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4.4 Health and Safety Documentation and Information

Health and safety information is available to workers and students through the Health and Safety web pages, which includes the A-Z of Health and Safety information

Health and safety  documentation is developed as per the procedural guidelines. All  polices, guidelines and codes of practice are forwarded to the Policy  Framework group prior to submission to the Vice Chancellor for  authorisation. The detailed requirements are described in the Policy Development document.

Policies can be found in the Policy Library.

The detailed Occupational Health &  Safety (OHS) procedures for document control & retention requirements are  described in the following documents: OHS records management at University of Otago; OHS risk management at University of Otago

4.5 Health and Safety Document and Data Control

Operational  control of risks and hazards is documented in the health and safety risk and hazard  management module and recorded in Vault, the online health and safety management system.  Compliance information is  available through the Health and safety web page and the Policy Library.  The audit schedule and review process assists with measuring  operational controls in place.

4.6 Health and Safety Risk and Hazard Identification, Assessment and Control

The University of Otago OHS Management System has established documented procedures to ensure the following are conducted:

  • hazard identification,
  • hazard and risk assessment, and control of risks and hazards
  • evaluation of effectiveness of control measures

Health and Safety  Policies are developed for high risk activities where there is  regulatory or industry specific health and safety guidance documentation. Policies  are developed through the policy development procedure to ensure  compliance with the University policy framework, sufficient consultation  and an outcome that is fit for purpose.

Hazard identification

The hazard matrixis a starting point for the hazard identification process. It identifies which of the hazards apply to your work area. Vault, the online health and safety management system, contains generic hazards and provides controls and information sources.  You can also find additional information on the Health and safety webpage A – Z. There will be other hazards specific to your department – make sure your Departmental Health and Safety Officer (DHSO) or Supervisor is told of any hazards that should be in the hazard register.  The DSHO for your area will have entered the hazards for your department in the Vault system and a hazard register will have been created and be available.  Controls for a specific hazard are recorded in Vault and are reviewed at least annually, or after an event occurs.  You should be informed of the hazard controls relative to your position. Controls include the use of personal protective equipment, training, supervision, guarding, monitoring of the environment, limited access and use of equipment, etc.

Risk management

Risk management is outlined in the Risk Management Framework and includes a risk matrix. This risk matrix has been incorporated into the Vault online health and safety management system, and hazards are risk assessed based on this matrix. Hazards are things that exist and can cause harm (such as a drill press), risk is the combined likelihood of that hazard being in use or circumstance that allows harm. For example, a guarded drill press that is used by a trained and experiences person and it is the right tool for the job is unlikely to cause harm and be used in a same manner i.e. the risk of injury is low. The purpose of risk and hazard management is to ensure that the work that is required to be done, with the tools and processes is managed to minimise the risk of harm to any person on campus.

Generic health and safety high risk activities have been identified and policy requirements implemented to manage these risks and hazards.

Control of risks and hazards

Vault, the online health and safety management system, records the risks or hazards identified, the risk or hazard controls and generates reports. The DHSO is primarily responsible for maintaining the risk and hazard register for the department or work area.  Detailed training on Vault is provided to DHSOs.  You can request of copy of the Hazard Register for your work area from your DHSO or HOD.
All other workers, students and visitors are able to identify risks and hazards through the health and safety hazard management web page.   An overview of the risk and hazard management process is outlined below.  As a starting point, use the hazard matrix to identify what generic hazards apply to the department or work area.


The risk and hazard register is required to be reviewed at least annually, and after any significant event involving that risk or hazard. The evaluation process is to consider the current state of risk and hazard controls, the industry state of knowledge of risk and hazard controls, including any new research or practices, and analysis of any events and audit results related to the risks and hazards being reviewed. Where the risk and hazard controls require improvement or modification, the register must be updated and all workers and students notified of the required changes.

Legal Compliance

The University Health and Safety Compliance team is responsible for the development of quality management systems for the following legislative requirements:

Click here for further legislative requirements.

In addition to legislation, there are numerous Australian and New Zealand Standards, industry codes of practice and standards, and WorkSafe and industry guidelines that outline method of compliance.  These can be viewed in the OHS Risk Register.  The University controls and compliance are built around these publications.

4.7 Health and Safety Emergency Preparedness and Response

Potential  local emergency situations have been identified in Vault with expected  controls identified for application at local level. Emergency procedure flipcharts have been developed by the Health and Safety Compliance team and are displayed in  departments/at the work sites. Fire warden and first aid training is  available through the central health and safety training programme. Fire drills  are required to be held every semester. University wide emergency  procedures are managed through the Emergency Management Policy and Emergency Management Plan, administered through the Proctor.

Emergency  flipchartsare available at all sites and are campus specific. There  is a training module for DHSOs for the development of local emergency  plans. The central Health and Safety Compliance team have specialist response  groups in case of emergency involving animals, chemicals, biological  agents and GMOs through the Campus Watch 5000 contact.

H&S Emergency Flipchart

The  University of Otago Emergency Management and Business Continuity Plan is available on the website. Health and safety have a role as a part of the  incident management team should an event arise, and drills are held  annually. In addition, an annual HSNO emergency drill is required.
Emergency Safety Equipment e.g. Fire Extinguisher, Safety Showers: Fire  safety is managed through approved evacuation plans and where required  authorised by the Fire Service. Training is provided by an external  consultation for Fire and Building Wardens. Each building is required  to hold 6 monthly (1 per semester) fire drills managed by the Building  Warden. Firefighting equipment is a part of the building consent  process and is maintained by Property Services. Departmental safety  equipment such as emergency showers and eye wash stations are required  to be tested by the department at specified intervals.  
Chemical  spill kits are stipulated in the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Exempt Laboratory Compliance  Manual and are maintained by Departments.  A central response team with  senior advisors exists within the H&S Compliance team for call out  and advise. The detailed requirements forchemical spills are described in the document HSNO Exempt Manual.

Civil Defence and building kits are provided as a part of  the Emergency Management Plan. The detailed requirements for  buildings are described in the document H&S Emergency Flipchart.

Floor and Building Emergency Wardens: The Fire Safety and Evacuation of Buildings Regulations 2006 require an evacuation procedure for the majority of the University buildings on site. For each building, there must be a:

  • Building Warden: co-ordinates the communication with the Fire Service or other emergency services depending on the nature of the emergency.  Organises fire drills and coordinates the floor wardens.
  • Floor Warden (s): checks specific areas during an evacuation to ensure people leave the building and advises the Building Warden of the completion of the evacuation.

First Aiders

Each department should have at least one trained First Aider.  When thinking about how many trained First Aiders you need, take into account things like:

  • the number of workers at work at any given time
  • the sort of work they do, and the sorts of risks and hazards they face
  • the likelihood of people being hurt, and how serious the injuries might be
  • the size of your workplace and whether people are working in scattered locations within the site
  • the location of your workplace, and the distance from medical services
  • whether people other than workers are present

Allow for some of your First Aiders to be absent on planned or unplanned leave, such as sick leave. Suitable First Aid supplies need to be maintained and will be dependent on similar factors to those above.  First Aid qualifications need to be re-validated every two years.

See health and safety training web page

Automated External Defibrillator (AED or Defib)

The University has a number of AEDs onsite. A central register of Defibrillator locations is maintained and the locations of these is recorded on the Emergency Flipcharts.  All workers and students should make themselves familiar with the location of these units. People who complete First Aid qualifications will receive training in the use of these units and other sessions of training are held throughout the year to familiarise people with their operation. See the health and safety training website

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