Skip to navigation Skip to content

The Work Health and Safety Policy, approved by the Vice-Chancellor, commits the University to ensuring a safe and healthy workplace for workers including staff, students, contractors and visitors. This requires the ongoing integration of work health and safety principles into work practices and the ongoing commitment of resources with effective consultation and communication between all workers. Everyone is responsible for their own safety and health and for that of others whose activities they may influence or control. The degree of responsibility and accountability a person has will depend on their authority and level of influence or control. This concept is recognised in law.

The University assigns responsibility via its line management structure to the extent of each worker's delegated authority. The work health and safety legislation describes the duty of care requirements for all workers. In particular, those who manage or supervise others must ensure that they are familiar with, and fulfil their obligations, for promoting effective health and safety. Failure to comply with these duties can result in a criminal conviction and/or heavy fines.

The Work Health and Safety Policy provides further information on the responsibilities and accountabilities for ensuring a safe and healthy workplace.

Personnel - duty of care checklists

Deans, Directors and other Officers

  1. Acquire knowledge and understand of the nature of University operations and the associated hazards and risks.
  2. Ensure that the UWA Work Health and Safety Policy and related requirements are implemented in devolved units under your direction.
  3. Demonstrate active and visible leadership by providing strategic direction through effective consultation and communication.
  4. Maintain a continuous overview of WHS by setting objectives for receipt of feedback from monitoring and reporting processes.
  5. Check that University processes for responding to injuries, incidents, near misses and hazards are being followed.
  6. Respond to reported WHS deficiencies through appropriate provision of resources to effect corrective action.
  7. Find time for an informal WHS discussion with members of your work group at least once per month. Seek to understand the hazards and risks associated with their work and how these are being managed. If you demonstrate that WHS is important to you, other workers will consider it important too. 

Heads of School, Centres and Administrative Units

  1. Ensure familiarity with key hazards and risks in your workplaces and key processes for controlling them.
  2. Ensure that management processes, which comply with the UWA Work Health and Safety Policy, are implemented throughout workplaces under your control.
  3. Demonstrate active and visible leadership through effective consultation and coordination to achieve strategic objectives.
  4. Provide governance to achieve objectives for monitoring and reporting processes and interpretation of outcomes to initiate appropriate responses.
  5. Check that reporting of injuries, incidents, near misses and hazards is timely and that appropriate investigations and conclusion are conducted.
  6. Check that where monitoring processes identify deficiencies, appropriate action is undertaken to enable allocation of resources to stimulate improvement and work towards compliance.
  7. Ensure that the necessary safety personnel are appointed and that their activities will be supported.
  8. Receive feedback from your workplace health and safety committee to maintain an overview of the current status in your workplaces.
  9. Ensure that all managers and supervisors understand work health and safety requirements and expectations to the extent that they can pass on relevant information, identify training needs and provide appropriate supervision in their workplace.

School Managers

  1. Ensure that workers understand work health and safety requirements and expectations through provision of relevant WHS induction, information, instruction, training and supervision.
  2. Ensure that hazards and areas of risk which can be proactively controlled are properly addressed. Controls may include competency based training and adoption of UWA Safe System of Work processes.
  3. Actively stimulate the local workplace safety culture by promoting discussion and integration of health and safety considerations into the planning of all tasks and activities undertaken.
  4. Ensure continuous improvement through self-examination of progress towards health and safety objectives and by external review via University monitoring and reporting processes.
  5. Take a direct and personal interest in reported injuries, incidents, near misses and hazards to ensure that appropriate reporting, investigation and response is being achieved.
  6. Use reported outcomes of monitoring process to allocate resources to correct identified deficiencies and work towards achieving legislative compliance.
  7. Encourage and enable safety personnel to fulfil appointed duties including representing workers, attending meetings, attending training and engagement in forums where pro-active planning and resolution of health and safety issues may be achieved.
  8. Ensure that the workplace health and safety committee is used as the focal point for monitoring, reporting and coordination of local health and safety management.
  9. Ensure a personal understanding of work health and safety requirements and University expectations and promote compliance in all forums where planning and operational management occurs.
  10. Ensure worker health and safety in areas of known risks by delegating the checking of proposed activities to subject experts and evaluating their opinion before granting permission to proceed.
  11. Promptly address work health and safety issues that are brought to your attention in consultation with those involved or affected and ensure that supervisors and other workers understand the health and safety issue resolution process and that it is used transparently and without prejudice.


