Employee Health, Safety and Wellbeing Services

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a free, short-term, and strictly confidential counselling service that helps our employees be at their best. These sessions can be used to develop tailored strategies to help enhance wellbeing – both in and outside of work. The EAP is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for up to four sessions for the Department's employees (and school council employees such as casual relief teachers). Immediate family members of Department employees can also now access EAP..

EAP offers:

  • flexibility to choose a time and location that works for you – over the phone or face-to-face
  • provision for accessing specialist counsellors for aboriginal, LGBTIQ and family violence matters
  • all counselling sessions led by a psychologist or social worker with a minimum of five years in practice
  • the offer to speak to another counsellor if you are dissatisfied with the service.

A dedicated telephone advisory service (Manager Assist) is also available to support principals, school leaders and managers. This service can provide advice and coaching on a range of issues such as approaching a difficult conversation with employees, managing challenging team dynamics, leading through uncertainty and change, supporting staff at risk and managing the impact of mental health issues within the workplace.

These services are provided by LifeWorks by Morneau Shepell which is an independent organisation experienced in delivering similar services in other workplaces. The Department funds this service as part of its commitment to health, safety and wellbeing. Staff can call LifeWorks directly on telephone number 1300 361 008 and make an appointment at a preferred time and location.

For more information on using the EAP, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions.

Any further enquiries regarding the EAP and other support services available to Department employees can be directed to the can be directed to the Employee Health, Safety and Wellbeing Division through email employeehealth@edumail.vic.gov.au.

Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Advisory Service

Employees and managers with OHS queries can access the Department's expert health and safety support service. The OHS Advisory Service can provide help with implementing the OHS Management System, reporting or closing hazards or incidents in eduSafe, conducting workstation assessments, conducting risk assessments and other OHS issues.

Our OHS Advisory Service now has mental health and wellbeing specialists to assist leadership teams to proactively safeguard wellbeing and respond to wellbeing issues.

Phone: 1300 074 715

Email: safety@edumail.vic.gov.au

Workplace Contact Officer

A Workplace Contact Officer is a member of staff who has volunteered to be a point of contact for colleagues experiencing harassment, discrimination, bullying, victimisation or family violence. Any Workplace Contact Officer can be contacted for a confidential discussion, at any time.

For more information or to contact an officer, see: Workplace Contact Officer Network.

Health and Safety Representatives and Designated Work Groups

Health and safety representatives (HSRs) are people who are elected by their co-workers to represent designated work groups (DWG) about occupational health and safety issues, concerns and interests.

Designated Work Groups and Health and Safety Representatives form part of the Department's OHS Management System.

Lifeworks Health and Wellbeing Online Platform

The Lifeworks Health and Wellbeing online platform is an online library of informative articles and interactive resources to improve employee health and wellbeing. It is available to all Department employees, immediate family members of Department employees, school council employees including Casual Relief Teachers. This new platform replaces the previously used 'Livewell' portal.

The platform has support, guidance and information about issues relating to family, health, life, money, and work, and strategies to manage these. It can be accessed privately and confidentially from home..

It is a private, confidential service and can be accessed from home. See the intranet for login details.

When things aren't going right

Accidents and emergencies

If someone is seriously injured or in need of urgent medical help, their life or property is being threatened or they have just witnessed a serious accident or crime, call 000 immediately.

Please ensure you give the emergency services precise details about your location (there are security access issues for many properties) and liaise with your building's security.

Use your team's OHS notice board (located in communal areas on your floor), your building's Security Management or the Department's Incident Support and Operations Centre (ISOC) as your primary source of information in an emergency.

For routine security issues including access inquiries, contact the Security Unit on SSU@edumail.vic.gov.au

For non-routine security issues including security threats and bomb threats, contact ISOC on 1800 126 126.

Incidents and near-misses

We take the health, safety and wellbeing of all employees and contractors seriously at the Department. As an employee, you have a responsibility to report injuries, incidents, near-misses or hazards on eduSafe, the Department's Incident Reporting and Hazard Management system. You can also report an incident on behalf of other employees. Consult the OHS Advisory Service for further information about how to manage incidents and near-misses.

