The jury is still out on the implementation of new workplace health and safety systems at CSIRO, with initial analysis from a staff survey revealing concerns over the effectiveness of the reporting platform.
Elsewhere, an early examination of the same survey results highlighted the issue of privacy protection when reporting psychosocial hazards.
CSIRO’s Health Safety and Environment (HSE) began rolling out the new workplace health and safety (WHS) reporting system in July, using external software platform provider, Donesafe.
The most recent CSIRO annual report described the development as representing an ‘integrated hazard, incident and risk management and reporting solution’ while claiming the ‘platform provides a seamless user experience accessible to all our people.’
At the request of independent Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) and union delegates, the CSIRO Staff Association sponsored a major survey to record employee experiences during the initial rollout of Donesafe, involving over six hundred participants.
While a detailed survey report is currently in production and expected to be released next February, initial results suggest that staff opinions are divided over the effectiveness of the new system.
More than half (53 per cent) of survey participants were either unsure or did not agree that DoneSafe is an effective tool in reporting local safety issues at CSIRO.
The results suggest that there is still some way to go before the platform is readily accepted by staff as a useful aid to improve workplace safety at CSIRO.
That mixed reaction from respondents was also reflected in the survey comments.
“DoneSafe appears effective at HSE management but to roll out a system which will have a major impact upon anyone who authors and manages documentation without extensive consultation is a huge oversight,” reported one staff member.
“The roll out of DoneSafe was poorly done. It was left to too few people to teach effectively how to use the system. Without the support of local HSE staff, it would have been absolute shambles,” said another.
Meanwhile, survey participants highlighted privacy concerns when reporting psychosocial risks using Donesafe.
“Not the best system for reporting any psychosocial hazards due to privacy concerns,” said one respondent.
Instructions around obtaining consent and the inclusion of personal details appear confused, with some staff reporting low confidence in the system when it comes to protecting privacy.
While the Staff Association is aware that HSE has attempted alternative follow-up mechanisms for confidential issues, the comments suggest that privacy remains a key concern for staff.
While a more comprehensive survey report is currently being developed, the early results suggest there is a fair gap between the confidence levels of HSE leadership and those of users on-the-ground, when it comes to the new system.
The Staff Association remains committed to adopting a constructive approach to WHS issues at CSIRO.
If you would like to register for a copy the final survey report – expected to be released in February 2023 – please click here.