Perfect WorkCover score

Article image - Perfect WorkCover score Roadworks at Lake Macquarie City Council

WorkCover auditors have given Lake Macquarie City Council what they believe to be an unprecedented perfect score on its most recent workplace health and safety audit.

According to the auditors, the result was the first time WorkCover had ever given a self-insurer a perfect 100 percent compliance in such an audit
with no recommendations for improvement.

Council’s General Manager, Brian Bell, said the result highlights how far the organisation has come in its respect for workplace health and speaks to the strength of its safety culture.

“Lake Macquarie City Council will continue to strive for excellence in health and safety across all areas of our operations.

“Keeping people safe and having our workers get home in the same condition in which they arrived at work is a top priority, and I am proud to see our efforts have been recognised.”

Lake Macquarie City Council is one of 15 self-insured NSW councils licensed by WorkCover, which means it does not pay workers compensation premiums to a specialised insurer or scheme agent, but carries its own underwriting risk and controls its own claims administration.

This licensing arrangement saves Lake Macquarie ratepayers a significant amount of money.

Actuarial reports from Council’s Human Resources department indicate savings of $3 million each year on the conventional insurance premium.

There are, however, strict criteria that employers must meet.

To maintain a WorkCover licence, a self-insurer must demonstrate that its systems and practices comply with relevant legislative requirements.

WorkCover audits self-insurers at least once every three years against standardised criteria, using the National Self-Insurer OHS Audit Tool.

Four WorkCover auditors visited Lake Macquarie City Council in November 2014 to carry out the audit, which involved interviews of management and workers, site visits and a review of safety system documentation.

Site inspections were conducted at the Council’s Family Day Care head office and a Family Day Care educator’s house, as well as at a road construction site managed by Council’s civil construction arm, CiviLake.

The Council has been self-insured for more than 30 years.

This latest audit was the second for the current Safety Management Team, following a restructure and revisions to the Council’s Work, Health and Safety Management System in 2008.

The restructure saw the Team transferred from its traditional place in the Corporate Services Directorate to the Operations Group Directorate, and based at Council’s Cockle Creek Works Depot, the location from which the organisation performs its highest-risk activities for the community.

Allocating Safety Officers for each of Council’s departments, to assist and guide teams on implementing the safety management system and adopting a mentoring program, are among the innovative approaches the Council has taken to achieve its strong performance.