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Promoting a healthy and safe workplace

In accordance with reporting requirements contained in Schedule 2, Part 4, of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (the WHS Act), the Museum reports annually on a range of initiatives and outcomes related to health, safety and welfare.

The Museum values the health and safety of all staff, volunteers, visitors and contractors and proactively manages issues within the existing WHS management framework. In 2015–16 the Museum focused on building staff capabilities in work health and safety (WHS). Training for staff and volunteers is recognised as one of the key elements in achieving and maintaining a high standard of workplace safety. Learning and development opportunities relating to WHS in 2015–16 included:

  • ongoing recruitment and training of floor wardens, first-aid officers and health and safety representatives
  • building emergency evacuation exercises for all Museum buildings
  • coaching of staff in the development of risk assessments and safe work method statements and the importance of proactive hazard identification and incident reporting
  • asbestos awareness training.

The Museum continues to review and improve the WHS management framework, including policies, procedures, guidelines and practices.

Key initiatives and outcomes during 2015–16 included:

  • a notable reduction in the Museum’s workers’ compensation premium for this reporting period
  • a review of the Museum’s WHS committee, to include representation and consultation with the Museum’s major on-site contractors
  • development of new incident and hazard reporting forms to streamline reporting processes
  • development of a new Asbestos Management Framework.

In 2015–16 the Museum continued to promote a healthy lifestyle through a wellbeing program for staff and volunteers. Some of the wellbeing initiatives undertaken during the year included voluntary health assessments, a flu vaccination program, health and wellbeing information sessions, and regular lunchtime walking and exercise groups.

The Museum identified, assessed and rectified several hazards in a functional and practical manner that also took environmental and aesthetic aspects into consideration.

Early advice on WHS issues informs the exhibition and gallery development programs and other key projects. WHS input was provided at all stages of these projects, from design to installation.

There were a total of 44 minor injuries (those that require no medical treatment or only first-aid treatment) reported by staff, volunteers, contractors and visitors during the year, and two serious injuries (those that require emergency medical transportation by an ambulance to a hospital for attention by a medical practitioner). There were also five dangerous occurrences (those incidents that could have, but did not, result in serious injury or death). All dangerous incidents were reported to Comcare, the Commonwealth regulator under the WHS Act and Regulations. The Museum conducted internal inquiries or investigations into all incidents, in order to determine their causes and and identify practical mitigation and control measures that might be required to improve safety and prevent recurrence.

There were no Improvement, Prohibition or Non-disturbance notices issued to the Museum by Comcare during the reporting period. However, Comcare conducted a compliance inspection in relation to one reported incident involving the removal of asbestos. A comprehensive review of the existing Asbestos Management Framework was undertaken in response to this incident, and a new framework was developed in consultation with internal and external stakeholders. The new framework includes an asbestos management policy, an asbestos management plan and asbestos registers, and specific asbestos awareness education programs to support Museum staff, volunteers and contractors. Comcare was satisfied with the Museum’s response and closed its follow-up inspection with no further action required.

Category and number of reported incidents, 2011–16

Year Minor injuries Serious injuries Dangerous occurrences
2011–12 79 3 5
2012–13 53 2 5
2013–14 38 3 3
2014–15 32 0 4
2015–16 44 2 5

Taking care of our environment

In accordance with Section 516A of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, the Museum annually reports on its activities in the context of their effect on the environment and the principles of ecologically sustainable development. The Museum’s activities have the potential to affect the environment through consumption of energy, waste production and the impact on local waterways, flora and fauna. The Museum is committed to the conservation of natural resources through ongoing improvements to its energy management program and the implementation of a number of other initiatives aimed at minimising the environmental impact of its operations.

Reduction of energy consumption

The Museum’s program to reduce overall energy consumption includes:

  • addressing energy consumption in high-consumption areas, such as the building’s thermal plant and environmental systems
  • ongoing reprogramming of mechanical plant and enthalpy systems, to achieve additional energy savings
  • ongoing replacement of halogen lighting with energy-efficient LED technology
  • continuing participation in an ACT cultural agencies gas contract to ensure that the Museum is achieving best value with its energy contracts.

In 2015 the Museum entered into a new four-year whole-of-government electricity supply contract with ActewAGL, commencing on 1 July 2016. Under this contract, 10 per cent of the electricity provided will be ‘green energy’ from renewable sources.


The Museum continues to recycle paper, cardboard, toner cartridges, and glass and plastic bottles from the administration areas, and Museum visitors are encouraged to recycle by using the bins provided. In 2015–16 the Museum sent 30 per cent of its waste to recycling.

Water use

The Museum monitors water consumption via meters that are installed in critical areas, such as cooling towers and the Cafe.

Environmentally friendly cleaning practices

The Museum continues to use a range of environmentally friendly cleaning products that feature readily biodegradable components, have very low or no toxicity, use ultra-low volatile organic compounds and do not include phosphates or bleach; concentrated formula products are preferred, to reduce waste in both packaging and transport. The Museum also continues to use toilet paper and paper hand towels made from recycled material. These products are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

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