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Health, Safety and Environment Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) risk at QUT is managed in accordance with overarching principles that inform all Health, Safety and Environment decisions, operations, initiatives, and activities. The principles are based on responsibilities and accountabilities in the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld), the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (Qld), the Radiation Safety Act 1999 (Qld), and associated legislation.

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Section 2 - Application

(2) This Policy applies to all QUT community members and all activities conducted by or on behalf of the University, including work integrated learning activities. It applies to places managed or controlled by the University including QUT campuses and distributed sites. It also applies to off-campus locations (such as field work and research sites) where the University conducts its operations.

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Section 3 - Roles and Responsibilities

Position Responsibility
Vice-Chancellor and President Has overall responsibility and accountability for ensuring health, safety and environmental protection across all QUT campuses, distributed sites and at off-campus locations whenever members of the QUT community are carrying out activities or conducting business for or on behalf of QUT.

Monitors and ensures health, safety and environment is embedded in University operations and activities and is an integral part of QUT culture.

Ensures adequate funding and resources are allocated to maintain a strong Health, Safety and Environment presence across QUT operations and activities.
Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar Ensures adequate funding and resources are allocated to maintain a strong Health, Safety and Environment presence at a divisional level.

Advocates and supports the integration of health, safety and environment activities into QUT core business and the work of the Department of Health, Safety and Environment.

Chairs the University Health, Safety and Environment Committee and approves the QUT Health, Safety and Environment Business Plan (QUT staff access only) and HSE-related policies (QUT staff access only).
University Officers (defined in Delegations) Manage Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) risks and hazards associated with QUT’s operations and activities and proactively implements strategies to eliminate or minimise their impact (in partnership with staff and others), and in accordance with legislation and standards.

Must, as far as is reasonably practicable for their area/s of responsibility:
  1. maintain a current knowledge of relevant health, safety and environment matters, legislation and standards;
  2. minimise environmental harm from QUT operations and activities;
  3. ensure adequate funding and resources are allocated at a local level to embed a strong health, safety and environment presence;
  4. ensure effective implementation of processes to receive, consider, investigate, act on, and report about, incidents, hazards and risks;
  5. facilitate suitable consultation, communication and provide access to appropriate training and information, to support the development of a safety culture at QUT thereby assisting to minimise the risk of injury to persons, damage to property and/or harm to the environment;
  6. establish and support local health, safety and environment committees;
  7. nominate sufficient personnel for specific health, safety and environment-related positions e.g. Health, Safety and Environment Advisor (HSEA), Radiation Safety Officer (RSO), Wellness Ambassadors, and Emergency Control Organisation (ECO) positions (Emergency Management Policy).
Director, Health Safety and Environment Supports a Health, Safety and Environment focus across all operations and activities of the University by implementing the following measures to fulfil legal obligations and align with legislation:
  1. develops, reviews, approves, promotes and supports Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) - related through systems, documentation, people, consultation and communications, committees, and information;
  2. provides expert advice and support to University Officers in meeting their due diligence obligations;
  3. determines if HSE-related incidents are notifiable and reports to the appropriate Regulator and University Officer/s within mandatory timeframes;
  4. acts as Possession Licensee’s Nominee for the maintenance of QUT’s radiation development, approval, and compliance with QUT’s Radiation Safety and Protection Plan.
University Health, Safety and Environment Committee (UHSEC) Monitors and reviews the implementation of health, safety and environmental strategies and initiatives across the University.
Local area Health Safety and Environment Committees Monitor and review faculty/division health, safety and environment performance and initiatives.

Implement Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) management activities, and health and well-being initiatives at a local level.

Monitor and analyse reported health, safety and environment-related incidents as required.

Report to the University Health, Safety and Environment Committee.

