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Health and Safety - Issue Resolution Procedure

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Section 1 - Summary

(1) This Procedure provides an agreed process for ensuring that health or safety issues can be resolved in an effective and timely manner and is made pursuant to section 73(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) and section 81 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW) and section 81 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld) (the Model Work Health and Safety Act).

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Section 2 - HESF/ASQA/ESOS Alignment

(2) HESF: Standard 2.3 Wellbeing and Safety; 2.4 Student Grievances and Complaints.

(3) Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015 (Cth): Standard 8.

(4) ISO 45001:2018 – Clause 5.4 and 7.4.

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Section 3 - Scope

(5) This Procedure applies to all staff, contractors and students at the University.

(6) This Procedure applies to all complaints made by staff of the University which are specifically related to a health or safety issue. Issues for which Policies exist that have their own documented review processes (i.e Discrimination and Harassment Prevention and Management Policy) are excluded from Scope.

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Section 4 - Definitions

(7) Health and Safety Representative (HSR): is a health and safety representative of a designated work group who has been elected and holds office in accordance with Part 7 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic)

(8) Health and/or safety issue: is an unresolved dispute arising from a health and safety hazard, risk, or obligation under health and safety legislation.

(9) Elumina–QuickSafe: Program used at VU to record and report any health and safety incident, Hazard or Near-Miss. 

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Section 5 - Policy/Regulation

(10) Health and Safety Policy

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Section 6 - Procedures

Part A - Summary of Roles and Responsibilities

Roles Responsibilities
Everyone at Victoria University (VU) To follow the process outlined in this Procedure when a health and safety issue arises.
Manager and Supervisors Ensure staff are aware of the current procedure for health and safety issue resolution.

Promptly address health and safety issues that are brought to their attention in consultation with those involved or affected and ensure that the issue resolution process is followed. 

Notify HSW (Health and Safety & Wellbeing) Team of any cease work. 

May delegate this responsibility to a management representative who is authorised to approve changes to the workplace.

If resolution is not achieved, escalate process outlined in the procedure to attempt to resolve the issue promptly.

Communicate the outcome of the issue raised to all affected parties.
Employer Representative (or delegate) (The Employer Representative is a person nominated by VU to represents the organisation in OHS related disputes as required.)

Oversee and ensure the completion of actions and Elumina documentation to ensure resolution of issues within agreed timeframes. 
Health and Safety Representatives Assist with the resolution of safety issues raised within their designated work group.

The list of health and safety responsibilities is provided in the Health and Safety - Accountability and Responsibilities Procedure.
OHS Committee A forum to facilitate consultation and communication between management and employee representatives about health and safety matters. 
Health and Safety Advisors
Provide advice to the affected parties to assist with resolving the matter raised. 
Assist with the liaison with external parties (E.g. WorkSafe Victoria) approached to assist with issue resolution.

Participate in the issue resolution process in accordance with resolution requirements. 

The Health and Safety Advisor may be assigned as the employer representative to oversee the issue resolution process.
Worksafe Victoria Can be contacted to assist with issue resolution if resolution is not achieved through discussions with employees and management. 

(11) When health and safety issues are identified they need to be dealt with effectively and in a timely manner to minimise the risk of injuries or other adverse outcomes.  

(12) The Health and Safety - Issue Resolution Procedure outlines the University's expectations to effectively resolve health and safety issues. This process provides practical guidance on formally meeting those expectations.

Part B - Issue Resolution

(13) Where a Health and Safety issue is identified, the affected parties should attempt to resolve the issue at the time if it is reasonably practicable to do so. Identified issues should be dealt with in an effective and timely manner to avoid any adverse outcomes. 

(14) Where a health and safety issue is identified and not able to be resolved immediately, the employee must log the issue in the Incident Management system (Elumina) and discuss with their direct manager/supervisor, and (where elected) the Designated Work Group (DWG) Health and Safety Representative (HSR), as soon as reasonably practicable after the issue is identified.

(15) HSRs may exercise their powers defined in the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) and the Model Work Health and Safety Act (for NSW and Queensland campuses) as part of the issue resolution process.

(16) All parties must work together to resolve the issue within a reasonable timeframe or within an agreed timeframe in accordance with this Procedure.

(17) If the issue cannot be resolved, then it should be escalated to the next level of management (typically senior management in the Portfolio).

(18) The parties involved in the issue resolution process may contact other internal or external parties (e.g., WorkSafe Victoria, The Union) for expert advice to assist with resolving the matter.

(19) If the issue is still not resolved within the agreed timeframe, any of the parties may ask Worksafe Victoria to arrange for an inspector to attend the workplace to enquire into the matter. 

(20) An employer representative may be assigned to oversee completion of all actions in relation to the issue resolution.

(21) Details of the issue, the agreed actions to resolve the issue, timeframes, and persons responsible for completing action items is to be recorded in Elumina. 

(22) Details of the issue can be reported to the local OHS Committee as per the OHS Committee Terms of Reference. 

Immediate threat Issue

(23) An immediate threat is defined where an issue concerns work which involves an immediate threat to health and safety, and it is not appropriate to adopt the process outlined above due to the nature of the threat and the degree of harm.

(24) Where it is determined there is an immediate threat to health and safety after consultation between the parties, a directive to cease work may be given by any party working with, or potentially impacted by the immediate threat (cease-work situation).

(25) The Supervisor or Manager must contact the Director, Workplace Relations and Safety or their nominee (or delegate) to inform them of the cease-work situation.

(26) After informing the supervisor/manager of the direction to cease work, the HSR must complete the Direction to Cease Work form and provide the original copy to the manager/supervisor or employer representative. 

(27) Work can recommence only when the immediate threat has been mitigated to the satisfaction of all affected parties.

(28) Details of the issue are to be recorded in Elumina.

(29) Employees whose work is affected by the direction to cease work may be assigned suitable alternative work. 

(30) See HSW - Health and Safety Issue Resolution Flowchart.

(31) The flowchart supports the Staff Complaints Resolution Policy and the Health and Safety Policy and directly reflects the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) and OHS Regulations, and the Model Work Health and Safety Act.