State of the service

APS Safety Culture

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Employers and employees alike benefit from and should strive to achieve safe workplaces. Previous work by the Commission has demonstrated the link between safety culture and other workplace conditions (see State of the Service Report 2012–13). Healthy workplaces have a direct effect on organisational productivity and are associated with higher attendance rates.

  • “APS employees satisfied with work-life balance”

Results from the 2015 employee census support the notion that the health and wellbeing of employees is a key focus for APS managers and leaders. A large majority of the APS believe their workplace and supervisors are committed to workplace safety. Likewise, over 60% of APS employees feel their agency genuinely cares about their health and wellbeing. Nearly 70% agree their agency supports employees who become ill or injured at work.

Figure 1.

APS employee perceptions of agency safety culture

Paper icon representing the learn more page Learn more about this chart: view data and full question set for Figure 1.

Percentage positive

APS employee perceptions of agency safety culture
Figure 1 is a bar chart showing APS employee perceptions of agency safety culture. The lowest scored capability was ‘My agency cares about employees being healthy and safe at work’ at 63%, and the highest was ‘The people in my workgroup are committed to workplace safety’ at 84%.

Similar to other results, classification and agency size have an effect on employee perceptions of their agency’s safety culture. For example, while 90% of the Senior Executive Service (SES) agreed their agency supports employees who become ill or injured due to work it is only 66% for the APS overall. A positive interpretation is that the difference is due to the SES have a greater awareness of the total agency response. Many of these processes are completed in confidence. People may have awareness of an incident but not of the way it is handled or the outcome.

There is an opportunity to improve communication about safety standards, processes and outcomes. Done well this will enhance confidence in management actions.

Figure 2.

APS employee perceptions of agency safety culture by classification

Paper icon representing the learn more page Learn more about this chart: view data and full question set for Figure 2.

Percentage positive

APS employee perceptions of agency safety culture by classification
Figure 2 is a bar chart showing APS employee perceptions of agency safety culture capabilities increase with classification level for APS 1–6, EL to SES employees. The lowest scored capability was ‘My agency cares about employees being healthy and safe at work’ with a range of 62% to 87%, and the highest was ‘The people in my workgroup are committed to workplace safety’ with a range of 83% to 94%.

Overall, APS employees are satisfied with the work-life balance in their current jobs and with their ability to access and use flexible working arrangements. For both measures, just over 72% of respondents expressed satisfaction. Only 12% of respondents indicated that they were dissatisfied. The balance of respondents did not express a view.

Staff at APS levels expressed the greatest levels of satisfaction. Nearly three quarters reported they are satisfied with their current work-life balance and access to flexible working arrangements.

Sixty-six percent of SES officers reported satisfaction with work-life balance. This was marginally lower than the 74% for APS level staff. It is probably largely explained by the different hours worked by the two groups. APS staff have access to flex-time arrangements through agency agreements. This means that they can access time off for additional hours worked on an hour-for-hour basis.

Figure 3.

Employee satisfaction with work-life balance and flexible working arrangements

Paper icon representing the learn more page Learn more about this chart: view data and full question set for Figure 3.

Percentage positive

Employee satisfaction with work-life balance and flexible working arrangements
Figure 3 is a bar chart showing APS employee Employee satisfaction with work-life balance and flexible working arrangements decrease with classification level for SES, EL to APS 1–6 employees, with a range of 74% for APS 1–6, 67% to 69% for EL and 66% for SES.

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Read the State of the Service Report 2014–15 on the APSC website.