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1. Purpose and Objectives

This procedure outlines The University of Queensland's requirements for work off-campus being undertaken by workers. The purpose is to ensure the health, safety and well-being of work off-campus participants and compliance with relevant legislative requirements.

The objective of this procedure is to:

  • Outline responsibilities of senior officers, supervisors and work off-campus participants.
  • Ensure adequate planning and OHS risk management of work off-campus.
  • Ensure adequate information is provided to all stakeholders for approval and emergency preparedness and response.
  • Ensure the work off-campus OHS risk management process is documented and recorded.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

OHS Division - Occupational Health and Safety Division of The University of Queensland.

OHS Risk Assessment - may refer to one or multiple OHS risk assessments.

PPE - Personal Protective Equipment

Reasonably considered - a sound and sensible judgment that a reasonable person would consider in the circumstance, taking all factors into account.

Relevant legislation - Refers collectively to all laws associated with the work or activity being undertaken, the relevant work health and safety laws of Queensland and those associated with the local jurisdiction where the work is being undertaken. Legislation in this context includes Acts, Regulations, Codes of Practice and relevant standards. E.g. Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld), Biosecurity Act 2015 (C’th), Occupational Diving Work Code of Practice 2005 (Qld).

Risk - The possibility that harm (injury, illness or death) might occur when exposed to a hazard.

Senior Officers - The Senior Executives, Executive Deans, Heads of School and Directors of Institutes and major centres and the Directors of central services and administrative divisions.

Supervisor - means the person responsible for day to day supervision of a staff member or other person so designated by the University (University of Queensland Enterprise Agreement 2014 – 2017).

Work off-campus (WOC) - Commonly known as fieldwork. Work off-campus relates to research, teaching, learning, instruction or other activities, which takes place at locations that are not registered as UQ sites. Work off-campus may include unfamiliar surroundings or uncontrolled environments.

WOC leader - The person at the work off-campus location who is appointed by the supervisor to be responsible for day to day supervision of work off-campus participants. The WOC leader reports to the supervisor or senior officer where relevant.

WOC participants - Workers participating in work off-campus.

Workers - Staff, students, visitors, volunteers and contractors of The University of Queensland.

Workplace - The off-campus location where work is being conducted is recognised as a workplace under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld) or relevant legislation.

3. Scope/Coverage

This procedure applies to all workers participating in work off-campus and staff including Supervisors and Senior Officers who have responsibilities to ensure the health and safety of the workers and those exposed to their activities.

The scope of the procedure relates to work off-campus (as defined in section 2) that is reasonably considered at a medium or greater OHS risk level. To assist in considering whether this procedure is applicable refer to examples of work off-campus which are detailed in PPL 2.30.09c Work Off-Campus - Guideline.

This procedure does not strictly apply to work off-campus reasonably considered at a low OHS risk level. There are many differing aspects to the types of work off-campus undertaken and therefore each must be considered on their individual merit. It is recommended where work off-campus is reasonably considered at a low OHS risk level, a proportionate OHS risk management approach is taken. This may involve conducting an OHS risk assessment for the work off-campus or for other reasons e.g. driving to the location.

Work off-campus reasonably considered at a low OHS risk level includes (but is not limited to), work off-campus located in a low-risk environment and where the OHS risks of the travel and work are considered minimal. For example, travel via a reputable airline to a major Australian business centre for:

  • conference participation in a conference facility.
  • administrative activities, interviews or audits in established facilities i.e. hospitals, schools.
  • educational presentations or workshops in classroom environments.

This procedure also does not apply to:

  1. Staff working from home - refer to PPL 5.55.07 Flexible Working Arrangements.
  2. Student placements - refer to PPL 3.10.04 Work Integrated Learning and Work Experience - Policy.
  3. Students undertaking work experience - refer to PPL 3.10.04 Work Integrated Learning and Work Experience - Policy.

