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

LIVE HEALTHILY and LIVE WELL 2016 – 2020: Deakin’s Health, Wellbeing and Safety Strategy

Integral to the "Experience" element in Deakin’s Strategic Plan, LIVE the future, is the goal of nurturing the personal development and wellbeing of its students and staff. To deliver on this promise, Deakin is committed to ensuring that all members of the University community have a safe and healthy learning and working environment.

The commitment extends beyond ‘compliance’ with legal obligations. Deakin is committed to maintaining and continuously improving a culture that provides a satisfying and empowering health, wellbeing and safety (HWS) experience for its staff, students and other members of the University community. At the same time, Deakin expects all members of its community to take active responsibility for health, wellbeing and safety.

LIVE healthily/well describes the focus areas and initiatives to be implemented over the next five years to enhance our HWS culture and achieve tangible outcomes for staff, students and others in the University community. Deakin’s commitment to continually improving its HWS culture will be built on four principles:

1.      A consultative approach that promotes trust, flexibility and respect - members of the University community will work together, consult, share information, and engage thoughtfully and respectfully on HWS programs, initiatives and concerns.

2.      Informed awareness and commitment - all members of the University community will be expected to develop a practical understanding of their HWS responsibilities and compliance requirements and will be supported to do this.

3.      A prevention imperative - members of the University community are actively committed to preventing injury and ill health through managing risk, early intervention, promotion of health and wellbeing and prompt reporting of incidents, near misses and other risks to the safety of individuals or the University community.

4.      A desire to learn and continuously improve - we learn from our and others’ successes and failures and use these experiences to improve work practices and behaviours.

The full details of the Strategy can be found at Deakin’s Health, Wellbeing and Safety Strategy. (PDF, 155.9 KB)

Health, wellbeing and safety plans

A Health, Wellbeing and Safety plan is prepared by the head of an organisational area (in most cases Faculty, Portfolio or Division) for that area for the year. The current year plan plan is to be prepared by the end of February of that year.

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, safety and wellbeing 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.

In order to simplify the Plan and improve reporting arrangements, the Plan format has been shortened with activities planned for the year documented on a simple Activity Plan. The Activity Plan enables each area to select programs that meet their HWS needs and priorities. It also enables better tracking of programs during the year and improves reporting arrangements.

The HWS  Plan Form and the Activity Plan are to be lodged on the SharePoint site by the end of February. An updated copy of the Activity Plan is to be lodged on the SharePoint site by the end of April, July and October, with the final one provided at the end of January of the following year.

HWS Plan Form  (DOC, 102.5 KB) (to be completed by 28 February)

HWS Activity Plan (DOCX, 21.0 KB) (targets and programs set by 28 February)

The final report for each year should be in the form of a finalised HWS Activity Plan for that year.

OHS compliance statements (formerly known as due diligence statements)

Heads of organisational areas complete an OHS compliance statement (DOC, 38.0 KB) at the start of each year by the 31 January. The Compliance Statement should be used to inform the development of the Health Wellbeing and Safety Plan and the Activity Plan. Any hazards or issues identified in the statement should be reflected in proposed actions or control measures in the OHS Plan.

The Compliance Statement is to be lodged on the SharePoint site by the end of January.

OHS risk management 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.

OHS Risk Management Standard

This Standard ensures OHS risk management is an integral part of all University operations. This means the consideration of OHS risks will be part of research, teaching, partnerships, tenancies, purchasing, design, change processes, system building and project planning processes. This in turn will ensure compliance with the OHS legislation and the University’s Health, Wellbeing and Safety policy.

OHS Risk Assessment Guide

The Guide is a two page summary of the Standard that can be used when considering OHS risks.

Physical Hazards Identification and Control Prompt

OHS Risk Assessment Templates

Short Risk Assessment Form / Template

Multiple Task Risk Assessment Form

Examples of multi-task risk assessments for Offices, Gardening, Childcare, Road Repair

Teaching Unit Risk Prompt

Additional 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.

OHS risk register

Each Faculty, Division or Portfolio is required to maintain an OHS Risk Register. Divisions and other areas may need to maintain an OHS Risk Register where they have to deal with a range of OHS risks not common to other areas.

OHS Risk Registers must be reviewed annually (at least). It is recommended that the review is carried out by the relevant management team so that there is full awareness of the risks the business unit faces and how those risks are being managed. OHS Risk Registers provide a good starting point for development of the Annual Compliance Statement (See above OHS Compliance Statement) and Annual Health Wellbeing and Safety Action Plan ( see above Health, Wellbeing and safety plans).

OHS Risk Register Guide

The Guide list common OHS risks at Deakin and ways they can be managed.

OHS Risk Register Templates

Risk Register Template for Offices

Full Risk Register Template

Sample completed Office Risk Register

Workplace inspections including checklists

Workplace Inspections are carried out to ensure all work areas are kept free from hazards or potential hazards that may lead to injury, illness, near miss, property damage or adverse environmental impact. As noted in OHS responsibilities, inspections are an important part of the manager's toolkit.

Managers are required to conduct workplace inspections in all University workplaces occupied by their staff, students or contractors in consultation with the local Health and Safety Representative (if there is one). Booked spaces such as meeting rooms or lecture theatres are the responsibility of the FIOA that manages the bookings (in many cases Facilities Services Division).

Workplace Inspection Guideline and Procedure

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. 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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