Safe and well

We believe prevention is better than cure – for our staff as well as for our regulatory operations. So we start by giving staff information and resources to support their wellbeing. But we also provide extra support when their resilience is tested – as it very much has been in the last few years.

facemaskSupport during the COVID-19 pandemic

We put in place a wide range of resources to support staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. We ran a staff hotline; continued ‘Road to recovery’ engagement with staff through surveys and communications; offered wellbeing programs, training and resources; and supported staff as they started working more from an office, while still offering flexibility.

‘We also relaxed the bandwidth of our core working hours,’ says Director of Capability and Talent, Erin Torsello. ‘This gave people, especially carers and home-schooling parents, more flexibility. We also let people get their vaccinations during work hours. These little things can make a big difference to people’s mental health.’


We put in place a wide range of resources to support staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Guidance and training

We continue to develop the safety documentation and guidance our staff need. Core training courses we ran this year included:

  • Dealing with threatening and aggressive behaviours
  • 4WD and defensive driver training
  • First aid – general and remote
  • CPR refresher training
  • Managing for team wellbeing.

A safety-aware culture

Our focus on safety and wellbeing is reflected in our reporting and discussions at the Executive level, in Board reports, in Audit and Risk Committee reports, and in ‘deep dives’ to explore risks and opportunities to improve. The Executive reviews safety measures and pays attention to safety reporting and discussions. At the EPA wellbeing, health and safety is very much a priority foreveryone. n

EPA claims and reports






Incidents, accidents and injuries reported






Workers compensation claims made






Value of workers compensation claims*






* Based on net incurred

Staff chatting in the officeAre they really OK?

On 9 September 2021 EPA staff across all divisions and locations came together online to mark RUOK? Day.

This day formed part of our broader program focused on wellbeing and led into mental health month (October 2021). Our online event covered topics from ‘wellbeing during lockdown and beyond’ and time management to Qigong sessions (breath, posture, movement, relaxation and concentration).

It reflected our commitment to supporting team members as whole people, and recognising that ‘RUOK’ conversations are for every day, not just one day of the year.

decorativeThe last few years have been challenging for individuals, families and communities.

The theme for 2021 was ‘Are they really OK?’. Admitting you’re not coping with life’s ups and downs isn’t always easy.

To keep these conversations happening we need to create an environment where people feel supported in raising how they feel.

‘The EPA has always been a strong supporter of RUOK? Day and its focus on mental health and wellbeing,’ says our Director of Capability and Talent, Erin Torsello. ‘The day is an opportunity for colleagues to chat about things that might be causing them some anxiety and to listen to others’ stories.’

We’re building team cultures that encourage RUOK conversations. We know that the last few years have been challenging for individuals, families and communities. Everyone has gone through the COVID-19 pandemic and has witnessed its effect on society, health, the economy and everyday life.

Many of us have had to work more from home. Some of us have also had to home-school children. And some of us have been ill.

In addition, our teams have been working with communities ravaged by fires and floods. Meeting with colleagues online over a cuppa and talking frankly about mental health issues is a great way to build our resilience.

Folks with spokes

EPA staff took part in Biketober 2021. We scored a very impressive second place in the ‘medium-sized organisation’ category, just pipped at the post by Wollongong City Council.

Biketober is a month-long event that coincides with October’s Mental Health Awareness month. People sign up for Biketober to improve their physical and mental health, and to encourage more people to ride bikes.

‘I love cycling. It keeps me sane’

In 2021 the EPA was well represented by 102 cycling enthusiasts . This was the fourth year we’d taken part.

 a helmeted bike rider in front of the fernleigh track sign‘I really enjoyed our Biketober social ride along Newcastle’s premier bike path, the Fernleigh Track,’ said Mitchell Bennett from the EPA’s Newcastle office. ‘Cycling is a great way to stay fit, enjoy the outdoors and socialise with a minimal carbon footprint.’

Even when injured you can do your rides at home like Julian Thompson, from the EPA’s Queanbeyan office, who clocked up his klicks on a home trainer in his garage. ‘I love cycling. It keeps me sane,’ he says. ‘Fifty per cent of it is for staying fit and fifty per cent is for mental health. Biketober is a great initiative all round.’

EPA staff rode a combined 30,000 km during Biketober 2021. The winning division was Regulatory Operations, topping the tally by riding over 2,200 km.