For information regarding University travel - refer to PPL 1.90.01 Travel - Policy

4. Procedure Statement

The University frequently engages in work off-campus which is diverse in nature and may take place in unfamiliar surroundings or uncontrolled environments. The work itself may involve high risk activities and/or may be conducted in a hazardous environment. Persons involved in the planning of, and participating in work off-campus must ensure a proportionate OHS risk management approach is taken. All persons must comply with their duties under the relevant legislation applicable to the work off-campus location and the work that they are performing. OHS risks associated with the work off-campus must be documented and recorded in accordance with the University's OHS policies and procedures.

5. Responsibilities

5.1 Responsibilities

Staff at all levels at The University of Queensland have specific responsibilities for ensuring occupational health and safety. Senior Officers, managers, and supervisors have duties under relevant legislation to exercise due diligence to ensure the health and safety of participants engaged in work off-campus. WOC participants have duties relating to workers under relevant legislation to take reasonable care for their own health and safety, and for the health and safety of other persons.

Specific health and safety responsibilities for work off-campus at The University of Queensland include:

5.1.1 Senior Officers

  • Acquire and keep up-to-date knowledge of work health and safety matters in relation to proposed work-off campus.
  • Ensure adequate resources have been allocated for carrying out the work in accordance with approved WOC Plans and OHS Risk Assessment.
  • Ensure appropriate processes are in place for receiving and considering information regarding incidents, hazards and risks and responding in a timely way to that information.
  • Review the performance of supervisors, staff and students with regard to their health and safety responsibilities for work off-campus.
  • Ensure that appropriate approvals have been granted, and records maintained, relating to work off-campus.

5.1.2 Supervisors

  • Supervise the development of WOC Plans and OHS Risk Assessment for the work off-campus.
  • Ensure adequate information is provided to all stakeholders for review and emergency preparedness and response.
  • Approve WOC Plans and OHS Risk Assessment.
  • Ensure that appropriate emergency procedures and equipment are in place for work off-campus.
  • Ensure that WOC Plans and OHS Risk Assessment are updated if the nature of the work changes and new OHS risks are introduced or a WOC Plan proves inappropriate.
  • Provide appropriate induction and training for WOC participants.
  • Ensure the provision, maintenance and proper use of PPE associated with work off-campus.
  • Provide appropriate supervision (appoint WOC Leader) to ensure that all WOC participants comply with the requirements of the WOC Plan and OHS Risk Assessment.
  • Ensure that timely reporting and appropriate corrective action is taken for all incidents involving WOC participants.

5.1.3 Work off-campus leader/participant (worker)

  • Participate in the development of WOC Plans and OHS Risk Assessment and obtain approval from the supervisor prior to the commencement of work.
  • Participate in work off-campus induction and training programs, as instructed by the supervisor.
  • Comply with legislative requirements and the University's policies and procedures.
  • Implement OHS risk control measures as described in OHS Risk Assessment.
  • Limit work off-campus to the approved, specified activities detailed in the WOC plan and OHS Risk Assessment.
  • Consult with the Supervisor if the nature of the work changes and new OHS risks are introduced or a WOC Plan proves inappropriate.
  • Update WOC Plans and OHS Risk Assessment if the nature of the work off-campus changes.
  • Ensure that emergency procedures and equipment are in place for work off-campus.
  • Report any injury, illness or near-miss event to the supervisor.

6. Work Off-Campus Plan

When planning work off-campus a WOC Plan must be completed and approved. The WOC Plan must include all relevant information relating to the work off-campus including travel, location, participants, communications, emergency plan, safe work procedures and OHS risk assessment. The extent of the planning and detail in the WOC Plan should be proportionate to the complexity and potentially hazardous nature of the work. Expert advice should be sought when considering appropriate OHS risk controls.

The Supervisor must review and approve the WOC Plan prior to the commencement of work and ensure the distribution of the approved WOC Plan to all WOC participants and the nominated University contact. Depending on the nature of the work, the Supervisor must ensure adequate information is provided to all stakeholders for review and emergency preparedness and response. This may include but is not limited to local police, rangers, security or permit issuers.