For more information, see: Reporting Incidents and Hazards on eduSafe

Facilities

The Department engages service providers to respond to incidents or events, including those that involve hazardous building materials. The Make Safe Program operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Contact: 1300 133 468.

Essential Safety Measures support for schools is being established to provide technical advice around Essential Safety Measures compliance.

WorkSafe Victoria

Contact (03) 9641 1555 or toll free on 1800 136 089.

Fax: (03) 9641 1222

WorkSafe Victoria website

Conflict Resolution Support Service

Sometimes people experience workplace conflict that becomes difficult resolve in their usual team setting.

The Conflict Resolution Support Service is available for Department employees and managers who need support in addressing workplace conflict. The service provides mediation, case conference and facilitated meetings, conflict coaching and team conflict intervention. This service is provided by Converge International and can be arranged by your principal or manager.

Phone: 1300 687 633
Email: mediation@convergeintl.com.au

Workplace bullying

Bullying is against the Department's values and may lead to action under the Guidelines for Managing Complaints, Misconduct and Unsatisfactory Performance (Teaching) (Public Service). The Department's leaders at all levels have been explicit that bullying is not tolerated at any level.

Our Workplace Bullying Policy defines bullying as repeated, unreasonable behaviour directed towards or from an employee or group of employees that creates a risk to health, safety and wellbeing. Bullying may be either direct or indirect and can be carried out verbally, physically or in writing via email, social media, instant messaging and text messaging. 

Every one of us has a role to play in preventing bullying and maintaining respectful spaces where people feel safe and welcome to be at work.

For more information, see: Workplace Bullying Policy.

Workers' Compensation and Returning to Work

For many people, being at work isn't just a job; it's also about being part of a team or achieving a sense of satisfaction through the work that they do. Being away from work due to injury or a work-related illness can be disruptive and even distressing.

The Department is committed to safely helping injured employees get back to work. There is a mutual obligation between an employee and their manager to discuss business continuity and return to work planning immediately after an injury. This can provide peace of mind that a plan is in place.

For more information, talk to your Return to Work Coordinator. Support for Return to Work Coordinators can be accessed through the Workers' Compensation Advisory Line on (03) 9637 2441.

For more information, see: Return to Work Coordinator Portal

Medical Advisory Service

The Medical Advisory Service is a free of charge telephone and email advisory service for Managers and Principals provided by a team of occupational health professionals who are familiar with the Department's human resource management policies, employee health obligations and the operational requirements of schools.

The service provides advice to principals and managers on the management of employees experiencing (psychological and physical) health related difficulties that impact on their ability to perform the duties associated with their employment.

The service can also assist in the arrangement of independent medical examinations by appropriate medical practitioners on behalf of the Department. Both the medical assessment coordination and the actual medical assessment is a cost to the workplace.

This service is operated by InjuryNET, and is available Monday to Friday, 8.30am - 5.00pm (excluding public holidays).  Contact InjuryNET: 1300 031 057 or DET@injurynet.com.au. Alternatively, you can log in at InjuryNet. All calls and emails will be responded to on the same day with comprehensive advice provided within 24 hours.

Staying Safe and Well at Work: Policies, guidance, procedures and systems to support health, safety and wellbeing

Safe and Well in Education Strategy

Putting health, safety and wellbeing at the centre of everything we do

The Victorian public education system relies on its employees being their best every day. The Department is committed to ensuring that its employees across Victoria are safe and well across every one of its workplaces.

The Safe and Well in Education Strategy outlines a five-year roadmap for the Department to systematically enhance and support health, safety and wellbeing outcomes for all of its employees. It specifically outlines a greater focus on practical supports for employee mental health and wellbeing.

It works in conjunction with the Safe and Well in Education Framework to assist everyone at the Department understand their health, safety and wellbeing accountabilities and responsibilities, and the supports available to acquit those, to ultimately improve the performance of Victorian Government schools.

