Procedures

Occupational Health and Safety Committees - Procedures

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Body

1. Purpose and Objectives

These procedures outline the University’s Occupational Health and Safety consultative committees and structures.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

ActWork Health and Safety Act (Queensland) 2011

Committee Chair - charged with providing leadership and direction to the committee, and ensuring that the committee fulfills its responsibilities, as detailed in the ToR. The position is held by a senior member of staff.

Committee Executive Officer - functions as the administrative and procedural expert for the committee. The position is normally filled by a trained Safety Manager/Coordinator (WHSC).

Committee Minutes Secretary - assists with documentation and communication of the activities of the committee. The committee may elect the secretary from within the committee membership, or an assistant not within the committee may be nominated.

Dean/Director – includes the positions of Executive Dean, Institute Director, Division Director, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer

Faculty/Institute OHS Committee – includes Faculty, Institute, Division and Central Support Services OHS Committees

Head of School/Unit (HOS) - includes the positions of heads of schools, directors of centres, and heads of organisational units

HSR - Health and Safety Representative (PPL 2.10.05)

School/Unit OHS Committee – includes School, Centre and Organisational Unit OHS Committees

Safety Manager/Coordinator (WHSC) - includes the positions of Workplace Health and Safety Coordinator (PPL 2.10.06) and Occupational Health and Safety Manager (PPL 2.10.09)

ToR - Terms of Reference

3. Procedures Scope/Coverage

These procedures apply to all University staff and students.

4. Procedures Statement

Within the University the benefit of consultation with staff and students at the workplace level is well recognised. A key function of occupational health and safety committees is to provide a forum to facilitate effective consultation between University management and workers in instigating, developing and carrying out measures designed to ensure the workers’ health and safety at work, and to assist in the development of standards, rules and protocols relating to health and safety that are to be followed or complied with at the workplace.

Staff and students in a faculty, institute or organisational unit are well positioned in that they have first-hand knowledge of the health and safety problems they face. Formal acknowledgment of these matters through a committee ensures that preventative or remedial solutions can be promptly addressed. Further, the number of workplaces and the scope of matters included in health and safety, make it impractical for all responsibility for prevention and remedial action to be taken by the government inspectorate or the University's Occupational Health and Safety Division. Health and safety committees working in consultation with the Occupational Health and Safety Division enable the University to best meet the health and safety needs of all concerned.

Section 75 of the Act makes provision for the establishment of Health and Safety Committees.

Faculty/Institute OHS Committees fulfill the statutory requirements of the Act, and oversee the management of health and safety matters and resources within the area of coverage. These committees support the Occupational Health and Safety Policy (2.10.03) of the University, by promoting and facilitating cooperation between staff, students and management in the development and implementation of OHS policy, procedures, guidelines and programs at the University.

School/Unit OHS Committees support the Faculty/Institute OHS Committees by providing a local mechanism for effective worker consultation. A key function of School/Unit OHS Committees is to fulfill organisational unit requirements for the discussion and management of local occupational health and safety matters,as well as the referral of unresolved matters to their Faculty/Institute OHS Committee.

5. Governance and Consultation

Faculty/Institute OHS Committees are the peak committees for consultation of University-wide health and safety matters within each of the faculties, institutes and key divisions. OHS Committees have an advisory function to management, and report to the senior manager who is responsible for health and safety within the area of coverage of the committee.

Faculty/Institute OHS Committees provide a record of their meeting (minutes) to the University OHS Division. The OHS Division will assist and provide advice on resolving complex and contentious issues. Significant matters and enterprise-level issues may be reported to the Vice Chancellor's Risk and Compliance Committee, usually through the OHS Division (refer PPL 2.10.02 Occupational Health and Safety Governance).

The formation of OHS Committees and appointment of Safety Managers/Coordinators (WHSCs) does not relinquish the responsibilities of senior staff under the Act. Rather, the Health and Safety consultative structures are part of the strategy to assist all parties in meeting their legislative obligations.

It is the responsibility of senior management to ensure that health and safety is an agenda item on relevant Faculty, Institute and Division senior management meetings, to facilitate the integration of health and safety responsibilities into the management structure.

6. Faculty/Institute OHS Committees

6.1 Rationale

The establishment and maintenance of OHS committees representing University faculties, institutes and key divisions is required in accordance with the Act. OHS committees fulfill both statutory and organisational requirements for the management of occupational health and safety matters.

The philosophy underlying participatory OHS committees at the University is that workers must be actually involved in hazard assessment, the setting of safety standards, and policy formulation.

