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Safe and fair workplaces and communities

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​​We are fostering a culture of fairness, safety and innovation in every Queensland workplace and community to promote economic prosperity, sustainability and social justice for a stronger Queensland.

We are committed to protecting the rights of workers and we continue to work with industry to assist businesses to create a safe and healthy culture in Queensland places of work.

Review of the Electrical Safety Act 2002

Maintaining electrical safety is an ongoing priority for the department and this includes ensuring the Electrical Safety Act 2002 remains fit-for-purpose and can keep pace with new and emerging technologies, including the solar farm industry. A review of the Electrical Safety Act 2002, led by Mr Dick Williams, Chair of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Board, commenced in December 2020. A final report, including recommendations for legislative reform informed by consultation with unions, industry and advocacy groups, is due by the end of 2021.

New wage theft legislation

In September 2020, the Criminal Code and Other Legislation (Wage Theft) Amendment Act 2020 was passed in the Queensland Parliament in response to recommendations 8 and 15 of the former Education, Employment and Small Business Committee Report, A fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work? Exposing the true cost of wage theft in Queensland.

The new laws amend the offence of stealing in the Criminal Code Act 1899 to ensure the offence applies to wages and entitlements and to make the maximum penalty for employers who steal from their employees, the same as existing penalties for employees who steal from their employers.

A more simplified wage recovery process started on 1 March 2021. Claimants are now able to use the Queensland Industrial Magistrates Court as a quick, informal wage recovery process, particularly for small claims, with conciliation being available for all wage recovery matters.

The new wage recovery process is being met within the existing budget and the new jurisdiction will be monitored to ensure it operates effectively.

Best practice review impleme​ntation

We have fully implemented 35 of the 58 recommendations of the Best Practice Review of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland report.

A designated program manager is coordinating the delivery of action plans for the remaining recommendations (as well as 13 related recommendations from the Coronial Inquiry into the Dreamworld fatalities). The action plans implement regulatory improvements to address the broader intent and regulatory gap identified in the Best Practice Review report. These improvements have a long term focus, including information and communications technology upgrades, outcomes of court cases and capability development programs within Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.

We are doing significant work to embed and administer the changes as business-as-usual, the Work Health and Safety Board continues to monitor implementation.

Improving the health and wellbeing of Queenslanders

We are working hard to address the health risks associated with worker exposure to occupational dust, particularly in light of the 229 workers with accelerated silicosis from engineered stone benchtop fabricators.

We have committed $5 million over 4 years for medical research into vital treatment to improve the health and wellbeing of Queensland workers suffering from occupational dust lung disease and to support over 300 workers suffering from the disease to stay in the workforce in other industries.

The medical research is necessary because of limited information, data and robust research available about how best to support and treat affected workers.

The service will support over 250 people to access confidential counselling and guidance about respiratory health screening, community supports and compensation entitlements.

People at Work

In March 2021, the People at Work assessment tool officially went live online. It is Australia’s only validated and evidence based psychosocial risk assessment survey tool to identify, assess and manage psychosocial health risks. OIR led the implementation of People at Work, harnessing expertise and joint funding across all Australian work health and safety regulators.

Service area performance

​The following service standards in our Service Delivery Statement 2020–21 are used by the department and the government to assess overall performance of this service area.

Industrial relations

Industrial Relations

Service: Industrial Relations

Target/estimate

Actual

Service standards

Effectiveness measure

Overall client satisfaction with inspectorate's effectiveness and professionalism1

90%

95%

Overall client satisfaction with the services and advice provided on public sector industrial relations2

90%

100%

Efficiency measures

Cost of Industrial Relations services per Queensland worker3

$3.50

$3.23

Cost of public sector industrial and employee relations per Queensland public sector worker4

$6.70

$6.86

Service: Work health and safety services

Target/estimate

Actual

Service standards

Effectiveness measure

Overall client satisfaction with inspectorate's effectiveness and professionalism5

90%

93%

Efficiency measure

Cost of WHSQ services per Queensland worker6

$35.20

$35.47

Service: Electrical safety services

Target/estimate

Actual

Effectiveness measure

Reduction in the number of reported serious electrical incidents over the year on a 5-year rolling average7, 8

10%

2.3%

Overall client satisfaction with inspectorate's effectiveness and professionalism8

90%

89%

Efficiency measure

​Cost of electrical safety services per person in Queensland9

$4.30

$4.35

Notes:

  1. The survey measures overall satisfaction of employers and employees who had interactions with an industrial relations inspector. The industrial inspectorate provides compliance and information services on Queensland's industrial relations laws for state and local government, long service leave, child employment, trading hours and holidays. The survey is conducted biennially, was last conducted in 2019 and is being conducted again in mid-2021.
  2. The survey measured overall client satisfaction with the effectiveness and professionalism of the public sector industrial relations team. The team leads and advises on public sector enterprise bargaining and other industrial relations matters on behalf of the Queensland Government. The survey was conducted in 2021.
  3. The cost is calculated by dividing the total cost of service by the Queensland labor force (Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Labour Force, Australia). The decrease in the 2020–21 actual is due to faster than originally estimated labour force growth over 2020–21.
  4. The cost is calculated by dividing the total cost of service by the Queensland State Public Sector Employees from ABS’s Employment and Earnings, Public Sector.
  5. The primary objective of the Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) customer satisfaction survey is to assess the satisfaction of persons who had a visit from a Work Health and Safety or Electrical Safety inspector in the previous 12 months. The biennial survey was conducted in 2020. WHSQ inspectors enforce work health and safety laws, investigate workplace fatalities, serious injuries, prosecute breaches of legislation and educate employees and employers on their legal obligations. Electrical Safety Inspectors provide advisory and enforcement activities, promote compliance with electrical safety laws and standards, information, education and training activities to help reduce the risk of death or injury from electrocution, fire and explosion and improve electrical safety. The next survey will be conducted in 2022.
  6. The cost is calculated by dividing the total cost of service by the Queensland labour force sourced from ABS’s Labour Force, Australia. Work health and safety annual funding is based on the previous 3 years’ annual average growth in Queensland's economic activity.
  7. This measure is based on the annual change of a 5-year rolling average of serious electrical incidents (SEIs). In previous years, the calculation was based on the biennial change. The new approach is to moderate the volatility of results due to small numbers. This volatility partly explains the deviation of the 2020–21 actual from the target.
  8. Section 11 of the Electrical Safety Act 2002 defines a SEI and includes where a person: is killed by electricity; receives a shock or injury from electricity, and is treated for the shock or injury by or under the supervision of a doctor; or receives a shock or injury from electricity at high voltage, whether or not the person is treated for the shock or injury by or under the supervision of a doctor.
  9. The cost is calculated by dividing the total cost of service by the population of Queensland (ABS Australian Demographic Statistics).
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Last updated 02 November 2021