Health and Safety

Our approach

Safety is the first of our four Pillars. Our commitment to the health and safety of our people and our communities is expressed in strong safety leadership, engagement with our workforce and stakeholders and a continual focus throughout our organisation of managing risks and aligning our values. Our commitment, and the results we have achieved is reflected in our success in winning work, and our increased presence as Zero Harm thought leaders. Downer’s health and safety commitments are outlined in our Health and Safety Policy.

Wellness in
the workplace

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Downer understands the wellness of our workers has a significant impact on their safety at work and their ability to thrive within our business.

Injury prevention is a critical part of improving worker wellness. Many workers at Downer engage in manual or repetitive tasks. Downer recognises that these workers may be at risk of degenerative injuries over time and as a result pursues the implementation of more effective controls to safeguard against these types of injury. If a worker starts to feel discomfort, Downer supports and encourages them to access health care services proactively before a debilitating injury occurs.

Downer also engages in the following, more traditional, ways of supporting the wellness and health of our workers through workplace health programs including:

  • A dedicated injury management service to assist employees with both work-related and non-work-related injuries and illnesses to enable their return to work
  • Injury prevention programs such as health assessments, pre-employment screening, industry defined medical assessments and executive medicals
  • An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for employees and their families providing confidential counselling and access to a home doctor service and accredited practising dieticians
  • Ergonomic office spaces
  • ‘Walk to work’ programs to encourage workers to meet and walk to work together
  • A Manager Assistance service that helps managers and team leaders to manage difficult workplace situations
  • Access to education programs specifically developed to support those with supervisory, or leadership responsibilities
  • Flexible working arrangements
  • Education programs
  • Early intervention programs such as drug and alcohol testing, and a zero tolerance to the presence of these substances in our workers
  • Fund raising casual clothing days
  • Participation in health promotion events, such as Movember, R U OK? Day and Stress Down Day
  • Access to fresh fruit in the workplace
  • Provision of clean and comfortable facilities to take a break, or enjoy lunch
  • Benefits such as discounts on gym memberships, health insurance and holidays.

Our performance


This year we have improved our Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rate (TRIFR) to 3.27 from 3.50 last year. Over the same period the Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR) has remained below target at 0.78. There were no fatal incidents arising from our operations this year, however Downer was prosecuted in relation to an incident which occurred in 2011 that resulted in a fatality. The lag indicators demonstrate continued sustained results for a TRIFR below 4.0 and maintenance of LTIFR below 1.0.

Additional safety metrics

The additional safety metrics of severity rate (lost days) and occupational disease rate have been calculated by gender and region for our Australian and New Zealand employees, who comprise 99 per cent of our workforce.

Our future focus

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Significant progress was made this year in delivering on the focus areas that were disclosed in last year's report, in particular the enhancement of the Zero Harm capability of our workforce, embedding our Critical Risk Programs, benchmarking performance against leading and lagging indicators and simplifying our zero harm management systems. Our key strategic future Zero Harm focus activities are summarised below. Building on this, the future areas of focus for health and safety will consist of:

  • Extending our Critical Risk Program into recent acquisitions
  • Analysing trend data regarding the Critical Risk Program to drive risk and cultural improvements across our business
  • Embedding critical control information into site, work planning, training, communication, supervision and incident investigation processes
  • Improving reporting processes to include lead critical risk indicators
  • Extending the Critical Risk Program into process safety applications
  • Reviewing existing safety information management system opportunities with a view to reducing duplication and enhancing consistency across the business
  • Initiation of a Zero Harm innovation portal to expand our collaboration capability and share leading initiatives in the business and technological developments
  • Improving the functionality and integration technology of our Zero Harm information management systems
  • Integrating a mental wellness program across our business and including consideration of non-work-related impacts into decision making regarding wellness
  • Analysing suitable technology platforms to improve access to information concerning risk management and Zero Harm matters, and better engage with our workers, and to support future training
  • Continuing to review, measure and benchmark our performance across a range of leading and lagging indicators, to provide assurance that the business has the necessary processes in place to manage Zero Harm risks, to minimise the number of incidents
  • Improving our training programs and platforms to continue to provide relevant, innovative and leading skill-related leadership and Zero Harm training to employees and contractors.