The Faculty/Institute OHS Committees require balanced representation between management and workers to ensure that the latter can genuinely influence these processes.

Senior management representation is paramount to ensure that decisions are able to be made and actions approved. This includes approvals for resource allocation for health and safety issues being made at the committee level.

Faculty/Institute OHS Committees have a requirement to meet at least once every three months.

6.2 Terms of reference

  • Provide a consultative forum for addressing broad occupational health and safety issues across the faculty, institute, schools, centres and organisational units, or relating to the broader campus.
  • Consider matters referred to it from extant committees such as the VC's Risk and Compliance Committee and the Institutional Biosafety Committee, and, when appropriate, refer specific matters to such committees for consideration and advice.
  • Refer important matters involving occupational health and safety policy considerations to the Director, Occupational Health and Safety.
  • Review and disseminate University occupational health and safety policies, procedures and guidelines to Deans/Directors, Heads of Schools, Heads of Organisational Units, WHSCs, HSRs and workers.
  • Circulate minutes of committee meetings to members, Deans/Directors, Heads of Schools, Heads of Organisational Units, WHSCs, HSRs and workers, and to the Director, Occupational Health and Safety Division.
  • Make recommendations regarding allocation of resources and long term planning for occupational health and safety to the Faculty/Institute Executive Committee (or equivalent senior management committee), and ensure that occupational health and safety is an agenda item for the Faculty/Institute Executive Committee (or equivalent senior management committee) meetings.
  • Oversee the review of occupational health and safety policies and initiatives.
  • Encourage and maintain an active interest in occupational health and safety and make recommendations regarding training and educational needs for staff, students, visitors and volunteers.
  • Facilitate cooperation between management and workers in the resolution of occupational health and safety issues and in developing and carrying out measures to ensure health and safety at a workplace.
  • Provide information and advice to Deans/Directors, Heads of Schools, Heads of Organisational Units, supervisors and workers about health and safety.
  • Ensure there is a structure for fire and emergency evacuation across the Faculty, Institute, Division or Organisational Unit.
  • Review the circumstances surrounding work injuries, work caused illnesses and dangerous events referred to the committee via Injury, Illness and Incident Reporting System. Advise Deans/Directors,Heads of Schools and Heads of Organisational Units of the results of the review and make recommendations arising out of the review. The Faculty/Institute OHS Committee can refer incident/injury reports to School/Unit OHS Committees for review and intervention.

6.3 Membership

The membership of the Faculty/Institute OHS Committee should be determined by agreement between senior management and the workers at the workplace who are to be represented by the committee.

In total, at least half of the members of the committee must be workers who are not nominated by management.

Members should be selected from a variety of campuses and work groups to ensure decisions consider the needs and views of all workers, and are responsive to the diversity of the University's teaching, research and support activities.

If the Faculty, Institute or Division has Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) (PPL 2.10.05) the HSRs may choose to be members of the OHS committee.

Membership should include:

  • Dean/Director, or suitable senior nominee (committee chair)
  • Safety Manager/Coordinator(s) (One of whom normally adopts the committee executive officer role.Their appointment is overseen by the Dean/Director)
  • Representation from the following groups (where applicable):
    • Senior academic staff
    • Senior professional staff
    • Academic staff
    • Professional staff
    • Student representative
  • UQ OHS Division professional(committee adviser).

As far as reasonably practicable, committee membership should include:

  • equal numbers of management and worker members
  • general representation from all work groups, campus and off-campus areas
  • a minimum minority gender representation of 25% (in line with the Senate policy of gender equity in committee membership, PPL 1.70.01).

7. School/Unit OHS Committees

7.1 Rationale

The formation of School, Centre, Department or Organisational Unit OHS Committees should be considered where:

  • the physical location of the School/Organisational Unit is remote from the larger Faculty/Institute OHS Committee;
  • the coordinated management of risk requires a greater level of local attention and monitoring by the School or Organisational Unit; or
  • the Faculty/Institute OHS Committee assesses the requirement for a School or Organisational Unit OHS Committee.

School/Unit OHS Committees support Faculty/Institute OHS Committees by acting as the local vehicle for consultation on health and safety matters, as well as monitoring the implementation of the University OHS Management System within their area of responsibility.

