Roles and responsibilities for health and safety instruction

Instruction statement

To ensure all accountabilities and responsibilities for the elements of the University’s Health and Safety Management System are defined, communicated, documented and measured (including those covered by health and safety legislation). This instruction applies University wide

Exclusions

n/a

Instruction steps and action

Process/responsibilities

Human Resources will ensure responsibilities are defined in line with the Health, Safety and Security Policy and communicated to the University community. Heads of Schools/Work units will ensure that specific responsibilities for health and safety are defined and assigned within their area of control.

The RMIT policy requires that:

  • Health and safety responsibilities are included in senior management positions descriptions with key performance indicators developed and incorporated into performance review.
  • All staff, visitors and contractors will be aware of their general and specific health and safety responsibilities.

Senior executives

The Vice-Chancellor’s Executive is responsible for ensuring the RMIT Health and Safety Management System is in place and operating effectively and health and safety objectives and targets are incorporated into University and College/Portfolio plans and budgets.

Members of the senior executive are responsible for ensuring:

  • Staff with supervisory or management responsibilities are held accountable for the management of health and safety in areas under their control;
  • A risk based approach is adopted for the management of health and safety;
  • Adequate budgetary provision is made for health and safety programs and initiatives;
  • Health and safety is included on the agenda of senior management meetings at regular intervals;
  • Health and safety performance is monitored and periodically reviewed.

Heads of school/work units

Heads of School/equivalent heads of work units are responsible and accountable for the health, safety and welfare of staff, students and visitors who are in their area of operations. They must integrate best practice health and safety management into school/work unit structure, processes and culture by ensuring that:

  • Local health and safety policies and practices are implemented and comply with legislative requirements and University policy and procedures;
  • Staff have the knowledge to meet their health and safety responsibilities through the provision of appropriate training;
  • Staff with supervisory or management responsibilities have clear accountabilities for the management of health and safety in areas under their control;
  • Responsibilities for health and safety are assigned and included in performance reviews;
  • A risk based approach is adopted for the management of health and safety;
  • Health and safety performance is monitored and periodically reviewed;
  • Adequate resources and budgetary provision is made for health and safety training and initiatives;
  • All reported incidents are fully investigated and preventative measures implemented;
  • There is a consultative structure in place to allow staff to raise health and safety issues;
  • Health and safety is discussed regularly at School/work unit management team meetings;
  • Appropriate safety personnel (elected health and safety representatives, emergency wardens, first aiders) are appointed and that adequate training and resources are allocated to enable them to fulfill their functions;
  • There is consultation with the relevant health and safety representative(s) on all proposed changes to the workplace which may affect the health and safety of employees.

Managers/Supervisors (any person, academic or non-academic, who controls or directs staff or students)

Managers/supervisors are those who are responsible for overseeing:

  • The work program of other staff;
  • The study program of honours and postgraduate students;
  • Students in lectures, tutorial and practical classes and on field trips.

Managers/supervisors have a duty of care for the health and safety of those in their charge. They are responsible for ensuring:

  • The provision of adequate supervision, information, assistance and training to staff and students;
  • Adequate induction is provided to staff, students and visitors;
  • Safe working practices are developed and maintained;
  • Work is carried out in accordance with regulatory requirements and University policies and procedures;
  • All accidents, injuries and near misses are reported;
  • The identification and control of hazardous situations using a documented risk management process.

Health and safety representatives

The Occupational Health and Safety Act (2004) outlines the rights and responsibilities of health and safety representatives. The following information provides a summary of these rights and responsibilities as set out in Section 58 of the Act.

A health and safety representative for the designated work group may do any of the following:

  • Inspect any part of a workplace at which a member of the designated work group works at any time giving reasonable notice to the employer concerned or its representative; and immediately in the event of an incident or any situation involving an immediate risk to health and safety of any person;
  • Accompany an inspector during an inspection of a workplace at which a member of the designated work group works;
  • Require the establishment of a health and safety committee.

With the consent of the employee, an employer shall:

  • Permit a health and safety representative to be present at any interview concerning occupational health and safety between the employer or a representative of the employer and the employee.

Provisional Improvement Notices (PINs)

Section 60 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (2004) states that health and safety representatives may issue Provisional Improvement Notices (PINs) after consultation with the person to whom the Notice is to be issued.

PINs are legal directions which assert non-compliance with a provision of the Act or regulations and require that the contravention be remedied.

General duties

These include:

  • To represent fellow staff to ensure a health and safe workplace.
  • To negotiate with management in the resolution of occupational health and safety issues.
  • To monitor the implementation of published OHS Policies and Procedures.
  • To keep a record of all incident/ accidents and near misses and ensure that the RMIT Incident report form is completed in such events.

Training

All health and safety representatives should undertake a 5 day approved training course (paid time off by RMIT).

Liability

All health and safety representatives are protected under the OHS Act 2004 against discrimination arising from carrying out the duties of a health and safety representative.

Staff who engage or manage independent contractors

The Occupational Health and Safety Act (Vic) 2004 states that independent contractors (and their employees) are to be regarded as employees of the organisation in terms of responsibility for health and safety. The responsibilities of staff that engage or manage contactors include ensuring:

  • Contractors health and safety performance is considered prior to engaging them;
  • The primary contractor completes a campus specific induction program;
  • A comprehensive job safety analysis is completed by the contractor before work commences;
  • Contractors carry out safe work practices.

Staff

Staffs have a duty of care to work safely, taking reasonable care to protect their own health and safety and that of fellow workers and students. Staff are responsible for:

  • Following safe working procedures and instructions;
  • Ensuring any hazardous conditions, near misses and injuries are reported immediately to their supervisors;
  • Participating in meetings, training and other health and safety activities;
  • Informing health and safety representatives of areas of concern.

Students

Students are obliged to adhere to the prescribed safety policies set by the University. Students are responsible for:

  • Following safe working procedures and instructions;
  • Adopting safe work and study practices;
  • Ensuring any hazardous conditions, near misses and injuries are reported to their supervisor/teacher;
  • Ensuring their behaviour does not pose a risk to the health and safety of anyone and does not interfere with or misuse materials, equipment or property.
  • Ensuring their behaviour does not pose a risk to the health and safety of any person
  • Ensuring they do not interfere with or misuse materials, equipment or property.

Human Resources

Human Resource’s focus is on the development of University health and safety strategy, policy and procedures and assisting Schools/work units meet their health and safety responsibilities.

Human Resources is responsible for:

  • Developing a University health and safety strategy;
  • Reporting and monitoring health and safety performance;
  • Developing health and safety policies, procedures and instructions;
  • Facilitating health and safety training;
  • Providing regular information, data and advice to Schools/work units;
  • Maintaining central health and safety data;
  • Investigating major incidents.

Property Services

Property Services is responsible for ensuring staff and students are able to work and study in safe buildings and grounds through:

  • Designing and constructing safe buildings and facilities;
  • Maintaining buildings and facilities in a safe condition;
  • Establishing maintenance programs for each building that are documented and budgeted for and there are protocols in place to report and action building health and safety issues;
  • Preparing for and managing emergencies;
  • Providing expert information and advice on property related health and safety issues;
  • Providing Security Services to maintain a safe campus environment.
  • Consultation with school and work unit managers, health and safety representatives and other appropriate staff in relation to works which may impact on their workplace.

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