  1. Familiarise yourself with and take responsibility for development of, procedures and practices which are applicable to the workplace you supervise.
  2. Ensure you are familiar with control of hazards from resources in your workplace and identify training needs to ensure optimum worker competency.
  3. Promote discussion, toolbox talks and consideration of work health and safety aspects of planned tasks and activities.
  4. Engage with and embrace monitoring processes as a valuable tool to assist and enhance your perspective of the current status of work health and safety.
  5. Ensure that workers report injuries, incidents, near misses and hazards promptly and in accordance with the prescribed procedures of UWA Safety, Health and Wellbeing.
  6. Apply allocated resources appropriately to strengthen and enhance work health and safety practices wherever applicable.
  7. Consult and cooperate with appointed safety personnel to enable them to fulfil the duties of their role.
  8. Make use of the Health and Safety Committee and Health and Safety Representatives to engage and consult regarding work health and safety matters.
  9. Apply your understanding of work health and safety and reinforce its most relevant messages in your workplace in all communication with workers.
  10. Engage with assessment of proposed tasks and activities which are planned for your workplace to ensure personal understanding and also to provide the benefit of your close personal knowledge of local working conditions and constraints.
  11. Investigate incidents, seeking to thoroughly identify the contributing factors, absent or failed defences and improvements required in order to prevent recurrence.
  12. Co-operate fully in the rehabilitation of injured employees.
  13. Ensure that all workers are familiar with emergency and evacuation procedures and the location of first aid kits, personnel and emergency equipment, and if appropriately trained, the use of emergency equipment.
  14. Ensure that you understand the resolution of issues process and ensure that workers are aware of it and can use it as needed.
  15. Refer work health and safety issues that are beyond your control to the relevant manager(s) for their attention, but ensure that interim action is taken to reduce the risks in a practical way.

Staff, students and affiliates

  1. Complete the UWA online health and safety induction and also workplace specific inductions.
  2. Familiarise yourself with the UWA Work Health and Safety Policy and work health and safety requirements which are applicable to your area of work.
  3. Always take reasonable care for your own health and safety and that of others who may be affected by your acts or omissions.
  4. When planning new or unfamiliar work and activities seek guidance from your supervisor to establish if proactive processes have already addressed potential hazards and whether there are outstanding risks which must be documented and assessed.
  5. Ensure you follow standard industry hazard control processes, legislative requirements, relevant standards and codes of practice.
  6. Cooperate with the University by following instruction from your supervisor to ensure compliance with work health and safety legislation.
  7. Report to your supervisor all hazards, near-misses, incidents and injuries.
  8. Participate in discussions and consultation on the management of work health and safety risks that may affect you.
  9. Follow University policies, procedures and requirements with respect to work health and safety.
  10. Wear appropriate clothing, footwear and protective equipment for the work being done and properly use relevant safety devices.
  11. Do not wilfully place at risk the health, safety or wellbeing of others or misuse safety equipment.
  12. Familiarise yourself with local and University wide emergency procedures and cooperate with directions from emergency wardens and other emergency personnel.

Specific organisational roles

University Safety Committee

The University Safety Committee comprises elected Health and Safety Representatives and representatives from University management. The purpose of the committee is to provide a forum for safety and health issues to be discussed and to make recommendations at a senior level.

A number of specialist safety sub-committees report to the University Safety Committee, including:

  • Chemicals and Carcinogen Committee
  • Emergency Planning Committee
  • Institutional Biosafety Committee
  • Radiation Safety Committee

Safety Committees

Faculties/Schools/Centres and Sections are strongly encouraged to systematically address safety and health matters through effective Safety Committees involving representatives from senior management, staff (academic, general), Health and Safety Representatives and students.

  • how to establish a health and safety committee
  • terms of reference
  • membership
  • reporting schedule
  • suggested proforma agenda documents
  • suggested proforma minutes documents
  • annual reporting profroma document

UWA Safety, Health and Wellbeing

The role of UWA Safety, Health and Wellbeing is to develop, advise on and assist in the implementation of the University's Work Health and Safety Policy. This is fulfilled through:

  • providing expert advice and assistance on safety, health and wellbeing issues
  • taking a leading role in safety, health and wellbeing policy development
  • supporting a University-wide network of safety and health personnel and committees
  • overseeing laboratory design and inspections
  • conducting safety and health management system audits and inspections
  • conducting ergonomic assessments of workstations and workplaces
  • assisting in the implementation of emergency procedures and training
  • co-ordinating and delivering training programs
  • providing coordinated rehabilitation programs to support injured employees and ensure a safe return to work
  • workplace support for staff members and their supervisors who may have non-work related injuries or illnesses
  • coordinating the Employee Assistance Program
  • providing a Health and Wellbeing Program for staff

UWA Safety, Health and Wellbeing provides the executive support for the University Safety Committee which is set up under legislation. The office is responsible to the Director, Human Resources.

UWA Campus Management

Campus Management's senior managers in planning and design, and operations and maintenance, are responsible for ensuring all University building structures and infrastructure services and equipment comply with all statutory regulations, Australian Standards and Codes of Practice requirements for OSH, environment, public health, Commonwealth Gene Technology legislation and local government authorities.


