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.

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)

Deakin Requirement: Planning for Safety

The University requires each major organisational unit (Faculties, Portfolios, and some Divisions and Institutes) to maintain an OHS Risk Register and annually sign a Compliance Statement. Please see the Risk and OHS planning guidance document from HWS for further information.

Planning for Safety FAQs

What do I need to do?

The first stage is to update your OHS Risk Register. This should involve input from, and consultation with, all your operational professional and academic managers. If you have a HWS Committee, they should also be involved.

Training or briefing sessions can be organised. Please contact Sam Parry to organise attendance.

Once the Risk Register has been reviewed, you should be in a position to complete the Compliance Statement. It is important to note that the Compliance Statement and Risk Register feed into each other. Many of the controls listed in the Register will be the same as the requirements listed in the Compliance Statement.

What happens to the completed Register and Compliance Statement?

You will need to upload both documents onto the HWS website by 1 March. Both documents will be reviewed by the HWS team and may be used as part of the annual OHS audit program. Compliance with the program and any major issues will be reported through the University HWS Committee to the University Executive. When the Compliance Statements and Risk Registers are reviewed or audited, all that will be expected is clear evidence of planning and progress towards achieving those standards. It is clear that some systems at the local and University level need improvement. The Risk Register and Compliance Statement create a foundation upon which we can move forward as they provide us with a way to identify and prioritise the improvements that are needed at both the local and University level.

What consultation has occurred in this change?

Comments have been sought from a range of staff across Deakin including your OHS professionals. Where practical their comments have been incorporated into the documents. We have appreciated and valued their constructive comments. However we have not incorporated every suggestion.

Do I need to tick off everything in the Compliance Statement?

One particular issue that has been raised is concerns about not being able to tick every question on the Compliance Statement. We want to assure you that not being able to tick every box will not result in criticism. Your answers will be treated with respect where you consider your current arrangements do not yet meet the expected standard. The expectation of course is that you are committed to actions that will enable your area to meet and possibly exceed the standard. The University as a whole is on the same road to improving OHS performance and outcomes. You can also refer to the How to comply with mandatory requirements

What other support can be provided?

In addition to the training (above), support will be provided by HWS team (HR) to ensure the quality of the content of the OHS Register is high. Please contact Sam Parry in the HWS team.

Why is this important to Deakin

The Register and Compliance Statement are important steps in further improving the resilience of and confidence in Deakin’s OHS Management system. It is also an essential part in ensuring Deakin meets its obligations under OHS legislation and is able to clearly demonstrate this.

Where can I get further information?

The OHS Management and Compliance section of the OHS website provides further information as well as the templates. You will also be contacted by a member of the HWS team in March to answer questions you may have or to arrange a meeting if you wish.

OHS compliance statements (formerly known as due diligence statements)

Heads of organisational units are required to complete and sign an OHS compliance statement at the start of each year by the 1 March. Once complete the Statement must be lodged on the HWS Sharepoint site.

The Risk Register informs and supports the Compliance Statement. The control measures in the Risk Register provide evidence and confidence for the matters covered in the Compliance Statement.

The How to comply with mandatory requirements document provides further advice on how to meet the requirements of the Compliance Statement.

OHS risk register

The OHS Risk Register is a living document that records you areas operational OHS risks. The Register must be reviewed annually as a minimum. The review must involve relevant operational managers and preferably involves the whole management team. This ensures that there is full awareness of the risks the organisational unit faces and how those risks are being managed.

Organisational units must use the OHS Risk Register template to ensure consistent practice across Deakin. The last review date must be recorded on the Register and the current copy loaded onto the HWS Sharepoint site as soon as practical. Please contact Sam Parry for access.

Risk and OHS planning guidance will assist you in completing your Register, in addition to the FAQ section above. The Physical Hazards Identification and Control Prompt provides guidance on control measures. For further advice, or to enquire about Risk Register training, please contact Sam Parry in the HWS team.

Health, wellbeing and safety plans

Health, Wellbeing and Safety plan templates can be used by areas to support the Risk Register and Compliance Statement. From 2019 there is no requirement to submit these Plans. However 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 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.

These documents or their equivalent planning documents may be requested as part of an audit against Compliance Statements or Risk Registers.

