WHS Committee Meeting 18 August 2017

Present:

Name Representing
Josh Manuatu Liberal Party of Australia
Melanie Beaumont Liberal Party of Australia
Simon Kelly (phone) The Nationals
Daniel Wong Office of the Special Minister of State
Amy Knox CPSU
Mary Vetere (phone) Konekt
Marg Emerton Ministerial and Parliamentary Services
Department of Finance
Bek Bjarnadottir Ministerial and Parliamentary Services
Department of Finance

Apologies:

Name Representing
Helen Lewis Liberal Party of Australia
Kristian Nelson Independents

Meeting Minutes

  • Meeting opened: 10:15 am
  • Meeting facilitator: Bek Bjarnadottir
  • Meeting closed: 10:55 pm

1 Welcome and apologies

Ms Bjarnadottir welcomed the members of the committee and noted apologies.

2 Actions arising from previous meeting

HSRs from the Liberal Party of Australia to provide feedback on SAO training material to Finance

Completed, feedback provided to facilitator.

Finance to continue enquiries regarding floor wardens, and request review of the emergency evacuation plan for the office of Senator Derryn Hinch

Completed. Ms Bjarnadottir noted First 5 Minutes is working directly with Senator Hinch’s office and the Ministerial and Parliamentary Services (M&PS) Victorian State Office to rectify the evacuation plan.

Finance to communicate with the offices of the Chief Government Whip, the Leader of the Opposition and the Leader of The Australian Greens regarding vacancies for HSRs and Deputy HSRs

In progress. Ms Bjarnadottir explained the WHS team had been waiting until there was clarity regarding Parliamentarians’ eligibility prior to delivering this information and calling for nominations. Mr Manuatu suggested that the list be sent to the HSRs for action instead.

Action Item:

  • M&PS to provide details of vacant HSR and Deputy HSR roles to the relevant workgroup’s HSRs.

Details of referral service to be listed on the M&PS website once refurbishment has been completed

Completed. Domestic violence referral services published in the WHS library on the M&PS website.

  • Finance to analyse the number and location of trained WHS Site Officers within APH and the location of nearby offices within the same work group.
  • Finance will then contact WHS Site Officers within APH, proposing that they consult with certain identified offices without a WHS Site Officer regarding taking on responsibility for conducting quarterly hazard inspections within those offices
  • Completed. Finance identified there were not adequate people nominated as WHS Officers across all work groups within Parliament House to facilitate the original plan. The committee discussed an alternative plan involving WHS Site Officers located in Electorate Offices having oversight of WHS matters in the Parliament Hosue office, in consultation with staff based in that office.

Action Item:

  • M&PS to consult with the WHS Committee regarding communication to WHS Site Officers.

3 WHS Report

The WHS report for the period 1 July 2017 to 31 September 2017 was provided to HSRs prior to the meeting for review. Ms Bjarnadottir welcomed any queries related to the report.

  • Mr Manuatu queried how many office locations have reported hazards in the previous 12 months.

Action Item:

  • M&PS to provide information regarding how many office locations have reported hazards in the previous 12 months

Mr Manuatu queried a ‘near miss’ incident presented in the report, he asked what is the scope to report on incidents that occur outside of the workplace. Mary Vetere explained that if the incident has affected, or is likely to affect the employee at work it should be reported.

Mr Manuatu queried if the activation of duress alarms are typically reported and presented in this report. Ms Emerton explained it depends on the scale of the incident. Any incident that results in a staff member requiring assistance should be reported to assess the seriousness of the incident and an appropriate response. Mr Manuatu then asked to be provided with details of how often incidents like this occur, to assist in identifying potential training needs.

Action Item:

  • M&PS to provide information regarding how many instances of duress alarm activation there have been reported over the previous 12 months. 

Ms Beaumont queried what the Department was doing with regard to wheelchair access at Parliament House given there is now a Senator who uses a wheelchair. Ms Emerton explained M&PS has been working with Senator Steele-John since his commencement regarding his requirements. He will be provided an office that is compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA). Ms Emerton explained M&PS is working across the board regarding DDA compliance, working office by office and as issues are reported.

5 Other business

No other business was noted.

6 Next Meeting

The Committee agreed that the next meeting will be held at Parliament House at 10:00am AEST on Friday 16 February 2017.

Action Items

Action Item Status
M&PS to provide details of vacant HSR and Deputy HSR roles to the relevant workgroup’s HSRs. → In progress
M&PS to consult with the WHS Committee regarding communication to WHS Site Officers. → In progress
M&PS to provide information regarding how many office locations have reported hazards in the previous 12 months → In progress
M&PS to provide information regarding how many instances of duress alarm activation there have been reported over the previous 12 months. → In progress