University of Technology Sydney UTS: Rules, Policy and Legislation


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Health and Safety Policy

Purpose

Scope

Principles

Policy statements

Policy ownership and support

Definitions

Approval information

PDF version

References

Appendix 1: Health and Safety Advisory Committee terms of reference

1. Purpose

1.1 The Health and Safety Policy (the policy) supports the health and safety management system at UTS and describes the relevant responsibilities and accountabilities under this system to ensure compliance with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW) (the Act).

2. Scope

2.1 This policy applies to all staff, affiliates and contractors (hereafter staff), students, officers of the university and visitors to the university when undertaking work, activities and or functions at, or on behalf of, UTS.

2.2 Officers of the university, for the purpose of this policy, are members of Council and members of the senior executive. Other senior managers may be found to be an officer and this will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

3. Principles

3.1 UTS is committed to ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of its staff, students and visitors in line with the UTS 2027 strategy.

3.2 UTS will manage risk to prevent serious injury that impacts the health, safety and wellbeing of staff, students or individuals.

3.3 Staff, students and visitors have a collective and individual responsibility to adhere to safe work and study practices to prevent injuries and illnesses and act in compliance with the Act. The success of the university’s health and safety management system (the system) depends on the commitment, cooperation and input of all those under the scope of this policy.

3.4 UTS (the PCBU, refer Definitions) recognises its responsibilities to comply with the requirements of the Act and aims to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of staff, students and visitors by:

  • complying with all applicable legislation
  • integrating health and safety risk management practices into its operations, and functions with a focus on continuous improvement
  • ensuring that effective consultation and communication mechanisms are implemented, monitored and improved to ensure general understanding of the health and safety management system
  • providing a safe environment for work and study (including safe plant, structures and safe systems of work)
  • ensuring the safe use, handling and storage of plant, structures and substances
  • providing adequate facilities for the health and safety at work of staff, students and visitors
  • monitoring the health of staff and the conditions at the workplace as part of an illness and injury prevention strategy
  • providing relevant information, training, instruction or supervision to staff and, where appropriate, students, affiliates and visitor
  • managing any accidents and incidents that occur, in order to minimise harm and prevent recurrences
  • allocating appropriate resources to facilitate the fulfilment of the university's health and safety responsibilities.

4. Policy statements

4.1 The Act sets out the broad responsibilities for UTS (the PCBU), officers, staff and others. While tasks related to fulfilling these responsibilities may be performed by others, the responsibilities themselves cannot be delegated, transferred or contracted out.

4.2 Officers of the university must exercise due diligence (defined in section 27(5) of the Act) to ensure the university complies with its duties or obligations.

Health and safety management system

4.3 UTS’s health and safety management system was established to meet the university’s legislative responsibilities to manage its risks in consultation with its staff to meet the key requirements of the following Australian/New Zealand Standards:

  • AS/NZS 4801:2001 Occupational health and safety management systems, and
  • AS/NZS ISO 31000:2018: Risk management – Guidelines.

4.4 The system operates at both university level and faculty/unit level and comprises:

4.5 The UTS Health and Safety Advisory Committee provides a coordinated, strategic and consultative approach to the management of health and safety at UTS (in line with the university’s legislative responsibilities) by:

  • acting as the highest level of consultation for the university, ensuring issues that require high level input and attention are appropriately considered and addressed, and
  • managing health and safety related strategy, policy and university-wide hazards and issues (as part of the system).

4.6 The People Unit has primary responsibility for facilitating and coordinating the health and safety management system, which includes:

  • leadership of the UTS Health and Safety Strategic Plan (available at Managing health and safety (Staff Connect)) and health and safety risk management programs
  • establishing, monitoring, auditing and improving the system
  • supporting faculties and units in meeting their health and safety objectives
  • maintaining relationships with other internal committees with health and safety responsibilities and external bodies (such as Safe Work NSW and NSW Health) in the fields of work health and safety, and risk management
  • providing a workplace injury management and return to work program that assists staff to promptly return to safe and durable work following injury or illness
  • managing the university's workers' compensation insurance function
  • monitoring compliance through the regular auditing of faculties and units
  • providing information and training resources to assist managers and supervisors, and
  • advice and guidance to key stakeholders across the university to strengthen awareness of the compliance requirements of UTS's health and safety management system.

