Employee Participation System
for the University of Otago
University of Otago Employee Participation System August 2008
Please see document attached for 2008 agreement.
The 2003 version of the agreement is below......
1. Executive Summary
The Departmental Health and Safety Officer Working Party (DHSO WP) has been
reviewing the current DHSO system to identify a method of ensuring time
allocation for the DHSO positions to achieve the required outcomes.
working party has been expanded this year to include review of the current
and compliance with the Health and Safety in Employment Amendment Act 2002
and the requirement of a formal employee participation system.
Feedback on the draft employee participation system has been received from
the University Health and Safety committee and the Inter Union Council.
The following amended recommendations are now forwarded from the DHSO
working party to the Vice Chancellor and Inter-Union Council for agreement
of Otago Employee Representation System:
a) That the proposed complementary systems of DHSOs and elected H&S
Representatives is implemented within the University of Otago Employee Participation
System, meeting the requirements of the Health and Safety in Employment Amendment
b) That the DHSO job description (appendix 2) applies to the University
c) That the time allocation system for DHSOs applies to the University
d) That the role description (appendix 3) of elected H&S Representatives
applies to the University of Otago;
e) That the proposed Hazard Notification process (appendix 4) applies
to the University of Otago;
f) That the employee participation system is reviewed after 12 months;
g) That health and safety representatives are elected;
h) That the University Health and Safety Committee membership includes
1 nominated health and safety representative; and
i) That the University health and safety committee membership includes
1 Inter Union Council member.
Parties in Agreement:
Dr Graeme Fogelberg,
Inter-Union Council Working Party Representatives:
Employee Working Party Representatives:
The 2002 salary negotiations resulted in the following:
"To agree with the unions a policy for the recognition of time commitments of
departmental health and safety officers within their normal work commitments."
Stephen Gray, Director, Human Resources, established a working party
to progress the development of a suitable policy. The initial group
- Andrea McMillan, University Health and Safety Manager, Convenor
- Lynne Tana, Manager, Employee Relations, Human Resources
- Bryan Johnston, Divisional Administrator, Sciences Division
- Shaun Scott, Otago University Inter-Union Council
- Neale McGowan, PSA representative, School of Dentistry
- Irene Hall, AUS Representative, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology
- Gordon Fleury, Union Trades Representative, Property Services
Initial discussions identified the need to address the legislative
changes following the passing of the Health and Safety in Employment
Act (Amendment Act) 2002 (appendix 1).
The Amendment Act requires
the development of an employee participation system where more
persons are employed
agreed to between the employer, employee representatives and Unions
A request was forwarded to Dr Ron Heath (Chair, University H&S Committee)
and Stephen Gray to expand the scope of the working party to include the development
of an employee participation system as required under the Amended Act. This
was agreed, and to meet the requirements of employee (non-union) representation,
an invitation was extended to employees for participation in the working party.
This resulted in the addition of the following members:
- Cathy Bennett, DHSO, Chemistry
- Mark Gould, DHSO, Anatomy and Structural Biology
- Sandra England, Contracting Estimator, Property Services
- Anne Thornton, Pathology, Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences
- Karen Elliot, School of Physiotherapy, Christchurch School of Medicine
and Health Sciences. (Wellington and Christchurch representatives are corresponding
members of the group.)
A proposed project plan was forwarded to members, and a weekly
meeting schedule established with participants. The working party
21 February 2003
11 March 2003
31 March 2003
20 May 2003
27 May 2003
3 June 2003
10 June 2003
24 June 2003
1 July 2003
29 July 2003
5 August 2003
12 August 2003
2 September 2003
9 September 2003
14 October 2003
Information on the Amendment Act and the current DHSO system were
circulated to all members as a starting point. The Inter-Union
Council was asked
to specify the Unions requirement for an employee participation
minimum requirements were indicated by the IUC:
- Elected health and safety representatives (H&S Reps)
- Functions of the H&S Reps defined
- Ensure appropriate time is allocated for H&S Reps to carry
out their role
- A review process after 12 months
- A minimum 2 days approved training for the H&S Reps per year
- Will need to be signed off on behalf of the Unions by the Inter-Union
It was noted that there is a default position within the legislation
whereby if an agreed employee participation system cannot be
reached within 6 months
of the implementation of the Amendment Act (5 November 2003),
are automatically elected.
3. Employee Participation System
In view of the Union requirements for an employee participation
system, the current role of the DHSOs was discussed in some detail, including the
advantages of the current system and the improvements required.
The following key points were identified:
- The current DHSO system is an integral part of the University
management system for compliance with the current legislation
(e.g.: Hazard identification).
- The current DHSO responsibilities, and the draft job description,
are well in excess of the legislative H&S representatives'
- Having elected representatives fulfilling the DHSO role may reduce HOD/Manager
ability to manage health and safety within the department.
- The experience and knowledge base required for the DHSO position has
specific requirements that may not be met through an election process.
