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Health and Safety - Hazard Management Procedure

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Section 1 - Summary

(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, visitors and volunteers from hazards within the University environment or University practices.

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

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Section 2 - Scope

(3) This Procedure applies across the University and to all University employees, contractors, students, volunteers 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 a person(s) or damage to property.

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

(7) Hierarchy of Control: The hierarchy of control ranks risk control measures from most effective to least effective as per below. These are:

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

(8) Likelihood: The probability or frequency of an adverse event happening.

(9) OHS risk: A description of the likelihood and consequence of a hazard causing an injury or illness. Refer to the 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: The overall process of risk identification, risk analysis and risk evaluation.

(13) Risk Control: The method(s) by which action is taken to eliminate or reduce the risk of harm (see  hierarchy of control)

(14) SWMS (Safe Work Method Statement): A document that outlines the tasks, the potential hazards, and how those hazards are to be managed for an activity. May also be referred to as Safe Operating Procedure (SOP) or Job Safety Analysis (JSA).

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Section 4 - Policy / Regulation

(15) Health and Safety Policy

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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 the risk of injury or illness.
- Attend training on hazard identification and risk minimisation if required to carry out their roles.
- 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 into VU Hazard and Incident Reporting System.
Executives and Senior Leaders - Understand your safety leadership responsibilities and accountabilities. 
- Proactively identify risks (on Risk Register) and hazards for the work environment(s) within their area of responsibility. 
- Monitor information on incidents and injuries, ensure controls are reviewed as part of investigation.
- Allocate reasonable resources for the implementation of controls to minimise risk, so far as reasonably practicable.
Managers and Supervisors - Understand your safety leadership responsibilities and accountabilities. 
- 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 VU Hazard and Incident Reporting System.
- Investigate reported hazards, incidents and injuries and eliminate or implement changes to reduce the risk of exposure to the hazards. 
- 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 safety risks for 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 risk assessments completed by students for research projects.
OHS Team - Provide advice on risk assessment process and 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.

Part B - OHS Hazard Management Program

(16) 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.

(17) The OHS Hazard Management Program should ensure that OHS risks are eliminated or minimised.

(18) 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 a risk assessment

(19) Risk assessments must be undertaken when there is a risk 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);
  4. Prior to the commencement of the new activity;
  5. When an injury or near miss occurs (details to recorded in the Hazard/ Incident Reporting System).

Who Must be Involved

(20) Risk assessments must be completed by a team of people, including the person undertaking the task and their Supervisor.

(21) There should also be consultation with:

  1. The health and safety representative(s) of the area;
  2. Other people who may be affected by the changes;
  3. HSW business partner; and
  4. A relevant external organisation or subject matter expert (when appropriate).


(22) 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.

(23) It may be helpful to collect:

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

Hazard Identification

(24) 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.

(25) Potential hazards should 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 recorded. 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 the risk has not been reduced to as low as reasonably practicable or if 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 Where possible, the elimination of risk should always be the first consideration. If elimination is not possible a combination of controls may need to be implemented to ensure exposure to the risk is as low as is reasonably practicable.
Substitution Substitution of a less hazardous alternative.
Engineering Mechanical aids
Isolation Changing processes, equipment or tools, e.g. Machinery guards, Interlocking devices
Administrative Controls Information, training and procedures, e.g. Job rotation, Limiting access, Permit to work systems, Safe operating procedures, Training, Signage
Personal Protective Equipment Laboratory coat, safety glasses, safety boots, hearing protection, gloves.

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

(34) The Manager/Supervisor 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 reviewed 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 timeframe 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 systems of work, equipment used or changes to the work environment should prompt a review of the work processes.

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

Risk Registers

(40) The VU Audit and Risk Management Unit are responsible for the development and maintenance of a VU enterprise Risk Register.

(41) A divisional level OHS risk register is developed to allow Senior Leaders to monitor the 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 the progress of work to reduce the residual risk to low rating.

Framework Link from Reporting System to OHS Risk Register and Assessments

(42) Any gaps found from auditing will be entered into VU Hazard/ Incident Reporting system and reference number added to the OHS risk register. The required actions will be recorded within the VU Hazard/ Incident Reporting system. All identified actions must include a completion date and the name of the person responsible for the action.

(43) 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.

(44) Some incidents reported into VU Hazard/ Incident Reporting system will require by Legislation to have a risk assessment review. The risk assessment can be used to determine if the issue requires entering onto the risk 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

(45) All staff, students, contractors, volunteers 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.

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

Part E - Records

(47) Risk assessments must be documented using the template (and stored in a shared drive or SharePoint site).

(48) 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.

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