OHS Management system and compliance

This section contains obligations for Senior Executive Members, Deputy Vice-Chancellors, Pro Vice-Chancellors and Executive Directors. The process is managed by the Health Wellbeing and Safety Unit (HWS) and advice in relation to this is available from the Manager, HWS.

OHS Management system

Deakin has a commitment to providing a safe and healthy working environment for all staff, students, contractors and visitors. This commitment is enabled through the University's Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Management System.

The OHS Management System refers to the structures, planning, procedures, activities and resources the University applies to the improvement and maintenance of occupational health and safety performance and standards across the University. This website and the OHS Manual are part of this system.

The objective of the system is to create a positive culture within the University in relation to health and safety issues, promoting them as standard components of the University's management systems.

OHS Consultation

The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHS) requires the University through its managers to consult with all staff on matters relating to work health and safety. Where there are staff OHS representatives, the consultation must involve them, preferably before staff are directly involved.

Managers must:

  • share information with directly affected staff and their OHS representatives - should be timely and understood by all
  • give staff and their OHS representatives a reasonable opportunity to express their views
  • take those views into account -  to help shape decisions.

For more information, including manager responsibilities see OHS Manual: Staff consultation and representation

Health, wellbeing and safety plans

A Health, Wellbeing and Safety plan is prepared by the head of an organisational area (in most cases Faculty or Division) for that area for the following year. The plan is to be prepared by 30 November for the following year. A copy of the Plan is to be provided to the Manager, HWS.

The Health, Wellbeing and Safety Plan is a tool that enables organisational areas to manage their health and safety responsibilities effectively. The Plan will help the head of the organisational area meet in a systematic way their responsibility for the health and safety of staff. By completing a plan, managers will be able to judge how well their organisational area is meeting its responsibilities. It will also enable senior managers to effectively delegate authority to, and hold responsible local managers for the maintenance of health and safety standards within the area.

Without a Health, Wellbeing and Safety Plan or equivalent, senior managers will have difficulty in demonstrating due diligence on health and safety matters. This may expose the manager and the University unnecessarily to prosecution for failing to maintain a healthy and safe workplace.

The process is managed by the HWS Unit and advice in relation to this is available from the Manager, HWS. A Health, Wellbeing and Safety template (DOC, 201.0 KB) , including explanatory notes, is provided.

Heads of organisational areas that have had Plans in the previous year are required to provide a report about the outcomes achieved against the Plan. The report should be succinct listing items completed from the previous year's Plan, outstanding items and any new health, wellbeing and safety issues. The report is provided to the Manager, HWS by the end of February each year.

OHS compliance statements (formerly known as due diligence statements)

Heads of organisational areas complete an OHS compliance statement (DOC, 37.5 KB) by 30 November of each year. The Compliance Statement should be used to inform the development of the Health Wellbeing and Safety Plan. Any hazards or issues identified in the statement should be reflected in proposed actions or control measures in the OHS Plan.

The process is managed by the HWS Unit.

OHS risk and risk assessments

The University's OHS risk management system is aligned with the requirements of the OHS Act and the University's Risk Management Procedure.

Risk assessments are the foundation of an effective risk management system. Risk assessment templates are provided under each OHS topic (e.g. chemicals, manual handling etc) in Safe work environment.

Templates can also be found at:

Training in carrying out risk assessments can be arranged through the Health, Wellbeing and Safety team.

Leeds Council in the United Kingdom have an online Risk Assessments training program. Although it is based on British law the Victorian system is very similar.

Workplace inspections including checklists

Inspection checklists are another risk management tool. Inspection checklists should be used as a prompt and recording template when carrying out an inspection. In most cases, the checklist will not be comprehensively completed for each room/area visited, rather it would be used to note the exceptions or defects and be used in the creation of an action list or report.

As noted in OHS responsibilities, inspections are an important part of the manager's toolkit.

The following templates can be used to develop your own:

Safe work practices

The establishment and implementation of safe work practices is usually a local (line) management responsibility. However senior managers must have OHS systems in place to ensure this is happening in practice. The management and updating of safe work practices must be part of the organisational area's OHS Plan.

Further information on the University's requirements can be found under safe work practices. This includes safe working instructions, permit procedures and contractor safety.

Safety in the design of buildings and structures

Designers of buildings and structures which are going to be workplaces are required to comply with section 28 of the OHS Act.

This duty is to make sure that the design does not pose risks to people when using the workplace for a purpose for which it was intended. The aim is for the designer to eliminate at the source, any risks to health and safety or welfare of employees and other persons who work in buildings and structures.

The Managing OHS risks in the design of buildings and structures standard (PDF, 121.5 KB) describes how this is managed at Deakin.

The Design safety risk assessment template (XLSX, 313.8 KB) will assist.

Health and safety records

Each organisational area which completes a health and safety plan and an OHS compliance statement should maintain, at a minimum, the following central registry files (hard copy or electronically on TRIM) on which relevant records should be placed:

  • health and safety plan and OHS compliance statement
  • records of OHS induction, training and distribution of information to staff and others
  • records of inspections and subsequent actions taken
  • records of risk assessments including Work Safety Assessments (for research work, field trips and some undergraduate work)
  • copies of accident reports and follow-up documentation
  • records of staff consultations.

Staff can obtain assistance in the maintenance of central registry files by contacting the Records Unit.

OHS and purchasing

Purchases must be performed in accordance with Deakin's procurement process. The OHS risks associated with the purchase must be identified and managed as part of this purchasing process.

The most effective way of managing OHS risks in the workplace is by not introducing them in the first place. If this is not feasible then by conducting a risk assessment prior to purchase many hazards can be eliminated, reduced or effectively controlled before they are introduced into the workplace. The responsibility of the purchaser and the manager of the area initiating the purchase is to ask the following questions:

  • What OHS risks does the proposed purchase pose for health & safety?
  • How does the proposed item for purchase deal with those risks?
  • What is the supplier or University required to do to eliminate or minimise the risks associated with the proposed purchase?

The following documents are used to manage the OHS aspects of purchasing.


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