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:

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.

Content tool

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)

Planning for Safety

The University requires each major organisational unit (Faculties, Portfolios, and some Divisions and Institutes) to maintain an OHS Risk Register and annually sign a Compliance Statement. Please see the Risk and OHS planning guidance document from HWS for further information.

Planning for Safety FAQ

What do I need to do?

The first stage is to update your OHS Risk Register. This should involve input from, and consultation with, all your operational professional and academic managers. If you have a HWS Committee, they should also be involved.

Training or briefing sessions can be organised. Please contact Sam Parry to organise attendance.

Once the Risk Register has been reviewed, you should be in a position to complete the Compliance Statement. It is important to note that the Compliance Statement and Risk Register feed into each other. Many of the controls listed in the Register will be the same as the requirements listed in the Compliance Statement.

What happens to the completed Register and Compliance Statement?

You will need to upload both documents onto the HWS website by 1 March. Both documents will be reviewed by the HWS team and may be used as part of the annual OHS audit program. Compliance with the program and any major issues will be reported through the University HWS Committee to the University Executive. When the Compliance Statements and Risk Registers are reviewed or audited, all that will be expected is clear evidence of planning and progress towards achieving those standards. It is clear that some systems at the local and University level need improvement. The Risk Register and Compliance Statement create a foundation upon which we can move forward as they provide us with a way to identify and prioritise the improvements that are needed at both the local and University level.

What consultation has occurred in this change?

Comments have been sought from a range of staff across Deakin including your OHS professionals. Where practical their comments have been incorporated into the documents. We have appreciated and valued their constructive comments. However we have not incorporated every suggestion.

Do I need to tick off everything in the Compliance Statement?

One particular issue that has been raised is concerns about not being able to tick every question on the Compliance Statement. We want to assure you that not being able to tick every box will not result in criticism. Your answers will be treated with respect where you consider your current arrangements do not yet meet the expected standard. The expectation of course is that you are committed to actions that will enable your area to meet and possibly exceed the standard. The University as a whole is on the same road to improving OHS performance and outcomes. You can also refer to the How to comply with mandatory requirements

What other support can be provided?

In addition to the training (above), support will be provided by HWS team (HR) to ensure the quality of the content of the OHS Register is high. Please contact Sam Parry in the HWS team.

Why is this important to Deakin

The Register and Compliance Statement are important steps in further improving the resilience of and confidence in Deakin’s OHS Management system. It is also an essential part in ensuring Deakin meets its obligations under OHS legislation and is able to clearly demonstrate this.

Where can I get further information?

The OHS Management and Compliance section of the OHS website provides further information as well as the templates. You will also be contacted by a member of the HWS team in March to answer questions you may have or to arrange a meeting if you wish.

OHS compliance statements

Heads of organisational units are required to complete and sign an OHS compliance statement at the start of each year by the 1 March. Once complete the Statement must be lodged on the HWS Sharepoint site.

The Risk Register informs and supports the Compliance Statement. The control measures in the Risk Register provide evidence and confidence for the matters covered in the Compliance Statement.

The How to comply with mandatory requirements document provides further advice on how to meet the requirements of the Compliance Statement.

OHS risk register

The OHS Risk Register is a living document that records you areas operational OHS risks. The Register must be reviewed annually as a minimum. The review must involve relevant operational managers and preferably involves the whole management team. This ensures that there is full awareness of the risks the organisational unit faces and how those risks are being managed.

Organisational units must use the OHS Risk Register template to ensure consistent practice across Deakin. The last review date must be recorded on the Register and the current copy loaded onto the HWS Sharepoint site as soon as practical. Please contact Sam Parry for access.

Risk and OHS planning guidance will assist you in completing your Register, in addition to the FAQ section above. The Physical Hazards Identification and Control Prompt provides guidance on control measures. For further advice, or to enquire about Risk Register training, please contact Sam Parry in the HWS team.

HWS Plans

Health, Wellbeing and Safety plan templates can be used by areas to support the Risk Register and Compliance Statement.  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 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.

These documents or their equivalent planning documents may be requested as part of an audit against Compliance Statements or Risk Registers.

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:

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 Risk Management

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.

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.

OHS Consultation and Staff Representation

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.

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