- The DHSO system is currently in place, and although improvements are
sought, to remove the DHSO system will expose the University to significant
- The intent/function of H&S Reps within the Amendment Act
(by way of OSH publications) was viewed as an opportunity to
increase H&S resources, and
complement the current H&S management systems.
- The role of the H&S Rep, as an alternative and confidential
contact, is viewed as a positive aspect of the amended legislation.
After much discussion, the group agreed that an elected H&S Rep system
would complement the current DHSO system and could be incorporated into the
University H&S management systems, meet the Amendment Act requirements
and the Union requirements.
The DHSO WP agreed:
- To propose a complementary H&S Rep system whilst retaining
the DHSO system (see above), to be known as the University of
Otago Employee Participation
- To draft a DHSO job description, consult on the draft through
the DHSO network and nominated HOD's/Managers, then forward
to the University H&S
Committee for endorsement.
- To develop and propose a system of agreeing time allocation for DHSOs.
- To develop a draft H&S Rep role description.
- To develop a draft H&S Rep election process.
- To develop a draft H&S Rep. Hazard Notification process inclusive
Rep ability to involve OSH.
- To present the proposals to the University H&S Committee
and Inter-Union Council for endorsement.The remainder of the
report discusses the progress
to date supporting the recommendations in the executive
4. DHSO Job Description
The group identified that prior to any time allocation
system being developed the requirements of the DHSO position
first be clarified.
information on the expectations of DHSOs from the University
of Otago Health and Safety Manual 1996, and current DHSO
job descriptions was used as
The DHSO conference held in December
2002 also provided information on the current perceptions and
limitations of the role. The DHSO WP developed
a draft job description that was circulated for consultation.
Consultation feedback resulted in minor changes to the
draft. The final draft is now submitted
to the University H&S Committee for endorsement (appendix 2).
4.1 Key factors of the DHSO system are:
- There must be an appointed DHSO for each identified work area,
generally by department. Where the DHSO covers more than one department,
or part of a department,
the area must be specified in the job description.
- The DHSO and HOD/Manager must meet at least quarterly to discuss H&S
compliance within the department.
- The DHSO job description must include required outcomes that must be
reviewed as a part of the professional development review and contribute to salary
- The specific functions of the DHSO position can be divided amongst staff
in a department provided this is documented in respective job descriptions and
time allocations are specified.
- The DHSO and HOD/Manager may review the performance of the role more
frequently as required. Where non-performance is identified, the usual management
should be followed.
- The annual internal H&S audit will request specific information
on the appointment, training, and resource allocation of the
DHSO positions within
4.2 System for DHSO time allocation
The DHSO WP have begun the process of identifying methods
of allocating time required for fulfilling the DHSO
on the draft
job description. Formulas have been discussed; however,
it is recognised that a formula
cover every work situation, as the health and safety
complexity of departments varies significantly. The
- It is a HOD/Manager responsibility to appoint a DHSO within the
- The time allocation is to be negotiated between the DHSO and HOD/Manager,
and must be agreeable to both parties. Specific information and guidance on factors
to be included in the negotiation are to be developed,
but will include examples
of existing time allocations for various departments,
factors for consideration such as the nature and complexity of the hazards within
(e.g.: laboratories, office based, fieldwork,
- Formal notification of the appointed DHSO and time allocation to be forwarded
to the University H&S Office.
- Where a time allocation cannot be agreed to, or where assistance or guidance
is sought, a panel of 'experts' will be convened through the University
H&S Manager, to review the situation with
the department and recommend a time allocation
- The panel of experts (yet to be identified) will include a range of expertise
in relation to the hazards and safety requirements
of specific work areas (e.g.: laboratories, fieldwork, office based, etc.). It
is proposed that a panel of
up to four would be selected to review each situation
and recommend a time allocation. The resulting recommendation will be forwarded
to the HOD/Manager.
4.3 Evaluation of altered Job Descriptions
It is recognised that the inclusion of the DHSO job
description may require evaluation of the altered
the time allocation, the current job description
and altered job description (including
DHSO responsibilities) may be submitted for re-evaluation.
To set the context
of the responsibilities, an additional information
sheet (to be developed) will need to be included,
identifying the number
staff, and the
complexity of environment (labs, office, etc.).
outcomes of job evaluation
review are that the level of the position may increase,
decrease, or remain the same.
An exit policy needs to be developed and applied
for the potential situation where an employee wishes
from the DHSO
in a decrease of salary level, to define how this
will be managed.
5. H&S Representatives
The function and role of the H&S Representatives is broadly outlined in
the Amendment Act. The WP reviewed available literature and drafted a role
description for H&S Representatives within the University of Otago (see
The principle advantages of the H&S Representative role are viewed as:
- Alternative contact for staff and students to raise H&S issues
- Support for the DHSOs
- Increase of H&S resources through the involvement of trained H&S
- Increased involvement by employees, and the Unions, on health and safety
There may also be the situation where there is a history of contact regarding
H&S issues with Management and/or the DHSO but resulting in an unsatisfactory
outcome. The H&S Representative system would allow an alternative contact
with the ability to maintain confidentiality. While this is not the expected
first point of contact, an alternative system will have benefits.
