Safe work practices

Safe working instructions

Safe working instructions outline the recommended safe method of undertaking the process or activity. Written safe working instructions are an essential part of a safe system of work and are an important part of an overall occupational health and safety program.

The development of safe working instructions are a local management responsibility. They should be an integral part of the organisational area's induction and refresher training programs. Their management and updating should be part of the organisational area's HWS Plan.

The following guidelines will assist in the development of safe working instructions (safe working procedures, safe work method statements and other related terms).

The following documents may also assist in the development of Safe Working Instructions:


Permit procedures

Permit procedures are used to control access to hazardous locations or manage particularly hazardous work. Their management and updating should be part of the organisational area's HWS Plan

There are two types of permits: "Permits to Enter" (Entry Permit) and "Permits to Do" (Work Permit).

Entry Permit

The Entry Permit gives access to a hazardous location and the ability to carry out low risk work such as checking the operation of plant. The Entry Permit only controls the requirements on the person(s) entering the hazardous location and the hazards associated with that location: for example, unguarded plant, unguarded drops, confined spaces, poor lighting, trip hazards etc.

Work Permit

The Work Permit is separately issued to cover hazardous work such as welding, hot work, electrical work and machine maintenance. The Work Permit also includes activities such as plant isolation.

The development of permit procedures are a local management responsibility. Their management and updating should be part of the organisational area's OHS Plan.

The Permit System Standard (PDF, 43.6 KB) must be followed regarding Permit Procedures.


Contractor safety

The University uses a wide range of contractors from tradespeople to consultants to "temps". Where the contractor is working on University sites or where the University is exercising substantial control over the contractor, then the University has OHS responsibilities for the contractor. The extent of this responsibility will depend upon the circumstances of the contract and the work. The University under the OHS Act cannot contract out of its OHS responsibilities.

University staff initiating contracts or managing contractors (or their staff) must be familiar with the University's OHS Contractor Management Standard.

Facilities Services can, at their discretion, provide contractor management services.

For the contract manager

The Contract OHS Management System Guidelines (PDF, 103.1 KB)  describe how contracts can be classified and managed. A template is provided below for each type of contract. Each template refers to a suite of supporting documents.

(1)    Templates

The following steps cover the development, establishment and implementation of a contract from an OHS point of view. Contracts may only involve some of the steps.

(2)    Development of the Contract - Contract Specification: [this section seems to have disappeared]

(3)    Assessing the risk

(4)    Evaluating the tenders or potential contractors

Tender submissions should be evaluated against occupational health and safety criteria to ensure the potential contactors have adequate systems in place to carry out the work safely.

For use of the Contract Manager:

The potential contractors can be asked to complete the following checklists:

(5)    Proof of WorkCover and insurance coverage

This is required for all contracts except light deliveries. Where subcontractors are being used, their insurance and WorkCover coverage should also be checked. This can be done through iPro if your area is using this system.

(6)    Disclosing known risks and hazards

The University is required to disclose to the contractors any OHS risks or hazards that it may be aware of that may affect the safety of the contractor. This may be, for example, asbestos in buildings, electrical hazards, trafic management issues and so on.

The OHS hazard disclosure statement (DOC, 46.5 KB) (6a) can be used for this purpose.

With labour hire contracts a more formal process is required via the labour hire job description checklist (DOC, 41.5 KB) (6b).

(7, 8, 9) Managing project and site safety

The contractor may be required to develop a Project OHS Plan or Site Safety Plan.  Refer to guidelines for preparing health and safety plans (PDF, 33.6 KB) (7a).

The Contract Manager should review the checklist for review of contractor OHS plans (DOC, 86.0 KB) (7b).

Where the worksite is jointly controlled by the University and the contractor, a site safety plan (7c) (DOC, 59.5 KB) should be developed.

The Contract Manager may also have to develop a traffic management plan checklist (DOC, 46.0 KB) (9).

(10, 11, 12, 13) Contract setup and coordination

Depending upon the activities carried out under the contract, the Contractor may need to develop job safety assessments or safe working methods:

(14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19) Contractor induction

Induct and register the contractor and ensure they are familiar with the University OHS management system. The Contract Manager can use one of the following checklists:

Facilities Services offers works management services for trades and construction work normally undertaken by Faculties and Other Areas on a fee for service basis. These works may include erecting staging and stands or electrical works for special events.

As part of the induction process, the contractor must be informed of the University's safety rules:

(20, 21, 22) Contract supervision and monitoring

An important element of the contract management process is monitoring the contractor and undertaking inspections of the work and documenting the status of OHS performance. The frequency of inspections will depend on a range of criteria that will be determined by the Contract Manager based upon the hazards associated with the contract and the past performance of the contractor. The type of inspection or review will depend on the complexity of the contact. The following checklists and forms can be used or modified for your purposes.

(23) Evaluating contractor performance

Where areas of non-conformance are identified or specific serious risks noted as a result of inspections of the contractor's operations, the non conformance report (DOC, 42.0 KB) (23a) can be used. The report should be issued following consultation with the contractor representative and an agreed time frame should be documented on this report for the rectification of issues.

Where the contractor does not rectify the issue within the agreed timeframe a second non-conformance report may be issued or the University may consider suspension or termination of the contract if the issue is of sufficient significance.

Where a contractor may be included on a list of approved contractors, the contractor evaluation form (DOC, 73.5 KB)   (23b) can be used.

The Contract OHS Management System Guidelines (PDF, 103.1 KB)  describe how contracts can be classified and managed.


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