The Health and Safety Strategic Plan

4.7 The UTS Health and Safety Strategic Plan (the plan) (available at Managing health and safety (Staff Connect)) is developed in consultation with and monitored by the UTS Health and Safety Advisory Committee (terms of reference in Appendix 1). The plan:

  • outlines specific key objectives, deliverables and targets to address high-risk health and safety issues and any deficiencies identified in the system, and
  • develops programs and guidelines to continuously improve the safety of work and study practices and environments.

4.8 Deans and directors, in consultation with their staff are responsible for developing, implementing and monitoring faculty/unit health and safety plans to best suit their specific circumstances and needs (including work environment, operations, programs, curricula and research).

4.9 Work Health and Safety in the People Unit (hereafter the People Unit) will work with faculties and units to develop, implement and audit health and safety plans.

Responsibilities of officers of the university

4.10 As officers of the university under the Act, members of Council are responsible for:

  • acquiring and maintaining a general knowledge of the university’s operations, associated risks and hazards and of the system used to manage associated risks and hazards
  • ensuring that appropriate resources and processes are allocated to eliminate or minimise risks to health and safety that may arise as part of the university's operations
  • ensuring that UTS has appropriate processes for receiving and considering information regarding incidents, hazards and risks and responding in a timely way
  • ensuring that the system is integrated into all university operations, teaching, research, and consulting functions and is working effectively
  • ensuring that UTS has processes for complying with any duty or obligation under the Act such as:
    • reporting notifiable incidents (managed via HIRO)
    • consulting with staff and affiliates
    • ensuring compliance with notices issued under the Act
    • providing training and instruction to staff about work health and safety.

4.12 In addition to the responsibilities for members of Council listed above, the Vice-Chancellor is responsible for the allocation of resources for effective implementation of this policy, and delegating responsibilities appropriately.

4.13 In addition to the responsibilities for members of Council listed above, senior executive and the University Secretary will:

  • implement this policy and advise the Vice-Chancellor on critical health and safety high risk issues within their areas of control
  • encourage the integration of health and safety risk management into operations and business activities as appropriate
  • ensure compliance with relevant policy, legislation and standards
  • ensure that faculties and units under their control develop, implement and monitor a faculty/unit health and safety plan.

4.14 In addition to the responsibilities of officers of the university outlined above, the Chief Operating Officer will also:

  • report to Council on health and safety performance against key performance indicators and on any incidents/injuries that have occurred
  • report annually to the Vice-Chancellor on the implementation of the UTS Health and Safety Strategic Plan as managed by the People Unit
  • monitor and report to the Vice-Chancellor on health and safety performance
  • report on critical or high-risk health and safety incidents to the Audit and Risk Committee
  • authorise appropriate action to ensure compliance with this policy.

Faculty and unit level health and safety (operational) responsibilities

4.15 In meeting its health and safety responsibilities under the Act, deans and directors must:

  • ensure compliance with this policy and that relevant faculty/unit health and safety plans are developed, effectively implemented and monitored in consultation with staff
  • integrate health and safety risk management into their operations, business activities and work environments
  • report on any incidents/injuries that have occurred and the implementation of mitigation strategies to prevent reoccurrence
  • ensure that managers, supervisors and staff are aware of their responsibilities under this policy and faculty/unit health and safety plan through appropriate resourcing, effective delegation, training and promotion of health and safety procedures
  • ensure that all staff complete the mandatory health and safety training requirements
  • hold supervisors and managers accountable for their specific responsibilities and remedy non-compliance
  • ensure, where relevant, that all staff undertake appropriate health and safety risk assessments for curriculum, research and consulting activities
  • encourage the incorporation of health and safety risk management into curriculum and research.

4.16 Associate deans, heads of school and equivalent faculty-based academic managers must:

  • integrate health and safety risk management into their operations, teaching, research and consulting functions including work environments
  • support supervisors and managers in providing appropriate resources for the effective implementation of their faculty/unit health and safety plan
  • ensure managers and supervisors are aware of their responsibilities to report all incidents and injuries
  • hold supervisors and managers accountable for their specific responsibilities and remedy non-compliance.

