectively.

This compared with the incidence rate of all Commonwealth premium payers of 16.2 claims, 12.2 accepted and 7.7 claims of incapacity of one or more weeks.

Among workplaces of 1,000 to 5,000 staff, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry scored highest at 26.2, 21.2 and 15.8, respectively.

Comcare cautioned that outcomes in a single year may be subject to significant volatility and performance of individual Agencies may be subject to a number of factors.

The data is available at this PS News link.

The Public Service Commission guide on mental health and well-being at work can be viewed at this PS News link.

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