UWA Security's role is to monitor and assist with the personal safety of staff, students and visitors whilst on campus and to provide services to protect personal security such as night transport, security officers and barriers. They are also responsible for:

  • providing a first aid response service to the campus
  • co-ordinating the emergency response to fires, bomb threats, explosions, gas leaks, storms and other dangerous incidents
  • determining parking policy on campus including placement of barriers and signs in shared pedestrian/vehicle zones.

Nominated health and safety personnel roles

Health and Safety Representatives

The functions of a Health and Safety Representative, in the interests of safety and health at the workplace for which they are elected, are:

  • to inspect the workplace or any part of it at such times as agreed with the Faculty/Department/Centre/Section heads
  • immediately, in the event of an accident, a dangerous occurrence, or a risk of imminent and serious injury to, or imminent and serious harm to the heath of any person to carry out any appropriate investigation in respect of the matter
  • to keep informed on the health and safety information provided by the University in accordance with work health and safety legislation
  • forthwith to report to the immediate supervisor any hazard or potential hazard to which any person is, or might be, exposed at the workplace that comes to his/her notice
  • to refer any matters that they believe should be considered by the local health and safety committee or the University Safety Committee
  • to consult, cooperate and liaise with staff or students regarding matters concerning the safety, health and welfare of persons in the workplace.

Safety Officers

The role of Safety Officers is to assist Heads of Schools and Directors of Centres /Sections and supervisors in fulfilling their safety and health related responsibilities. Specific responsibilities include:

  • assisting with a management systems approach to safety and health within the School / Centre /Section
  • assisting with the appointment of safety personnel and ensuring they understand and fulfil their responsibilities
  • co-ordinating their activities with those of other safety personnel such as Health and Safety Representatives, First Aid Officers, Building Wardens, Wardens and designated Safety Officers (including Biological, Chemical, Fieldwork, Radiation)
  • conducting or co-ordinating regular internal safety inspections
  • discussing potentially hazardous processes and operations with staff, students and visitors and obtaining their co-operation in reducing them as much as possible
  • informing Heads of Schools and Directors of Centres/Sections in writing of remaining hazards (responsibilities for carrying out risk assessments lies with the staff member in control of the operation)
  • familiarising themselves with any statutory or University regulations, policies and procedures which would normally be applicable and informing their Head of School in writing in cases where this is not done
  • periodically inspecting hazard, incident and injury reports, investigating where appropriate, and taking appropriate action to achieve safe working and prevent recurrences
  • recommending to the Head of School any changes to avoid hazards (the responsibility for implementing such recommendation rests with the Head of School)
  • informing others of possible hazards by distribution and circulation of safety information and by appropriate publicity such as circulars or posters.


The evacuation of buildings may be required in the event of fires, major spills, bomb threats or earthquakes. Heads of School are primarily responsible for ensuring evacuation procedures are developed and enforced within their work areas. Wardens are responsible for assisting in the planning and the actual execution of building evacuations.

Wardens are required to be familiar with recognising and responding to alarms, ensuring the building is evacuated, ensuring that all personnel can be accounted for and for liasing with the support services which are required to attend to the alarm.

Each building should have a Building Warden and a number of Wardens for areas within the building. It is essential that there be deputy wardens to assist and in case of absences.

First Aid Officers

Nominated First Aid Officers have current Provide First Aid Certificate HLTAID011 and have skills in basic first aid as well as more complex lifesaving techniques such as expired air resuscitation and cardio-pulmonary stimulation. First Aid Officers are required to be familiar with the specific hazards and conditions of their workplace.

Other roles and responsibilities


Contractors includes principal contractors and their subcontractors, who may be engaged by UWA Facilities Management, Faculties, Schools or Sections for construction, building and infrastructure maintenance and repair, communication installations and deliveries on campus.

The requirements for Contractor Safety include:

  • ensuring their staff are properly qualified and trained to safely undertake the work
  • ensuring they and their staff are properly inducted to UWA specific standards
  • submitting a completed Risk Management Checklist with proof of insurances
  • submitting a Safety Management Plan for larger contract works
  • obtaining permits to work as required prior to commencing any hazardous work such as hot work, asbestos removal, demolition, confined spaces or electrical work.


Visitors are responsible for co-operating with University safety and health requirements and not interfering with any aspects of the safety and health management systems on campus.

Breach of conduct or discipline

Any misuse or interference with safety equipment or measures put in place to protect the safety and health of staff, students and others will not be tolerated, and those identified as misusing or interfering with safety equipment or measures will be dealt with as a breach of conduct or discipline.

Cookies help us improve your website experience. By using our website, you agree to our use of cookies.