In conversations with members, we frequently hear that incidents and hazards are not always being reported via eduSafe. Reasons cited include the time it takes to log on and report an issue; not having access to a computer; not thinking that the matter is worth reporting; and a level of cynicism about whether the report will result in any follow-up.
The result of this under-reporting is inadequate data at DET’s end to identify and address any trends in OHS issues and to consider and implement preventative strategies. It is incumbent upon us to log every incident and every hazard. If we don’t, the department will sit on its hands.
In our various meetings with the department, their understanding of OHS ‘hot spots’ does not always match up with what members are reporting to us. Without this data and evidence, it can be challenging for the AEU to advocate on our members’ behalf. It also means that hazards are often not adequately addressed at the workplace level.
As part of the Safe and Well in Education strategy, the department is currently updating the eduSafe system and preparing to relaunch in early 2020 as ‘eduSafe Plus’.
The intent is to simplify and streamline several existing systems and enable more integrated management and monitoring of health and safety matters.
EduSafe Plus will manage all staff and student emergency and critical incidents, and replace both existing eduSafe and IRIS systems and components of Cases21 (sickbay and accident management modules).
The AEU has welcomed this initiative as we are keenly aware of the workload burden associated with duplication across a number of systems – something we have regularly raised with the department.
We continue to emphasise the importance of members reporting incidents, injuries, near misses and hazards.
The DET recently reached out to the AEU to identify members – including teachers, business managers, principals and HSRs – who can assist with user testing to ensure it is a robust and user-friendly system for everyone.
This testing phase commenced in mid-October and we thank those members who have volunteered to participate.
This new system is also designed to obtain better data that will enable DET to develop preventive measures to counter the reoccurrence of incidents and hazards. Again, we support this objective, but we have concerns about the level of under-reporting in schools.
Hopefully the new system will enable reports to be made more easily. In the meantime, we continue to emphasise the importance of members reporting incidents, injuries, near misses and hazards. We also encourage Health and Safety Representatives to communicate this message to your sub-branch.
HSRs should also ensure that reports are followed up with appropriate consultation when decisions are being made to control health and safety risks.
Although principals and managers can delegate their role in eduSafe to appropriate nominees, ultimate responsibility for health and safety, along with the management of reported events, resides with the principal or manager.
If you have a question about the eduSafe system, making a report, or any other OHS matter, please contact our Member Support Centre on 03 9417 2822.