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Health Safety and Wellbeing Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose / Objectives

(1) To provide a policy framework which gives all staff guidance in ensuring all employees, contractors, volunteers and students are safely conducting their work, learning and research activities.

(2) To encourage all staff as well as contractors and volunteers to adopt and maintain safe and healthy work practices with a view to preventing injuries and protecting the physical and mental health of every person involved with the University.

(3) To create a workplace environment where the health and wellbeing of employees is highly valued and where the physical environment as well as the cultural and social environment, encourage and support employees to maintain or adopt healthy lifestyles.

(4) To ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, that Victoria University is providing work environments and systems of work which are safe and free from risks to health for employees, contractors, students and volunteers, in accordance with the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004.

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Section 2 - Scope / Application

(5) This procedure applies across the University and to all University employees and contractors.

(6) All VU Employees including general staff, academics, research staff and students as staff.

(7) Students, Contractors, Volunteers and Visitors to Victoria University sites or involved in University managed activities.

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Section 3 - Definitions

(8) Nil

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Section 4 - Policy Statement

(9) Victoria University is committed to ensuring that all people that come to VU go home in as good or better condition than they arrived. All members of the University community are expected to work cooperatively to achieve the objectives stated in the Health and Safety Charter. It is our belief that all injuries are preventable.

(10) The University promotes a proactive health and safety philosophy based on effective communication and consultation. Health and safety issues that are identified are taken seriously and addressed promptly to eliminate or mitigate the risk of harm.

(11) The University is committed to managing safety in a systemic manner and will continue to progress its occupational health and safety management system (OHSMS) through a process of continuous improvement in compliance with Australian Standard 4804. This will be achieved in consultation with employees through Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) and the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Committees with the objective to prevent workplace injury and illness. All matters that may impact on safety must be consulted with the HSRs.

(12) All staff will take an active role in creating safer work places and work practices by cooperating with the University policies and procedures, taking responsibility for their own actions and not putting themselves or others at risk. All planned activities will have health, safety and wellbeing hazards identified with actions implemented to eliminate or mitigate the risks. The steps taken to identify hazards and to eliminate risks must be recorded to establish credible data which enables measurement and improvement.

(13) Whilst safety is everybody's responsibility, those who supervise others have very specific non-delegable accountabilities to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of those over whom they supervise. This essentially means that if you are responsible for supervising / managing staff or students or contractors, to the extent that you have control you must ensure their OHS. Examples of what this might look like in practice are outlined below.

  1. An academic or teacher responsible for supervising students on a field trip or in a practical class must have documented risk assessments identifying and controlling risks and they must provide adequate supervision to ensure that the activity is conducted in accordance with the risk controls that they have determined are required;
  2. A Dean must ensure that systems are in place and effective to manage the OHS of all people subject to the activities of their college;
  3. Facilities managers must ensure that lifts are fit for purpose and safe;
  4. Researchers must ensure that chemicals used in their research are the lowest risk option practicable and that they are used in a manner that ensures the safety of all that come in contact with them; and
  5. Professional Services Managers must ensure that staff members are aware of local safety rules in the area where they work and that the rules are followed at all times.

(14) The University will:

  1. Ensure compliance with relevant legislation, regulations and University policy;
  2. Promote an organisational culture that adopts health and safety as an integral component of its management philosophy;
  3. Ensure that health and safety is part of the organisational planning processes and that it is adequately resourced by all organisational units;
  4. Maintain effective forums for consultation and communication of health and safety matters;
  5. Maintain an effective process for resolving health and safety issues and managing health and safety risks;
  6. Seek out relevant current and developing industry best practice for controlling identified hazards and introduce those controls as far as reasonably practicable into every aspect of planning and delivering University activity;
  7. Provide infrastructure and fittings which are fit for purpose and pose no risk to health and safety;
  8. Provide appropriate health and safety induction, instruction, training and supervision to minimise risk of injury or illness;
  9. Promote and encourage participation in workplace health and wellbeing initiatives within and outside the workplace;
  10. Raise awareness within the University about issues that impact on health and wellbeing, including the health benefits of physical activity and healthy eating;
  11. Establish measurable objectives and targets to ensure continued improvement aimed at elimination or reduction of work-related injury and illness, and ensure that adequate reporting mechanisms are maintained in order to facilitate this; and
  12. Plan and practise a systematic response to emergencies which may impact on the health or safety of all members of the University community.

(15) This policy is supported by a suite of procedures which are mandatory for use by all employees and contractors.

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Section 5 - Procedures

(16) The following procedures are used to support this policy:

  1. OHS Incident Reporting and Investigation Procedure
  2. Manual Handling Procedure
  3. Workplace First Aid Procedure
  4. Pets on Campus Procedure
  5. Ionising Radiation Management Procedure
  6. Confined Spaces Procedure
  7. Plant and Equipment Management Procedure
  8. Electrical Safety Procedure
  9. Asbestos Management Procedure
  10. OHS Consultation Procedure
  11. Lock-Out and Tag-Out Procedure
  12. Chemical Management Procedure
  13. Permit to Work Procedure
  14. Contractor Classification Procedure
  15. Contractor Management Procedure - Outsourcing Major Services
  16. Contractor Management Procedure - General Contractors
  17. Hazard Management Procedure
  18. Issue Resolution Procedure
  19. Others pending.
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Section 6 - Guidelines

(17) Nil