The health, safety and wellbeing of staff and students is a priority for the department. The department takes all staff health concerns seriously and where issues or concerns are raised, works with staff and specialists across a range of fields to address them.
Investigating health concerns
Over the years, a number of departmental workplaces, in particular schools, have raised concerns regarding the incidence of cancer within their school communities. In Queensland, cancer is a common disease with one in every two men and one in every two women developing some type of cancer by the age of 85 years.
The department works collaboratively with Queensland Health to review and assess concerns raised by department staff in relation to cancer and other health concerns. As a result of this working relationship, both departments have established robust assessment practices to respond to concerns raised by staff. To formalise this collaborative arrangement, a
Working Agreement (PDF, 1.7MB) has been established to ensure the continued effective management of staff health concerns. A
Data Collection Guideline (PDF, 306KB) has been developed to support workplaces with this process.
Queensland Health provides the following fact sheets about the common types of cancer and the incidence (or rate) at which it occurs in the community.
Specific information about cancer types and risk factors is available by accessing the following websites:
Concerns raised by school communities have been investigated extensively in the past and a series of protocols have been developed to address and investigate cancer concerns by staff. The approach will depend on the situation and may include a combination of the following:
- Regular information and support to the school staff and community about cancer incidence, counselling support and the department's strategy.
- Liaison with the Department of Environment and Science and/or Brisbane City Council regarding former uses of the site.
- Consultation with health professionals from Queensland Health, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and the Cancer Council of Queensland for specialist advice and support.
- Information briefings for school staff conducted by health specialists.
- Assessment of the site through environmental testing and sampling.
- Communication with employee and employer associations to ensure accurate information is conveyed to stakeholders.