Refer to PPL 2.30.09c Work Off-Campus - Guideline for detailed guidance and direction when planning work off-campus.

The WOC Plan template is available on the forms tab of this procedure.

When requesting approval for travel for work off-campus, the WOC Plan and the OHS Risk Assessment should be provided to the relevant approver during the travel approval process. A reference to the WOC Plan and OHS Risk Assessment should be entered into the UniFi "Fieldwork Description" box. Further information relating to travel, refer to PPL 1.90.01a Travel - Policy.

7. Work Off-Campus OHS Risk Assessment

OHS Risk Assessment is the documented process that forms part of the University's OHS Risk Management procedure. OHS risk assessment ensures that the OHS hazards, risks and existing controls for work are identified and assessed. Where the current risk level requires attention or immediate action, proposed controls are required to be implemented to reduce the OHS risk as low as reasonably practicable.

In accordance with PPL 2.30.01 Occupational Health and Safety Risk Management - Procedure, an OHS Risk Assessment must be completed and approved for the work off-campus within the scope of this procedure. The OHS Risk Assessment must include all activities that constitute the work off-campus, including basic activities and specific activities which are detailed in safe work procedures.

Where the specific activities that constitute the work off-campus are complex or have no safe work procedures documented, an OHS Risk Assessment may be required for specific activity. This should be identified during the consultation process when establishing the context of the work off-campus and detailed in the OHS Risk Assessment descriptive fields.

OHS Risk Assessments should be completed in the UQ Risk Management Database, which can be accessed via the OHS Division website OHS Risk Management.

The following details the OHS Risk Management process in relation to the work off-campus considerations when conducting an OHS Risk Assessment:

7.1 Context and consultation

The first step in the OHS risk management process is to define the context of the work off-campus. Consultation should occur between supervisors, WOC leaders/participants, and if required health and safety representatives, WHS coordinators, OHS Division, Senior Officers and other relevant experts, giving due consideration to:

  • The work processes, practices, activities, tasks that will be carried out.
  • The plant, equipment and materials that will be utilised during the work.
  • How hazards/risks may interact with one another, e.g. one activity may affect the risks in another.
  • The people involved in carrying out the proposed work processes, and in what capacity.
  • Whether the work off-campus participants involved are sufficiently competent, skilled, and experienced.
  • The location and environmental considerations.
  • Emergency response and rescue.

Consultation may also extend to suppliers or manufacturers of plant, equipment or materials to be used during work off-campus.

7.2 Hazard identification and risk assessment

Once the context of the work has been defined and consultation has occurred, the next process is to complete the OHS Risk Assessment following these basic steps:

  1. Identify the hazards associated with work being conducted off-campus and the location.
  2. Assess the OHS risks associated with the identified hazards – who might be harmed, and how?
  3. Identify, determine and document appropriate control measures to minimise OHS risk and prevent harm.
  4. Ensure adequate resourcing, procedures, supervision and training are in place to effectively implement the control measures.

7.3 Risk controls

During work off-campus all WOC participants must ensure that controls measures are implemented and monitored according to the OHS Risk Assessment. WOC leaders and participants should limit work off-campus to the approved, specified activities detailed in the WOC plan and OHS Risk Assessment. In the event the nature of the work changes and new OHS risk are introduced or a WOC Plan proves inappropriate, the WOC leader and participants should consult with the Supervisor.

The WOC leader and participants should update WOC Plans and OHS Risk Assessment (by suitable means) and ensure emergency procedures and equipment in place remain relevant and effective for the changes to the work off-campus.

7.4 Incident reporting

All incidents must be reported via the online UQ Safe - Incident Reporting Database on the OHS Division website.

8. Further Information

OHS Division

Phone: 3365 2365

Email: ohs@uq.edu.au

Custodians
Director, Health, Safety and Wellness Mr Jim Carmichael