Oversee local workplace inspections and risk-based reviews as per the faculty/division HSE Committee Action Plan.
Director, Facilities Management For activities within Facilities Management operations:
  1. monitors and ensures all contractors and consultants adhere to University policies and procedures including the University’s consultant and contractor safety information;
  2. ensures all contractors and consultants complete and provide an appropriate risk assessment prior to commencing work (if required);
  3. ensures processes are in place so that all contractors and consultant’s Health, Safety and Environment (HSE)-related licences, permits and qualifications are suitable for the activity required and seeks evidence if required;
  4. ensures all contractors and consultants comply with all relevant Health, Safety and Environment-related legislation, standards, and codes of practice applicable to their scope of work.
Managers and Supervisors For activities within their area/s of responsibility, as required:
  1. exercise due diligence when planning and undertaking activities (including identifying and managing risks, documenting controls through risk assessments and ensuring regular review).
  2. ensure QUT community members under their care:
    1. are aware of their responsibilities under health, safety and environment-related legislation, this Policy, supporting documents, and the risks and hazards in their area;
    2. receive appropriate instruction, information, training and supervision to confirm competency;
  3. conduct and/or participate in Health, Safety and Environment audits, risk-based reviews and; inspections as required;
  4. ensure permits, licences and authorities are obtained (as required) for any activities (e.g. electrical licence to conduct electrical work);
  5. support staff throughout workplace health support (QUT staff access only) and Workplace health and rehabilitation;
  6. ensure prompt reporting (via the HSE Hub (QUT staff and student access only)) and investigation of all incidents and hazards to relevant health, safety and environment and faculty/division personnel;
  7. ensure that work areas and equipment under their control are safe and fit for purpose;
  8. ensure processes are in place so that all contractors and consultant’s Health, Safety and Environment-related licences, permits and qualifications are suitable for the activity required and seeks evidence if required;
  9. ensure all contractors and consultants comply with all relevant Health, Safety and Environment-related legislation, standards, and codes of practice applicable to their scope of work.
Health, Safety and Environment Health Advisors (HSEA) Provide advice and support to Managers and Supervisors (as required) in their local area on:
  1. Health, Safety and Environment matters;
  2. interpretation and implementation of Health, Safety and Environment-related legislation, standards, QUT policies, procedures and supporting documents;
  3. identification and management of health, safety and environment-related risks and hazards, providing advice on hazard controls;
  4. complete low-level investigations in their local area as needed and in accordance with relevant incident management processes;
  5. assist with inspections, audits and risk assessments as required.
First Aid Officers Hold current, recognised first aid training certificates, manage and maintain first aid kits according to QUT procedures, and provide first aid as required.
Wellness Ambassadors Promote a University-wide culture that supports a positive approach to psychological, physical, social, emotional, cultural, organisational and professional wellbeing in their local area.
QUT community Be aware of, and comply with, all health, safety and environment-related responsibilities.

Take reasonable care for their own health and safety, and the health and safety of others.

Comply with all University health, safety and environment policies, procedures, supporting documents and required training.

Ensure health, safety and environment-related hazards and incidents are reported through the HSE Hub (QUT staff access only) and to an appropriate supervisor in a timely manner and with sufficient detail to allow further investigation and resolution if required (the health, safety and environment related webpages provide further information - Incident management and HSE Risk Management (QUT staff access only)).

Risk assessments must consider health, safety and environment implications when planning an activity e.g. a research project, teaching unit, laboratory experiment.
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Section 4 - Health, Safety and Environment at QUT

(3) The Health, Safety and Wellbeing of people and protection of the environments in which it operates is integral to all QUT operations and activities and is supported through:

  1. recognising Health, Safety and Environment as core University business and providing resources to successfully deliver this;
  2. a risk management approach that accepts the requirements outlined in legislation and standards as the minimum, while establishing and enforcing more stringent standards where appropriate;
  3. promoting a culture among all QUT community members to take personal responsibility for minimising the risk of injury to people and damage to property or infrastructure;
  4. supporting staff and student health and wellbeing through a range of programs, activities and health initiatives;
  5. protecting the environments in which we operate by preventing or mitigating environmental harm from our activities;
  6. continuous improvement in the prevention and management of incidents and improvement of environmental performance through a risk-based health, safety and environment (HSE) approach and by actively supporting a proactive health, safety and wellness culture.

(4) Operational health, safety and environment policy, standards and processes approved under this Policy are binding upon all members of the QUT community.