4.17 Supervisors and managers must do whatever is reasonably practicable to ensure that both the workplace and the work itself are safe. This includes:

  • ensuring that staff are appropriately trained prior to undertaking high-risk tasks and are supervised appropriately
  • identifying, assessing and managing health and safety risks
  • consulting with staff (including staff, affiliates and contractors):
    • about issues or changes that affect their health or safety
    • during health and safety risk assessments
    • when decisions are made about the measures to be taken to eliminate or control these risks
    • when reviewing health and safety risk assessments
  • integrating health and safety risk management into operations, learning and teaching, research and consulting functions including work environments in their areas of control
  • reporting (to the People Unit), investigating and responding to all hazards, accidents, incidents and taking action to control the risk
  • assisting with the development, implementation and maintenance of a return to work program for injured staff.

Responsibilities of staff

4.18 In taking responsibility for health and safety at UTS, staff must:

  • take reasonable care of, and cooperate with actions taken to protect, the health and safety of both themselves and others
  • follow safe work practices as provided by their supervisor or manager, including the proper use of any personal protective equipment supplied
  • seek information or advice from a supervisor before performing new or unfamiliar tasks
  • report all health and safety accidents, incidents and hazards to their supervisor as soon as is practicable
  • comply with workplace injury management and return to work programs
  • follow the emergency evacuation procedures and any instructions given by emergency personnel

4.19 In addition to the responsibilities outlined above, academic staff will:

  • provide relevant and practical health and safety information to students (through inclusion in curricula and course notes)
  • take steps to ensure students adopt safe work practices
  • conduct and document risk assessments on research, learning and teaching (including internships), and consulting programs/projects ensuring that risks are eliminated or controlled
  • consult with staff who may be affected by matters relating to work health and safety.

Responsibilities of students

4.20 In taking responsibility for health and safety at UTS, students must:

  • take reasonable care of and cooperate with actions taken to protect the health and safety of both themselves and others
  • follow safe work practices, including the proper use of any personal protective equipment supplied
  • seek information or advice from a staff member before performing new or unfamiliar tasks
  • report all health and safety accidents, incidents, and hazards to a staff member as soon as is practicable
  • follow the emergency evacuation procedures and any instructions given by emergency personnel.

Responsibilities of visitors

4.21 In taking responsibility for health and safety at UTS, visitors to UTS must:

  • undertake the necessary health and safety induction training when coming onto campus
  • take reasonable care of and cooperate with actions taken to protect the health and safety of both themselves and others
  • report all health and safety accidents, incidents and hazards to a staff member as soon as is practicable
  • follow the emergency evacuation procedures and any instructions given by emergency personnel.

5. Policy ownership and support

5.1 Policy owner: The Chief Operating Officer (COO) is responsible for enforcement and compliance of this policy, ensuring that its principles and statements are observed.

5.2 Policy contact: The Director, People is responsible for the day to day implementation of this policy, and acts as a primary point of contact for advice on fulfilling its provisions.

5.2 Others: Other roles and responsibilities are outlined in the body of this policy.

6. Definitions

The following definitions apply for this policy and all associated procedures. These are in addition to the definitions outlined in Schedule 1, Student Rules. Definitions in the singular also include the plural meaning of the word.

Affiliate is defined in the Code of Conduct.

Faculty/unit health and safety plan means the documented plan developed, implemented and monitored by each faculty/unit. This is done by the deans/directors in consultation with faculty/unit staff to establish effective risk management procedures that best suit the circumstances of each faculty/unit. During the planning process, hazards (including, but not limited to, physical hazards, chemical, noise, psychosocial, heights) and control measures (including, but not limited to, information and training, workload allocation, supervision and provision of safety equipment) are identified and responsibilities allocated. Mechanisms for consultation with staff in relation to health and safety matters within the faculty/unit are agreed during the development of the plan. Options for consultation, as provided by the Act, are the establishment of a health and safety committee, election of a health and safety representative, or other agreed arrangements.

Officer is defined by section 9 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cwlth) as a person or persons who make, or participate in making, decisions that affect the whole or a substantial part of the business.

PCBU is defined as 'persons conducting a business or undertaking' as defined in section 5 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW). In this policy, the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) is the PCBU.

Plant includes any machinery, equipment, appliance, container, implement and tool, and any component of any of those things, and anything fitted or connected to any of those things.

Risk management is defined in the Risk Management Policy. For the specific purposes of this policy, it includes the 'coordinated activities to direct and control an organization with regard to risk' (Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS ISO 31000:2018 Risk management — Guidelines).

