Purchasing and OHS

This section covers the management of OHS risks associated with the procurement of goods (materials, substances, furniture, software, plant and equipment). These risks include both the physical risks associated, for example, with unguarded plant, as well as psychological risk associated, for example, with poorly designed software. Procurement of goods includes purchase, lease and hire of goods.

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?
  • If there are OHS risks identified, then are there staff, contractors or others affected by those risks and how can they be consulted regarding those risks?

In practice this may be only one step “we considered the OHS risks associated with the purchase of the material/plant etc and have not identified any of significance or relevance”. If OHS risks are identified then the second step may be “We have identified the following risks ….. and they are adequately managed by our existing control measures (procedures, equipment etc)”. Only items that do not fit into these two categories will require a more detailed risk assessment: for example a new class of chemical, a new type of plant. All of this may have already been covered in, for example, the (Research) Work Safety Assessment drawn up by researchers as part of their project planning.

The following documents govern the OHS aspects of purchasing.

OHS and Purchasing

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