(5) QUT will meet its responsibilities through a robust, overarching health, safety and environment framework that:

  1. is comprised of people, systems, programs, documentation, training, communication and processes;
  2. aligns with BS ISO 45001:2018 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems and the AS/NZS ISO 14001:2016 - Environmental management systems;
  3. guides activities and developments in health, safety and environmental protection within the University, based on best practice risk management principles;
  4. is appropriate to the University's activities, operations and people, and ensures a culture of continuous improvement through regular monitoring and review;
  5. is consistent with, and supports, the University's vision, values, Connections - the QUT Strategy 2023 to 2027 and strategic goals.
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Section 5 - Managing Health, Safety and Environment Risk

(6) All members of the QUT community have a role in managing Health, Safety and Environment risks.

(7) QUT’s Health, Safety and Environment risk management approach aligns with:

  1. the QUT Risk Management Policy and Enterprise Risk Management (QUT staff access only) to ensure a consistent approach across the University
  2. the Health, Safety and Environment Risk Register (QUT staff and student access only), which provides guidance on legislative obligations and appropriate controls for known HSE hazards/risks and is considered the minimum standard for managing health, safety and environment related risk at QUT.
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Section 6 - Chemical Management, Radiation and Biological Safety

(8) Approved procedures govern the acquisition, transportation, storage, use and disposal of high-risk items such as radiation sources, dangerous goods, biologicals and hazardous substances such as chemicals. To assist in the management of these risks, all radiation, biological and chemical users must adhere to established processes. For example:

  1. The QUT procurement process for chemicals is managed by Health, Safety and Environment through the ChemStore (QUT staff access only). All QUT chemicals must be purchased via the chemical catalogue.
  2. All radiation activities are governed by the QUT Radiation Safety and Protection Plan approved by Queensland Health.
  3. All biological users must work with biological material within appropriate facilities for work with biologicals and have appropriate approvals from the University Biosafety Committee (UBC) for Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and high risk biologicals (QUT staff access only).
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Section 7 - Monitoring and Review

(9) The University will monitor and assess any updates or changes to health, safety and environmental legislation, standards, codes of practice or guidelines and will communicate any changes.

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Section 8 - Records Management

(10) All University records must be retained and disposed of in accordance with the QUT Records Governance Policy, Information Privacy Policy and Information Access Policy.

(11) The Department of Health, Safety and Environment has developed a retention and disposal schedule for all health, safety and environment-related records to assist QUT community members to meet their legislative obligations.

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Section 9 - Failure to Comply

(12) Failure to follow safe systems of work, misuse of health and safety equipment, tampering with Health, Safety and Environment signage, damaging or bypassing risk control measures, or taking action that may put themselves or others at risk, can lead to severe fines or prosecution under legislation. Breaches of this Policy may be considered a breach of the Code of Conduct - Staff, Enterprise Agreements, the Code of Conduct - Student and/or the Grievance resolution procedures for student related grievances policies.

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Section 10 - Definitions

Term Definition
Authorised Visitors Means visitors that the University may provide with access to facilities to enhance their ability to complete tasks for the University or to liaise with the University. Such visitors may include, but are not limited, to alumni, external auditors, regulators or consultants, potential clients or business partners, contractors or vendors, volunteers, conference delegates, and students and staff of other universities.
Due Diligence Means continually and comprehensively ensuring that all members of the QUT community are kept safe and involves taking reasonable steps to secure compliance with legislation.
Environmental Protection Means the practice of protecting the natural environment by individuals, organisations and governments. Its objectives are to conserve natural resources and the existing natural environment and, where possible, to repair damage and reverse trends.
Incidents Means all injuries, accidents, near misses, dangerous events and environmental harm.
Local Area Means within a faculty, institute, division, school or department (i.e. not University-wide).
Manager and Supervisor Means any person who is responsible for supervision, direction, or oversight of the QUT community, QUT facilities, or QUT operations and activities whether on or off campus.
QUT Community Means all staff, students and authorised visitors.
Reasonably Practicable Means that which is, or was at a particular time, reasonably able to be done in relation to ensuring health and safety, taking into account all relevant matters, including, with respect to the hazard or risk: the likelihood, the degree of harm which might result, what the person knows, or should reasonably know, and the availability, suitability and cost of ways to eliminate or minimise the risk.
Standards Means Australian Standards (AS) and other International Standards (ISO, IEC etc.).
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Section 11 - Delegations

(13) Refer to Register of Authorities and Delegations (VC002) (QUT staff access only).