Tools for recruiting

Risk Matters - Summer 2021

When hiring a new staff member it is important to ensure they are able to perform the inherent requirements of the role and have the required skills, qualifications (applicable to the level of the role) and knowledge to perform the role they are employed to do.

Appropriate HR hiring policies and pre-employment checks canensure the most appropriate person is hired for the role.

Clear position descriptions and pre-employment medicals can help prevent costly injury claims in the future.

What are job dictionaries?

Job dictionaries are valuable tools for organisations as they provide stakeholders (both internal and external) with an understanding of the specific job tasks and inherent requirements of a role.

Job dictionaries can be used throughout an employee’s lifecycle including:

  • During the pre-employment process when looking to determine the appropriateness of a candidate against the inherent requirements of the role

  • Tailoring of injury prevention programs to the physical and psychological requirements and demands of the role, and

  • Identifying suitable duties in establishing a return to work program for injured workers.

Job dictionaries give both the employee and the organisation a comprehensive understanding of the specific tasks and requirements of a job role.

The job dictionary should include a breakdown of each role including:

  • The physical demands (such as lifting, pushing, pulling, and walking)

  • The postural demands (such as height of bending, reaching)

  • The frequency of these demands

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With psychological risk included in WA’s health and safety legislation, it will also be important to identify the cognitive, emotional, and organisational demands of the role and include these in job dictionaries moving forward.

Case study

How a medical assessment proved a worker’s inability to perform their job role

An injured worker appeared before the Fair Work Commission arguing he was able to perform his role following an elbow injury in 2017.

The Fair Work Commission found Costco Wholesale Australia Pty Ltd had a valid reason to dismiss the tyre fitter, with evidence showing performing even light repetitive duties posed a safety risk to him.

Costco dismissed the worker in May, following a detailed medical assessment which found he was unable to perform the requirements of his role.

The worker claimed unfair dismissal, telling Fair Work his manager had agreed to ease him back into his normal role by providing him with alternative duties.

Costco told the Commission that for two and a half years, the worker was unable to perform his duties due to the elbow injury. They told the Commission that when he returned to work on clerical duties after sustaining his injury, he only managed to attend work on about half of his rostered days. In May 2018, the worker advised he was unfit for all duties and ceased work until October. During his absence, he unsuccessfully sought workers’ compensation for the elbow injury and a psychological condition.

In April 2019, he was cleared to return to work but ceased work again later that year, after complaining his repetitive tasks were straining his right arm, and he found it difficult to remain in a standing position while performing light duties in a member services area.

He lodged another workers’ compensation claim for a re-aggravation of the elbow injury in August 2019, but it was rejected.

Costco said it undertook a thorough process before deciding to dismiss the worker, and contended it needed to do so to satisfy its obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Victoria).

The Fair Work Commission found Costco’s reasons for terminating the worker’s employment were sound and defensible.

A note on recruitment

Recruitment relates to the process of attracting suitable candidates. Selection is the latter stage of recruitment, namely the decision stage, where suitable applicants are chosen.

As with many matters pertaining to local governments in WA, recruitment and selection is legislated via the Local Government Act (1995) S5.40 Principles.

Your local government should always follow your own recruitment and selection protocols to ensure both legislative compliance and procedural fairness. Having an updated position description (that is in line with the comprehensive job dictionary) that describes the physical and psychological tasks required to perform the role will enable you to identify the most appropriate candidate – without asking inappropriate questions.

If you require assistance or advice regarding recruitment and selection, please contact the WALGA Employee Relations team on [email protected] or call 1300 366 956.

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Tools for recruiting

When hiring a new staff member it is important to ensure they are able to perform the inherent
requirements of the role and have the required skills, qualifications (applicable to the level of the role) and knowledge to perform the role they are employed to do.

Read more »