Staff at all levels within the University of Queensland have specific responsibilities for ensuring Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S). These responsibilities are principally based on the Queensland Work and Health and Safety Act (2011) and related regulations and legislation. The UQ OH&S policy further reinforces these responsibilities.

The specific OH&S responsibilities of staff are dependent on their role within the University.

OH&S responsibilities should be incorporated into staff position descriptions, and the associated performance criteria should be utilised during annual performance reviews.

Staff OH&S Responsibilities

(Refer to PPL 2.10.4 Staff Responsibilities for Occupational Health and Safety for full details)

  • Executive Deans and Senior Managers
    • Set a clear OH&S policy
    • Allocate responsibility for OH&S management and delegation of authority
    • Establish a faculty/division occupational health and safety committee
    • Allocate sufficient resources for OH&S management
    • Ensure implementation of the risk management program within Schools/Organisational Units
    • Ensure implementation of a scheme for hazard and accident follow-up
    • Enthusiastically assist and support University procedures for identification, processing and managing Workers’ Compensation Claims and Workplace Rehabilitation
    • Ensure that Schools/Organisational Units have effective systems for the provision of OH&S information, training and supervision
    • Ensure that Schools/Organisational Units have effective emergency procedures
  • Heads of Schools and Organisational Units
    • Set a clear OH&S policy
    • Allocate responsibility for OH&S management and delegation of authority
    • Allocate sufficient resources for OH&S management
    • Implement a risk management program
    • Implement a scheme for hazard and accident follow-up
    • Enthusiastically assist and support University procedures for identification, processing and managing Workers’ Compensation Claims and Workplace Rehabilitation
    • Ensure provision of OH&S information, training and supervision
    • Establish and disseminate emergency procedures
  • Supervisors
    • Provide OH&S information, training and supervision
    • Undertake risk assessments
    • Ensure application of appropriate risk control measures
    • Implement a scheme for hazard and accident follow-up
  • Individual staff / RHD students
    • Comply with safe working procedures
    • Use of appropriate personal protective equipment and safety systems
    • Assist with the preparation of risk assessments
    • Report OH&S problems 

Work Health and Safety Co-ordinators / Managers (WHSC)

The Work Health and Safety Act (2011) requires the University to train and appoint Work Health and Safety Co-ordinators (WHSCs) to assist in the effective management of workplace risk. In departments and sections where work activities present the potential for significant risk to the health and safety of staff, the training and appointment of a WHSC is considered essential.

In Faculties, Institutes and Schools where the Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) Committee believes there is sufficient risk, a dedicated OH&S Manager may be appointed. Where this is the case, the OH&S Manager must be an accredited WHSC and carry out the functions listed for a WHSC, in addition to the specific responsibilities of an OH&S Manager.

The appointment of WHSCs (including OH&S Managers) does not relinquish the responsibilities of heads of department, managers, supervisors or staff under the Work Health and Safety Act. Rather, the appointment of WHSCs is part of the strategy to assist all parties in meeting their legislative responsibilities.

Refer to the following PPL's for additional information:

Health and Safety Representatives (HSR)

The Work Health and Safety Act (2011) requires workplace health and safety representatives to be elected in the workplace. The staff member does not need any experience or qualification to be a workplace health and safety representative.

The University requires the election of at least three (3) workplace health and safety representatives for each Faculty. At least one (1) academic staff member and one (1) general staff member should be elected as workplace health and safety representatives by their peers. It is the responsibility of the Executive Dean to determine whether the third staff nominee will be from a general or academic staff background. This decision will require consultation with staff and where appropriate, relevant unions. Factors to be considered include level of risk for duties undertaken by academic and general staff and the numbers of general and academic staff in the Faculty.

Workplace health and safety representatives' elections should be held once every three years (beginning of first semester), or in the event of casual vacancies due to retirement/resignation. A workplace health and safety representative is eligible for re-election.

Refer to the following HUPP for additional information: