Health and Safety

Health and Safety Policy

Policy Code: CG1720

Purpose

This policy aims to:

  1. affirm the commitment of the University to:
    • provide and maintain, as far as reasonably practicable, an environment that is without risks to the health and safety of members of the University community;
    • integrate hazards management into the core responsibilities of Supervisors and Managers of the University; and
    • plan the management of incidents, emergencies and critical incidents within the scope of this policy.
  2. describe the critical features of the University's approach to health and safety management and the responsibilities assigned to staff to provide this safe and healthy environment;
  3. describe the structures in place at the University for giving all employees adequate representation and consultation in relation to the health and safety issues that affect them at work;
  4. commit resources to the management of incidents and emergencies; and
  5. clarify the level of indemnity and possible liabilities arising for employees of the University from performing Health and Safety Functions.

Scope

This policy applies to all University Activities and all members of the University Community. 

Definitions

Term Definition
As far as reasonably practicable (for risk control)

Means practicable having regard to:

  • the severity of the hazard or risk in question;
  • the state of knowledge about that hazard or risk and any ways of removing or mitigating that risk;
  • the availability and suitability of ways to remove or mitigate that hazard or risk; and
  • the cost of removing or mitigating that hazard or risk.
Critical incident

An event or series of events that create an immediate or imminent threat of serious harm and/or trauma to members of the University community and that requires – in addition to the operational response to the emergency – a corporate response from FedUni’s senior managers.

Examples include:

  • fatal or life-threatening accident somehow connected to the University;
  • murder, suicide, serious injury, serious physical or sexual assault on campus or in the context of University-endorsed activities;
  • fire, explosion, structural collapse, bomb threat, serious chemical spill, natural disaster or environmental accident somehow connected to the University;
  • serious health issue among members of the University community (e.g. outbreak of infectious disease among students).
Designated Work Group (DWG) A group of employees constituted in accordance with the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004.
Emergency

Any sudden danger that requires an immediate response to prevent severe injury, illness, damage or distress.

Examples include:

  • uncontrolled fires;
  • life threatening injuries and illnesses, and the threat of such injuries and illnesses;
  • serious spillages or releases of dangerous chemicals.
Emergency Control Personnel

Any employee of the University who has been appointed under the Incident and Emergency Management Procedure or under the local adaptations of this procedure to the function of Campus Warden, Area Warden or their Deputies.  Refer to the Wardens and Designated Assembly Points record.

During emergencies, evacuations and practice drills, the Campus Warden and Deputy Campus Warden wear white helmets; the Area Wardens and Deputy Area Wardens wear yellow helmets or vests.

Hazard The potential to cause harm to a person or to the natural environment.
Hazards management The structured process of hazard identification, risk assessment and control (HIRAC) aimed at providing a safe and healthy environment for all members of the University community whilst on University premises or whilst engaged in University activities.
Health and safety functions

Functions assigned to specific employees under health and safety policies and procedures of the University. 

The functions of Emergency Control Personnel (Area and Campus Wardens and their deputies), Health and Safety Representatives, University First Aiders, and members of Health and Safety Teams are included.  The health and safety responsibilities of Supervisors and Managers are not included in this definition.

Health and safety issue Any condition or event associated with the work of University employees that is, or is perceived to be, hazardous.
Health and Safety Representative (HSR) An employee of the University who has been elected to the position of Representative in accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004.
Incident Any unplanned event that causes (or has the potential to cause) an injury or illness to any person and/or damage to equipment, buildings, plant or the natural environment.  Incidents range from minor incidents to serious incidents, emergencies and critical incidents.
Injury or illness Any physical or mental harm incurred by any person (called casualty) whilst present on University premises or engaged in University activities.  It includes the recurrence or aggravation of any pre-existing injury or illness, and any illness that becomes apparent on University grounds, even if unrelated to the University.
Risk A combination of the likelihood and severity of harm arising from a hazard.
Senior manager Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Chief Operating Officer, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Executive Dean, Executive Director, Director and Registrar.  (Note: where managers report directly to a DVC/COO/PVC, they are treated throughout this policy and all associated procedures as “Directors”.)
Serious incident

An incident which results in:

  • the death of any person; or
  • a person requiring medical treatment within 48 hours of being exposed to a substance; or
  • a person requiring immediate hospital treatment as an in-patient in a
  • hospital; or
  • a person requiring immediate medical treatment for:
  • amputation;
  • serious head injury;
  • serious eye injury;
  • separation of skin from underlying tissue (for example de-gloving or scalping);
  • electric shock;
  • spinal injury;
  • loss of bodily function; or
  • serious laceration.

It also includes dangerous occurrences which seriously endanger the lives or the health and safety of people in the immediate vicinity.  Such dangerous occurrences include:

  • collapse, overturning, failure or malfunction of, or damage to, items of plant such as cranes, scaffolds, boilers etc.;
  • collapse or failure of an excavation or the shoring support of an excavation;
  • collapse of a building or structure;
  • implosion, explosion or fire;
  • escape, spillage or leakage of substances.
Supervisor/Manager

Any employee of the University – irrespective of their position title - who:

  • plans, organizes or supervises University activities; or
  • designs or organizes the design of new/refurbished facilities for the University.

The terms "Supervisor" and "Manager" include Senior Managers.

University activity Any program, course, research, service, operation, project, function or event conducted by or for Federation University Australia, whether on University premises or not.
University community All persons who have an association with Federation University Australia, including staff, members of Council and committees, students, tenants, visitors, contractors, consultants, volunteers and people representing the University off-campus.
University premises Any property owned or occupied by the University, either wholly or in part, and includes all buildings, student and staff residences and all land defined and/or associated with the University.  It includes any public area located within University premises and can include a public area adjacent to University premises if relevant to this policy and its associated procedure.
Workplace change

A change that may affect the health or safety of University employees, and that relates to:

  • a workplace under the management and control of the University;
  • the plant, chemicals or other things used at such a workplace; or
  • the conduct of the work performed at such a workplace.

Health and Safety Management

The University is committed to provide and maintain, as far as is reasonably practicable, an environment that is without risks to the health and safety of members of the University community.

The University fulfils this commitment through the development, implementation and monitoring of comprehensive health and safety management systems.  The main elements of these management systems are:

  • the responsibility of Senior Managers for all health and safety aspects of the operations they manage, and their accountability for health and safety performance;
  • annual health and safety performance targets set by Senior Managers and reflecting a commitment to continuous improvement;
  • an annual cycle of health and safety planning and reporting that is integrated in the operating planning process of Faculties/Directorates/Colleges/Centres; and
  • a systematic and thorough process of identification, assessment and control of health and safety risks integrated in the planning and conduct of all University Activities, with legal requirements only considered as minimum requirements.

Employee Representation

All employees of the University have a right to effective representation on the health and safety aspects of their work.  The University not only recognises that right, but promotes effective representation as an integral part of its commitment to health and safety.  The University will:

  1. make time available for elected Representatives to:
    • attend health and safety training sessions (see Health and Safety Representative Procedure);
    • prepare for and attend Health and Safety Team meetings;
    • consult with the employees they represent and other Representatives if necessary;
    • inspect the workplaces of the employees they represent;
    • participate in accident investigations and the follow-up of corrective actions; and
    • accompany WorkSafe Inspectors who visit their Designated Work Group.
  2. put in place health and safety consultative structures (Health and Safety Teams);
  3. develop and implement a procedure for the resolution of health and safety issues;
  4. develop and implement a procedure for consultation with the Representatives of employees whose health or safety may be affected by proposed workplace changes;
  5. ensure that appropriate allowances are made in the budgets of Faculties/Directorates/Colleges/Centres for expenses related to the resolution of Health and Safety Issues and to the activities of the Health and Safety Implementation Teams; and
  6. monitor, in consultation with Representatives, the suitability and effectiveness of Designated Work Groups, and make changes as required.

Health and Safety Teams

To support its approach to the provision of a safe working and learning environment, the University has three levels of teams to address health and safety issues.  These are:

  • University Health and Safety Policy Committee;
  • Health and Safety Coordinating Teams; and
  • Health and Safety Implementation Teams.

University Health and Safety Policy Committee (UHSPC)

Terms of Reference

Reporting to the Vice-Chancellor (VC), the UHSPC is the health and safety committee required under section 72 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 2004.  The UHSPC considers and makes recommendations for compliance and improvement on University-wide health and safety matters relating to

  • the performance of portfolios against the requirements of the University’s health and safety management system;
  • the prevention of injuries and illnesses among members of the University community;
  • employee consultation regarding health and safety issues and workplace change;
  • the management of incidents and emergencies arising in the context of University activities;
  • the rehabilitation and compensation of injured university employees;
  • legislative compliance, auditing programs and monitoring the implementation of actions incorporated in Annual OHS Plans; and
  • the performance of the University in relation to health and safety.

Membership

The UHSPC is chaired by a Senior Manager nominated by the Vice-Chancellor, and comprises Management Representatives and Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) who represent the portfolios of the University.  At least half the voting members of the UHSPC must be HSRs.  The UHSPC also seeks input from invited representatives of the student body and the University's specialist health and safety staff.

Role Member(s)
Chair A Senior Manager nominated by the VC
Members (voting) Each portfolio is represented by one Senior Manager and one HSR
Executive Officer (non-voting) Manager - Risk, Health and Safety
Invited Representatives (non-voting) Heads of Western and Gippsland Campuses; Higher Education and TAFE student representatives; and representatives from Facilities Services, the Victorian Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, and the Risk, Health and Safety Department

Note: Non-voting participants do not have full member status for the purpose of complying with Clause 72(2) of the OHS Act, 2004.  A vote, conducted only when a consensus cannot be reached, only involves the Members present.  If the votes are tied, the Chair holds a casting vote.

Meetings

The UHSPC must meet at least once every three months to comply with statutory requirements and to coincide with the planning and reporting cycle of the University's health and safety management system.  In addition, extraordinary meetings must be held at any time if at least half of the voting members require it. 

The Risk, Health and Safety department provides administrative support to the UHSPC.  UHSPC recommendations are made directly to the VC. 

The quorum for UHSPC meetings is achieved when half or more of the voting members attend.

Meetings of the UHSPC must be minuted, and the minutes published on the University website.

Health and Safety Coordinating Teams (HSCTs)

Terms of Reference

Reporting to the UHSPC, the HSCTs coordinate health and safety compliance and improvements across portfolios or campuses (Western campuses, Gippsland campus and Berwick campus). 

Portfolio-based HSCTs:

  • monitor that Faculties/Directorates/Colleges/Centres are implementing all relevant elements of the health and safety management systems in compliance with the planning and reporting cycle;
  • monitor the implementation of actions incorporated in the Health and Safety Plans of the Faculties/Directorates/Colleges/Centres;
  • coordinate the provision of assistance and support to Faculties/Directorates/Colleges/Centres regarding health and safety improvements;
  • share information arising from one Faculty/Directorate/College/Centre that is relevant to others and act as a consultative forum; and
  • make submissions to the UHSPC for amendments or additions to the University's health and safety management systems, for University-wide initiatives, etc. 

Campus-based HSCTs:

  • monitor the health and safety conditions on campus that are not under the control of any one Faculty/Directorate/College/Centre or that affect more than one Faculty/Directorate/College/Centre;
  • contribute to the provision of assistance and support to Faculties/Directorates/Colleges/Centres regarding health and safety improvements;
  • share health and safety information that is relevant to Faculties/Directorates/Colleges/Centres that operate on the campus (e.g. hazards and incidents); and
  • make submissions to the UHSPC for amendments or additions to the University's health and safety management systems, for University-wide initiatives, etc.

Membership

Role Member(s)
Chair DVC/Chief Operating Officer or nominee (portfolio-based HSCTs)
Head of Campus or nominee (campus-based HSCTs)
Members Executive Deans/Directors/Safety Officers and HSRs
Administration Support Portfolio/campus administrative staff member

Members of the Risk, Health and Safety Department may attend any HSCT meeting as observers/advisers. 

Meetings

The HSCTs must meet towards the end of every calendar quarter to coincide with the health and safety planning and reporting cycle. 

The quorum for HSCT meetings is achieved when half or more of members attend. Written notes of HSCT meetings must be taken and circulated to all members, with a copy sent to the Risk, Health and Safety Department. 

Faculty/Directorate/College/Centre Health and Safety Implementation Teams (HSITs)

Terms of Reference

The HSITs usually operate at the level of each Designated Work Group or at the level of Faculties/Directorates/Colleges/Centres.  They report to the relevant portfolio-based HSCT.  The role of the HSIT is to coordinate the compliance of the Faculty/Directorate/College/Centre or Designated Work Group with University health and safety requirements and to coordinate health and safety improvements. 

HSITs:

  • coordinate the practical implementation of the Annual OHS Plans;
  • monitor compliance with all aspects of health and safety legislation, policies and procedures;
  • focus on the practical identification of hazards, and the elimination/reduction of risks in Faculty/Directorate/College/Centre activities by conducting HIRAC reviews, monitoring the implementation of corrective actions after incidents, planning for local incidents and emergencies, etc.; and
  • make submissions to the relevant Portfolio Health and Safety Coordinating Team.

Membership

Each HSIT is chaired by the Executive Dean/Director or nominee. The membership of the HSIT consists of the relevant management representatives, the local HSRs, and other employee representatives.

Role Member(s)
Chair Executive Dean/Director or nominee
Members Relevant management representatives, local HSRs, other employee representatives
Administration Support Faculty/Directorate/College/Centre administration support

Meetings

The HSITs typically meet at least once per quarter about a fortnight before the HSCTs. 

The quorum for HSIT meetings is achieved when half or more of members attend. Written notes of HSIT meetings must be taken and circulated to all members, with a copy sent to the Risk, Health and Safety Department. 

Members of the Risk, Health and Safety Department may attend any HSIT meeting as observers/advisers. 

Hazards Management

Hazards Management forms an essential element of the University’s health and safety program.  Therefore, all Supervisors and Managers must integrate the management of hazards associated with the areas and activities under their control within their day-to-day responsibilities.

