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Health and Safety - Hazard Management Procedure

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Section 1 - Purpose / Objectives

(1) Ensure that Victoria University has a system established to eliminate or reduce risk of injury or illness, as far as reasonably practicable, to all employees, students, contractors and volunteers from hazards within the University environment or University practises.

(2) Prescribe a system of hazard identification, assessment and control, with appropriate record keeping and monitoring.

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Section 2 - Scope / Application

(3) This procedure applies across the University and to all University employees, contractors, students and visitors.

(4) The process and tools in this document are to be applied to occupational health and safety hazards and risks only.

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Section 3 - Definitions

(5) Consequence: The outcome of the event of exposure to the hazard. In OHS terms this is an injury or illness to the person/people exposed.

(6) Hazard: Anything that has the potential to cause harm, injury, illness.

(7) Hierarchy of Control: The hierarchy of control ranks risk control measures in decreasing order of desirability and effectiveness. These are:

  1. Elimination — remove the hazard;
  2. Substitution — exchange the hazard for a lesser one;
  3. Isolation — separate people from the hazard;
  4. Engineering — Use physical barriers, equipment;
  5. Administrative — Procedures, information, training to assist people manage the risk;
  6. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) — worn by people to provide protection.

(8) Likelihood: The chance of something happening. This can be assessed using the duration of the activity, the number of people involved and the evidence of historical.

(9) OHS risk: A description of the likelihood and consequence of a hazard causing an injury or illness. Refer to Risk Management Procedure for risk matrix and ratings.

(10) Reasonably practicable: In relation to ensuring health and safety -

  1. the likelihood of the hazard or risk concerned eventuating;
  2. the degree of harm that would result if the hazard or risk eventuated;
  3. what the person concerned knows, or ought reasonably to know, about the hazard or risk and any ways of eliminating or reducing the hazard or risk;
  4. the availability and suitability of ways to eliminate or reduce the hazard or risk;
  5. the cost of eliminating or reducing the hazard or risk.

(11) Risk analysis: A quantitative or qualitative method to rank a risk using a matrix.

(12) Risk Assessment: In this document the phrase is used as a general term for the process of identification, assessment and control of a hazard.

(13) SWMS: Safe Work Method Statement.

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Section 4 - Policy Statement

(14) Nil

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Section 5 - Procedures

Part A - Roles and Responsibilities

Roles Responsibilities
Everyone working at VU - Comply with the instructions within this procedure.
- Follow instructions as part of VU's duty to minimise risk of injury or illness.
- Attend training on hazard identification and risk minimisation if required to carry out their roles safely.
- Identify and report potential hazards in relation to their own work and environment.
- Assist others in minimising risk and do not put others at risk in all aspects of work.
- Record hazards and risk by entering into Hazard and Incident Reporting System.
Executives and Leaders - Encourage discussion and introduction of identification and control of OHS hazards and risks.
- Monitor information on injuries, ensure controls are reviewed as part of investigation.
- Allocate reasonable resources for implementation of controls to minimise risk, as far as reasonably practicable.
- Participate in audits of OHS management system.
Managers and Supervisors - Identify potential OHS risks within job descriptions and particular tasks.
- Use hazard identification tools prior to any purchase and/or before introducing any new task or equipment to the workplace or activities.
- Ensure induction, instruction, training and supervision is provided to all employees, students and others to eliminate or minimise the risk from hazards.
- Use the hierarchy of control when implementing controls in the workplace and in relation to work related activities.
- Ensure record of hazards and incidents are entered into the online database.
- Continually review the risk control measures.
- Participate in audits of the OHS management system.
Teachers, Academic Staff and Researchers - Provide induction, instruction, training and supervision to minimise risks for themselves and their students.
- Use hazard identification tools prior to any purchase and/or before introducing any new task or equipment to University activities.
- Sign approval for assessments completed by students for research projects.
OHS Team - Provide advice on minimising risk as requested.
- Ensure distribution of any information on innovative controls, issue alerts and improve procedures where necessary.
- Source and coordinate appropriate training for OHS hazard identification and control.
- Monitor results when new controls have been introduced as part of incident investigations and audit plans.
- Audit against this procedure for compliance and assist with continuous improvement.
- Assist Departments and Colleges with Divisional Operational Risk Register maintenance.

Part B - OHS Hazard Management Program

(15) Victoria University has adopted a policy and procedure for risk management based on AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009. The approach is a stepped process to identify hazards, assess and prioritise the identified risk, implement control measures and review the effectiveness of risk control measures.

(16) The OHS Hazard Management Program should ensure that OHS risks are eliminated or minimized.

(17) The OHS Hazard Management Program will be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure it is effective and relevant for VU.

Part C - OHS Risk Assessments

When to do an Assessment

(18) OHS risk management must be undertaken when there is a OHS hazard associated with:

  1. the introduction of new equipment, products, procedures or processes;
  2. the modification of equipment, procedures or processes;
  3. a change in specific circumstances that increase the risk (e.g. pregnancy; change in weather for outdoor activity).

(19) OHS risk management must be undertaken prior to the commencement of activities.

(20) OHS risk management must be undertaken when an injury or near miss occurs and then ensure this has been recorded in the Hazard/ Incident Reporting System QuickSafe.

Who Must be Involved

(21) Risk assessments must be completed by a team of people at a minimum including the person undertaking the task and the Supervisor of the task.

(22) There must be consultation with:

  1. supervisor of the area;
  2. staff undertaking the task;
  3. the health and safety representative(s) of the area;
  4. other people who may be affected by the changes; and
  5. relevant external organisation or subject matter expert (when appropriate).