7.2 Terms of reference

  • Facilitate the implementation of the University OHS Management System at the School or Organisational Unit level. Interpret and apply University occupational health and safety policies and procedures.
  • Oversee the development of safety manuals and safe working procedures for the School or Organisational Unit. In some areas this requires only circulation of University guidelines, procedures or policies.
  • Ensure periodic surveys and workplace inspections are undertaken to detect hazards. Oversee the development of corrective actions plans to make recommendations for change.
  • Review hazard, injury, illness and incident reporting and record keeping.
  • Oversee investigation and implementation of control measures for hazard, injury, illness, and incident reports, including those referred by the Faculty/Institute OHS Committees.
  • Facilitate cooperation between management and staff in the resolution of health and safety issues and in developing and carrying out measures to ensure health and safety at the workplace.
  • Refer important occupational health and safety matters, not resolvable at the local level, to the Faculty/Institute OHS Committee.
  • Ensure the provision and maintenance of personal protective equipment and first aid facilities.
  • Ensure emergency evacuation drills are undertaken in accordance with relevant legislation and UQ policy and procedures.(In some cases the working group may absorb the functions of the fire and emergency evacuation into their responsibilities. In all cases they must at least work with the building wardens).
  • Educate staff and distribute occupational health and safety information.
  • Recommend priorities for safety-related maintenance and works programs to the relevant Faculty/Institute OHS Committee.

7.3 Membership

The membership of the School/Unit OHS Committee should be determined by agreement between management and the workers at the workplace who are to be represented by the committee.

In total, at least half of the members of the committee must be workers who are not nominated by management.

Members should be selected from a variety of campuses and work groups to ensure decisions consider the needs and views of all workers, and are responsive to the diversity of the University's teaching, research and support activities.

If the School/Organisational Unit has Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) (2.10.05) the HSRs may choose to be members of the OHS Committee.

Membership should include:

  • Head of School/Organisational Unit, or suitable senior nominee (committee chair)
  • Safety Manager/Coordinator(s) (One of whom normally adopts the committee executive officer role. Their appointment is overseen by the HOS)
  • Representation from the following groups (where applicable):
    • Senior academic staff
    • Senior professional staff
    • Academic staff
    • Professional staff
    • Student representative.

As far as reasonably practicable, committee membership should include:

  • equal numbers of management and worker members
  • general representation from all work groups, campus and off-campus areas
  • a minimum minority gender representation of 25% (in line with the Senate policy of gender equity in committee membership, PPL 1.70.01).

8. Secretariat and Reporting

8.1 Committee Executive Officer

The committee executive officer is a key member of the committee, and has responsibility for facilitating the efficient and effective operation of the committee. The committee executive officer functions as the administrative and procedural expert for the committee.

The position of committee executive officer is normally held by a trained Safety Manager/Coordinator (or suitably qualified nominee), refer PPL 2.10.06 Work Health and Safety Co-ordinator Role and Function.

The key functions of the committee executive officer in executing the role are to:

  • Provide information and advice to the committee on University policies, procedures and guidelines relevant to the committees ToR and general governance operations.
  • Prepare appropriate briefings for the committee chair.
  • Ensure appropriate communications with members of the committee.
  • Oversee the preparation and circulation of the meeting agendum and papers.
  • Oversee the recording of business and outcomes,as minutes and action tables.
  • Ensure meeting minutes are disseminated to relevant persons, and submitted to the OHS Division.
  • Follow up with committee members on actions arising from meetings.

8.2 Committee Minutes Secretary

A committee minutes secretary may be appointed to the committee to assist with the administrative duties of the committee. Key functions of this role include the circulation of the meeting agendum, and the recording and dissemination of minutes and action tables.

8.3 Agenda and Minutes

Templates specifically formatted for use at The University of Queensland have been developed to assist staff to conduct duties associated with secretariat support. Templates are available for download from Secretariat Resources.

8.3.1 Agenda

Matters to be incorporated into the agenda (as appropriate) include:

  • OHS Management Plan
  • Incident reports and investigations
  • Hazard reports
  • Proposed significant workplace changes
  • Proposed significant plant and equipment purchases
  • New/reviewed OHS Policies, Procedures and Guidelines
  • OHS audit and inspection program
  • OHS communications (including 'Incident Alerts' and 'Safety Notices')
  • Reports from OHS Division
  • Reports from associated OHS committees and relevant sub-committees.

8.3.2 Minutes

A record of meetings must be taken, and reporting is via submission and distribution of the meeting minutes. The minutes are the formal record of the meeting. Minutes provide an accurate record of the meeting, and provide clear and unambiguous statements of recommendations, decisions and action required. They also form a brief historical record.

Meeting minutes must be made available to all workers within the area of representation. In addition to local circulation, Faculty/Institute OHS Committee meeting minutes must also be submitted to the University OHS Division.

Custodians
Director, Occupational Health and Safety
Mr Jim Carmichael
Custodians
Director, Occupational Health and Safety
Mr Jim Carmichael