The University will:

  1. develop, publish, and maintain procedures for the identification of hazards, and the assessment and control of risks for existing, new and proposed elements of the work environment;
  2. develop and conduct training sessions for Supervisors, Managers and Health and Safety Representatives;
  3. allocate resources for the implementation of risk control measures;
  4. monitor the implementation of this policy and related procedures; and
  5. assign responsibilities in relation to the implementation of this policy and related procedures.

Incident and Emergency Management

The proper management of incidents, injuries, illnesses and emergencies forms an essential element of the University’s health and safety responsibilities. 

The University will:

  1. develop, publish, and maintain procedures for:
    1. the appropriate treatment of injuries and illnesses;
    2. the prompt reporting and investigation of incidents, injuries and illnesses;
    3. the implementation of corrective actions following incidents;
    4. the management of foreseeable emergencies and critical incidents;
  2. inform the University community of the details of the procedures;
  3. develop and conduct training sessions for Supervisors, Managers, Health and Safety Representatives, Emergency Control Personnel, and University First-Aiders;
  4. allocate resources for the implementation of incident, injury and emergency management measures;
  5. monitor the implementation of this policy and related procedures; and
  6. assign responsibilities in relation to the implementation of this policy and related procedures.

Indemnity of Staff with Health and Safety Functions

The legal obligations of the University as an employer shield employees from personal liability for any negligence on their part (i.e. falling short of the required standard of care) in the course of their duties.

When performing Health and Safety Functions, employees are acting in the course of their employment at the University. The University is therefore bound by law, as well as by policy decision, to accept the legal and financial consequences of all actions performed in good faith by employees performing Health and Safety Functions or performed by other people under instruction or advice given in good faith by employees performing Health and Safety Functions.

Employees remain liable for deliberate, malicious or vindictive acts or advice that causes damage to others.

When managing incidents or emergencies, employees covered by this policy are required to exercise such care for the safety and welfare of others as would be expected of a reasonable, non-professional Warden, First Aider, etc., who has had some degree of training and instruction, and who is faced with the emergency or incident which actually arose. 

In non-emergency situations, the health and safety functions of employees covered by this policy are essentially advisory.  When giving health and safety advice, employees are required to exercise, within the limits of their expertise, reasonable care as to the accuracy and suitability of the advice given with regard to the safety and welfare of the people who may receive it and act upon it.

Responsibility

  • The Vice-Chancellor of the University is ultimately responsible for the policy, and is accountable for the performance of the University in relation to this policy.  The Vice-Chancellor will ensure specific and sufficient allocations of resources are made for health and safety management processes, employee representation and consultation, hazards management, and incident and emergency management.
  • The University Health and Safety Policy Committee is responsible for monitoring the implementation, outcomes and scheduled review of this policy and its accompanying procedure/s.
  • The Manager, Risk, Health and Safety must:
    • develop, publish and maintain University-wide procedures for the implementation of this policy;
    • develop and conduct training sessions for Supervisors, Managers and Health and Safety Representatives; and
    • advise Supervisors and Managers in implementing the policy and related procedures.
  • Supervisors and Managers must:
    • attend training sessions organized in relation to this policy and related procedures; and
    • implement a hazards management program in the area under their control and for all the activities they plan, organize or supervise, in accordance with this policy and related procedures. (This requirement may include developing and implementing departmental procedures adapting University-wide documents for the local conditions.)
  • Health and Safety Representatives must:
    • attend training sessions organized in relation to this policy and related procedures; and
    • assist local Supervisors and Managers in implementing a hazards management program in the area and for the work group they represent.
  • Contractors must, upon request from their University Supervisor or Manager, give details of the hazards relating to their activities, and of the measures they have adopted to control the risks. They will comply with the risk control measures specified by the University that apply to their activities.
  • All employees, contractors, students, and visitors must comply with the relevant requirements of this policy and related procedures.  They must inform themselves of safety measures applicable to their activities.  They must keep themselves aware of incident and emergency instructions, for instance by attending relevant training and regularly referring to the Local Emergency Instructions for the buildings they use.
  • University First-Aiders and Emergency Control Personnel must attend training organized in relation to this policy and related procedures.

Promulgation

The Health and Safety Policy will be communicated throughout the University community in the form of:

  • an Announcement Notice via FedNews website and on the ‘Recently Approved Documents’ page on the ‘Policies, Procedures and Forms @ the University’ website; and
  • an email to Executive Deans and Directors, Health and Safety Representatives and Chairs of Health and Safety Implementation Teams.

Implementation

The Health and Safety Policy will be implemented throughout the University via:

  • an Announcement Notice via FedNews website and on the ‘Recently Approved Documents’ page on the ‘Policies, Procedures and Forms @ the University’ website; and
  • an email to Executive Deans and Directors, Health and Safety Representatives and Chairs of Health and Safety Implementation Teams.