(23) Gather information about the process, task or practical activity to be carried out. It may be useful to ensure that all aspects are covered by listing the steps involved.

(24) It may be helpful to collect:

  1. diagrams of the area;
  2. information on plant and equipment such as manufacturers manuals;
  3. lists of chemicals and products with safety data sheets;
  4. history of any near misses or incidents;
  5. standard operating procedures or practical laboratory manuals.

Hazard Identification

(25) Identification needs to consider the nature and type of tasks, work environment, work practices, materials, substances, plant and equipment, facilities, buildings, premises and program planning and management. Potential hazards should also be identified prior to the introduction of any new activities, teaching programs, substances, plant, equipment and in the design phase of building and refurbishment projects.

(26) Hazards may include:

Manual handling Plant and equipment Chemicals Electrical
Biological Radiation Psychological Temperature
Noise Sharps    

(27) There are specific forms available to assist with hazard identification i.e. manual handling, plant and equipment, pre-purchase, safety checklist for small events, safety checklist for major events.

(28) Once each step listed and hazards for each step have been identified - document how that hazard could result in an injury or illness.

(29) The associated risks must be recorded for each hazard or hazardous activity that is identified, and the current controls, Then determine if further action needs to be taken to prevent potential injury or illness.

Assessing the Risk Rating

(30) The assessment of the risk and qualitative rating is not required in many operational risk assessments.

(31) The rating may be useful if risk has not been reduced to as low as reasonably practicable or treatment plans need to be prioritised for resource allocation.

Risk Control

(32) Each hazard can have a number of possible control options and the 'hierarchy of control' must be used to decide which option is to be implemented.

Elimination Regulation supporting the OHS Act require the elimination of risks as the first step in risk control.
Substitution Substitution of a less hazardous alternative.
Isolation Changing processes, equipment or tools, e.g.:
- Machinery guards
- Ventilation
- Mechanical aids
If a risk to workplace health and safety remains after the above methods have been used, administrative controls should be applied or, if these are still not adequate, personal protective clothing and equipment worn. These methods of risk control should be used in conjunction with other controls and are not preferred in isolation as the potential of the risk is not eliminated or reduced.
Administrative Controls Information, training and procedures, e.g.:
- Job rotation
- Limiting access
- Permit systems
- Safe operating procedures
- Training
- Signage
Personal Protective Equipment Laboratory coat, safety glasses, closed shoes/boots, hearing protection.

(33) In some circumstances VU may employ external experts to advise on hazard identification and the most appropriate controls to be applied.

(34) The Manager of the area or the Lecturer of a course is responsible for ensuring the risk assessment process is completed and controls are in place.

Review the Assessment

(35) Managing risks is an ongoing process and all risk controls must be regularly checked to ensure they are working effectively. A schedule to regularly evaluate the effectiveness of the control measures must be established in each workplace with a maximum interval of five years.

(36) The frequency of the evaluations should be determined by the nature of the hazards and level of risk in each area.

(37) A review of the effectiveness of controls must be conducted following a workplace injury to ensure appropriate measures are taken to prevent the injury occurring again.

(38) A change in Legislation or Australian Standard should prompt a review to ensure controls are compliant with the change imposed.

Risk Registers

(39) The VU Audit and Risk Management area are responsible for the development and maintenance of a VU enterprise risk register (Risk Wizard).

(40) A divisional level OHS risk register is developed to allow Senior Leaders to monitor the key OHS risks in their area of responsibility. The register will include OHS risks that have a high/major inherent rating as measured using the VU risk matrix. Risks that are controlled but not to an acceptable level ( low) should be included to monitor progress of work to reduce the residual risk to low rating.

Framework Link from Reporting System to OHS Risk Register and Assessments

(41) Any gaps found from auditing will be entered into VU Hazard/ Incident Reporting system and reference number added to the OHS risk register. The actions will be resolved and recorded within VU Hazard/ Incident Reporting system.

(42) Any hazards identified via a report into VU Hazard/ Incident Reporting system that will need ongoing control and monitoring of those controls will be added to the register, and documented as such in VU Hazard/ Incident Reporting system notes. If the OHS issue is actioned and closed out with no required follow up it will solely reside in VU Hazard/ Incident Reporting system.

(43) Any incidents reported into VU Hazard/ Incident Reporting system that require risk assessment review by Legislation will have a risk assessment carried out and then be determined if requires entering onto the register or modification of the register. If the identified root causes are actioned and closed out with no required follow up, the report will solely reside in VU Hazard/ Incident Reporting system. Incident investigation and /or risk assessment documentation will be attached to the VU Hazard/ Incident Reporting system report.

Part D - Training

(44) All staff, students, contractors and visitors must receive appropriate induction, training and supervision relating to the risks of the work they perform or the activities they participate in. Victoria University requires evidence to be maintained of the training, information, instruction and supervision provided.

(45) All persons required to participate in the risk management program need to be appropriately trained.

Part E - Records

(46) Risk assessments must be documented using the template (OHS RISK MANAGEMENT FORM FOR ALL: LABORATORY, WORKSHOP, COURSE WORK / RESEARCH PROJECTS AND EXPERIMENTS) and stored in the College Y drive/ Student and Staff Support/OH&S/Risk Assessment.

(47) The risk assessments must be accessible to staff and students that are affected by the process. Risk assessments must be kept by the area for five years or until reviewed.

(48) As a minimum there should be a list of assessments carried out with the dates for review for a department or discipline.

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Section 6 - Guidelines

(49) Nil