Reasonably practicable is defined in section 18 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW) as ' …that which is or was at a particular time, reasonably able to be done in relation to ensuring health and safety, taking into account and weighing up all relevant matters including:

  • the likelihood of the hazard or risk concerned occurring, and
  • the degree of harm that might result from the hazard or risk, and
  • what the person concerned knows or ought reasonably to know about the hazards and risks and ways of eliminating or minimising those risks, and
  • the availability and suitability of ways to eliminate those risks, and
  • after assessing the extent of the risks and the availability of ways of eliminating or minimising those risks, the costs associated with available ways of eliminating or minimising those risks, including whether the costs are grossly disproportionate to the risk'.

Structure means anything that is constructed, whether fixed or movable, temporary or permanent, and includes components of a structure and any part of a structure.

Supervisor means staff provided authority by their manager to supervise staff, students or visitors in activities related to university business.

Visitor is defined in the Campus Policy.

Worker is defined in section 7 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW), and includes people carrying out work in any capacity for UTS, including UTS staff, contractors/subcontractors and their employees, employees of labour hire companies who have been assigned to work at UTS, apprentices, trainees, work experience students at UTS, and volunteers (including members of the UTS Peer Network).

Approval information

Policy contacts Director, People
Approval authority Council
Review date 2022
File number UR20/1670
Superseded documents Health and Safety Policy (2012) – UR07/646
Health and Safety Vice-Chancellor's Directive (2013) – UR13/543

Version history

Version Approved by Approval date Effective date Sections modified
1.0 Council (COU 20-5/104) 21/10/2020 24/11/2020 New policy.
1.1 Director, Governance Support Unit (Delegation 3.14.1) 03/05/2022 03/05/2022 Changes and updates to reflect portfolio realignment under Fit for 2027 project.

PDF version

Health and Safety Policy (PDF 204KB)

References

Code of Conduct

Corporations Act 2001 (Cwlth)

Health and safety management

Health and safety on Staff Connect: Safety and wellbeing

HIRO

NSW Health

Risk Management Policy

Safe Work NSW

Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW)

Appendix 1: Health and Safety Advisory Committee terms of reference

The Health and Safety Advisory Committee (the committee) has been established to provide a coordinated, strategic and consultative approach to the management of health and safety at UTS in line with the requirements of the Health and Safety Policy (the policy).

Terms of reference

The Health and Safety Advisory Committee will:

  • establish and monitor (with an aim to continuously improve) a health and safety management system (system) appropriate to the structure, values, culture and practices of the university
  • develop, monitor and report on the UTS Health and Safety Strategic Plan (the plan) (available at Managing health and safety (Staff Connect)) which responds to the legislative and other legal requirements, current and emerging risks, workers' compensation data, staff survey results and other relevant measures
  • identify strategies to integrate health and safety risk management into the core functions of the university
  • establish, monitor and improve mechanisms to consult with staff and students on health and safety issues
  • identify strategies to drive the implementation of the health and safety management system at faculty and unit level through faculty/unit health and safety plans and other strategies
  • coordinate the development of strategies for the practical management of hazards which potentially present a risk to health or safety
  • support the promotion of health, safety and wellbeing at UTS
  • review progress against the plan annually and recommend any pan-university actions to ensure that UTS has an appropriate and fit for purpose health and safety management system
  • monitor the health and safety performance of faculties and units through the review of Health and Safety Working Group reports (PDF), and
  • provide recommendations to executive management on methods to improve health and safety at the university level as appropriate.

Management and reporting

The committee is governed by the charter that outlines:

  • selection of the Chair for the committee
  • meeting frequency and minimum numbers (quorum)
  • standing items to be covered on the agenda
  • length of term for representatives
  • recordkeeping practices in line with the Records Management Policy
  • proposed amendments to the terms of reference to be approved by the Vice-Chancellor as part of the policy
  • proposed amendments to the membership to be approved by the Vice-Chancellor as part of the policy.

The charter is approved by the committee from time to time and reviewed at least annually.

The Chair reports at least annually to the Vice-Chancellor on membership and overall progress against the UTS Health and Safety Strategic Plan. The committee may make recommendations as part of this process.

Membership

The membership of the committee is designed to ensure the broadest possible range of consultation and must include representation from faculty and business unit level health and safety working groups, senior management, and representatives from other groups affected by UTS health and safety processes.

The Provost is the ex officio chair.

The membership is approved annually by the Vice-Chancellor in consultation with the Chair as part of the annual report. The membership is available at Health and Safety management.