5.1 Number of H&S Representatives
A process similar to that of the Ethical Behaviour
Policy contact network was discussed, where
H&S Representatives are available for staff to contact
should a specific hazard or issue be of concern, or where the individual is
not comfortable approaching management or the DHSO. Consideration and discussion
of numbers identified the need to be realistic in the expectations for nominations
of H&S Representatives, to meet the requirements of legislation and Union
expectations, and to provide reasonable accessibility by staff. Human Resources
provided EFT's the staff on a divisional basis (dated 31 March 2003).
After much discussion, the WP agreed to a ratio of approximately 100:1 staff
to H&S Representatives.
||Number of Staff (General and Academic)
||Number of H&S Representatives
|School of Business
| Other (Pharmacy, Physio, Divisional and Faculty Office)
|School of Education
| School of Liberal Arts
|School of Social Science
|Halls, Accommodation Services, Careers Advisory Service, Contact Centre, DVC
(A) office, Disability Information & Support Services, HEDC, Maori Centre,
Quality Advancement, Rec. Services, Student Admin, Student Health)
||1 for Trades
|Property Services, Human Resources, Financial Services, RE&I, Corporate,
Marketing & Communications
Note: The University Union has a significant
number of part time and casual employees that
recorded in Tangata.
representatives in this area would be addressed
local level once the system is agreed.
5.1 Role and functions of H&S Representative
The draft Elected H&S Representative role
is attached as appendix 3. In addition, there
are the following key factors to be observed:
- Must be nominated and elected by staff.
- Must be employees who have worked for the University a total of 180 hours
in the previous year in an employment capacity.
- Will receive 2 days training by an approved training provider.
- To attend a bridging 3-hour University Health and Safety training course.
- Any member of staff may approach any H&S Representative.
- A time allocation of up to 8 hours per month may be required to perform
the required tasks, in addition to training allowance.
- Term of office is 12 months, when a review of the system will occur.
- Of the group of elected H&S Representatives, one Representative will be
nominated by the group to attend the University H&S
5.2 Hazard Notification Process
The University H&S Systems currently have a number of methods
for staff to bring hazards to the attention of management. These
- Notifying the DHSO, supervisor, line manager or the health and
safety team of a hazard or concern, either verbally or by a completed hazard
- Accident and near-miss investigations.
- Employer/employee forums, departmental meetings, staff meetings.
- Notification to Unions
- Continual updates in legislative requirements.
- Completion of Property Services request forms to address specific hazards.
- Hazard register and documentation maintained by DHSOs.
The Amendment Act specifically allows for trained, elected H&S Representatives
to raise a hazard with the Occupational Safety and Health Service, following
the notification to the employer without successful resolution. Appendix 4
is the draft hazard notification process to an H&S
Representative, including notification to
HOD/Manager for resolution before notification
6. Election Process
The DHSO WP has begun considering the
election process. The identified
at present are that:
- Call for nominations by staff circular, notice on web site, all-departments
email, posters etc.
- The nominations are received by the Returning Officer, an Employee of
the University *
- A ballot system is the preferred option (postal or meeting based)
- Ballot papers sent centrally by the employer seems the most feasible
- Union and non-union employee representatives as scrutineers of the ballot
- Management will be informed by the Returning Officer of the Health and
Safety Representatives resulting from the election process.
* The process for selection of the returning
officer has not been decided. The
Inter-Union Council representatives
noted that they
would like the Returning Officer
to be nominated by the IUC.
7. Review Process
The working party has discussed particular
elements of the review process
to evaluate the employee
period of 12
key points from our preliminary
discussions are noted, but are not exclusive.
The full review
to the 12-month
- The review team needs to be of the same composition as the original
- Any proposed changes are to be agreed and signed off by all parties
- The review process is to cover the following aspects (not an exclusive
- Outcome of job evaluation and promotion process evaluated for DHSOs/H&S
- The election process
- Number of representatives
- Time allocations specified and provided
- Training attendance
- Hazard notices raised - process and outcomes, numbers, etc.
- Hazard registers in place
Note: The Representatives from the Inter-Union Council indicated
that the provision of an allowance
for health and safety positions was their
of recognition, and will revisit
this position at the review period.
Appendix 2: DHSO Job Description
DHSO Job description
Appendix 3: H&S Representative role description
You can download the H&S Representative role description in Word format.
Appendix 4: Hazard Notification Process
- Individual notifier to remain confidential to H&S Representative.
- Individual notifier to agree with H&S Rep most appropriate contact
to refer hazard on to.
- Hazard investigation team may access any resources to identify solution,
- Formal Hazard notices raised to OSH though an elected and trained
health and safety representative.
- University H&S Manager and HOD/Manager must be aware of the notification.
- University H&S Manager and H&S Committee must be informed
of process and outcome.
- Individual is able to contact Union at any stage of the process.Appendix
5: Existing Hazard Notification.
You can download the
University of Otago Hazard Notification Form in Word format.