The working environment impacts both employees and students – this Strategy is part of our commitment to excellent and to make that environment as healthy as it can be.

For more information, see: Safe and Well in Education Strategy

Safe and Well in Education Framework

The best safety culture is based on a fair allocation of responsibility

The Department is the largest employer in Victoria with approximately 90,000 staff in our workplaces that span schools, central and regional offices. Through our employees, the Department helps deliver the Education State agenda – to give every Victorian the best learning and development experience by building a world class education system. Education excellence relies on the health and wellbeing of our staff. Their wellbeing contributes to a positive culture and maximises teaching and learning outcomes.

All Department employees need to play their part and participate in building a culture that prioritises health, safety, and wellbeing. The best way to improve safety culture is through the fair distribution of responsibilities. By working smarter as a coordinated system, responsibilities can be distributed fairly across the Department to help build an engaged workforce and reduce workload intensity faced by our school leaders.

For more information, see: Safe and Well in Education Framework

OHS Management System

The Department's OHS processes are administered through the OHS Management System (OHSMS), which is a set of plans, actions, and procedures that are co-located and work together to ensure employees across Victoria remain safe an well in every work environment in accordance with relevant laws and compliance codes.

To access the System, see: OHS Management System.

Health, Safety and Wellbeing Policy

The Department is committed to creating an environment where employees are safe and well and have the opportunity to flourish.

The Department's approach to employees' wellbeing is directed by the Safe and Well in Education Strategy and the Health, Safety and Wellbeing Policy. The Policy's key themes are:

  • preventing workplace injuries and illnesses
  • enhancing workplace culture
  • consulting, collaborating and communicating with employees, health and safety representatives and other groups within the Department
  • allocating adequate resources
  • providing transparent and robust information, training and instructions and documentation
  • driving continuous health, safety and wellbeing improvement.

For more information, see: Health, Safety and Wellbeing Policy

Mental Health and Wellbeing Procedure and Guide

The Mental Health and Wellbeing Procedure and Guide provide support and advice that will result in better health and safety outcomes.

The Procedure outlines the risk management methodology by which the Department identifies potential risks, and assists with the establishment of appropriate measures to manage and support mental health and wellbeing of employees.

The Guide outlines the occupational health and safety requirements for the management of mental health and wellbeing hazards, and provides useful and practical information on how to support a mentally healthy workplace.

To access the Mental Health and Wellbeing Procedure, see: Mental Health and Wellbeing Procedure

To access the Mental Health and Wellbeing Guide, see: Mental Health and Wellbeing Guide

Mental Health and Wellbeing Charter

The Department's approach to employee mental health and wellbeing is led by its support of the Whole of Victorian Government Mental Health and Wellbeing Charter, with its strong commitment to improving health and wellbeing across the public sector at all levels.

For the Department, this means taking action to put in place policies and strategies that build positive mental wellbeing and prevent mental injury and illness.

It means removing related stigma, and being committed to the wellbeing of staff by having relevant, evidence-based, well-designed programs and policies, and offering staff a targeted range of supports and resources.

If an employee does experience a mental illness or injury, there are procedures and practical actions to support their recovery and sustainable return to work.

For more information, see: Mental Health and Wellbeing Charter

Respectful Workplaces

A respectful work environment is positive for everyone. When we are engaged with and feel supported by our workplace, we tend to be our most productive and innovative. The Respectful Workplaces portal contains e-learning modules, policies and procedures, resources and additional support to help you understand what a respectful workplace looks like and how you can help create a workplace that is healthy, safe, inclusive and free from bullying, harassment and discrimination.

To access the portal, see: Respectful Workplaces

Flexible work arrangements

The Department recognises employing people from a variety of backgrounds with different experiences makes its workforce stronger and better at adapting to change. We acknowledge that flexible and family-friendly work practices are important. If you think a flexible work arrangement could support your work and life or family commitments, talk to your manager.

For more information, see: Flexible Work for Work-Life Balance