Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

Implementing the OHSMS: Responsibility, Training, Communication

The Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHSMS) procedures need to be implemented by people who have the appropriate skills, knowledge and accountability. For effective implementation the University of Otago has developed capabilities and support mechanisms necessary to achieve its Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) policy, objectives and targets. Our aim is to establish a supportive workplace culture as the foundation for implementing our OHS strategies effectively.

4.1 Health and Safety: Structure and Responsibility

Resources – Human, Physical and Financial

(i) The appropriate resources essential to the implementation of the University of Otago’s OHS policies and the achievement of its objectives are defined and made available. The Officers of the University of Otago are required to provide sufficient resources for the implementation of the Health and Safety plan and requirements. This is achieved through the budgeting procedures to track the benefits as well as the costs of the activities, products or services, incidents, rehabilitation and review.  

(ii) Resources are identified and allocated financial and physical resources to enable the effective implementation of the OHSMS. These resources are provided for in the provision of budget allocation to the Health and  Safety Compliance team and the health and safety budget at each academic/support services unit.

(iii) Departments are required to appoint Departmental Health and Safety Officers (DHSOs) as per the Employee Participation Agreement.

(iv) OHS roles and responsibilities procedure: The primary function of the University Health and Safety Compliance team is to support and enable compliance with the various health and safety legislative requirements. The team consists of specialist roles for high risk activities as well as providing general health and safety support. The team maintains the web page and is responsible for the continuous review of information and compliance requirements. The Head of Health and Safety Compliance reports to Senior Management and via the Safety and Compliance committee to Council on health and safety performance and escalates any issues.

Health and Safety Team Expertise

Roles & Responsibility

(i) Roles and responsibilities are clearly defined for all levels of management and supervision, and are implemented and monitored through the performance development review process and academic promotion process. The detailed requirements of the University of Otago health and safety management structure and responsibilities for workers and students are described in the documents OHS roles and responsibilities Procedure and Health and Safety Committee structure

(ii) Reporting to Senior Management: The Head of  Health and Safety Compliance completes a high level monthly report to the Ethics and Safety Committee and the Risk Committee.

Consultation, communication and reporting.

4.2 Health and Safety: Training and Competency

The effective implementation and maintenance of an OHS management system is dependent of the competency of an organisation’s people. Training is one important means of ensuring that the appropriate competencies to achieve OHS objectives are met. Management training is an important component in ensuring that senior managers and operational managers are knowledgeable about their legislative obligations, risk management processes and collective responsibilities.  

(i) The Health and Safety Training and Induction Guide outlines the requirements for the provision of training in relation to health and safety and ensures competency of workers, students and contractors. A training needs analysis is required to be completed in conjunction with the risk and hazard register to identify the required training for specific positions, activities and tasks.

(ii) The University of Otago induction programme is via RedCarpet, an online recruitment tool that records the induction process. The induction minimum requirements include core health and safety information (policy and responsibilities) and specific requirements based on the position. The Departmental Health & Safety Officer (DHSO) and Departmental Induction Facilitator (DIF) work together to identify health and safety training needs and these are built into the individual’s induction programme. Health and safety governance documents and health and safety information is also communicated to workers, students, visitors and contractors through the health and safety webpages, targeted and global correspondence and emails. There is a University orientation which includes a health and safety section provided by the Central Health and Safety Compliance team. Worker safety induction.

(iii) The health and safety training webpage includes information on how to make bookings. If additional training is required, health and safety will facilitate and support course development for bespoke training. The HR Professional Development Programme also includes health and safety components. Departments also provide additional health and safety training based on the requirements, risks and hazards of the department (e.g. Dept. Lab Managers will provide laboratory training). The detailed requirements are described in the document Training Programme

(iv) Vault, online health and safety management system holds the training records for the health and safety central training programme. Vault should also be used by departments for any specific health and safety training that is provided. Vault will automatically generate reminders when training is due to expire. 

4.3 Health and Safety: Consultation, Communication and Reporting

Consultation and participation is defined in the Employee Participation Agreement. The key positions are the DHSO and elected health and safety representatives. Health and Safety Committees are another form of communication and consultation with specialist committees (Hazardous Substances and Radiation Committee, Operational Health and Safety Committee, Institutional Biological Safety Committee) that report to the Ethics and Safety Committee as a subcommittee of Council. Divisions, departments and campuses may run health and safety committees.
The detailed requirements are described on the Committees webpage.


Health and Safety Committees at Campus, Divisional or Departmental level should follow the Committee guidelines. This is a valuable mechanism for furthering worker participation


  • Elected health and safety representatives are onsite as required by the Employee Participation Agreement.  Health and safety representatives document.
  • The Employee Participation Agreement includes the process for escalating health and safety issues for resolution of issues, including the requirement to refuse unsafe work. Procedures for OHS issue resolution document
  • The Employee Participation Agreement outlines the worker consultation process through representation on the Operational Health and Safety Committee. Health and safety representatives document.
  • The health and safety policy development procedure also ensures consultation on health and safety matters.
  • OHS Consultants are engaged through the Central health and Safety Compliance team for various tasks and specialist expertise. 


Internal: University of Otago Health and Safety Policy, health and safety documentation and all other relevant health and safety information must be communicated to workers, students, contractors and visitors through the following media as appropriate:

  • OHS website
  • Targeted or global emails to staff and students and DHSO Network
  • University of Otago OHS induction
  • Contractor safety induction
  • Contacting OHS by phone, email
  • Academic/administrative unit handbooks and publications
  • Student information handbooks and publications
  • Safety manuals/safe operating procedures/safe work instructions
  • Safety signage.

External: University of Otago must establish, implement and maintain a procedure for:

  • Communication with contractors and other visitors to the workplace; see Contractors webpage.
  • Receiving, documenting and producing reports.

Health and Safety Communication with Committees, Senior Management and Vice Chancellor

The Head of Health & Safety Compliance:

  • Reports to the Director of HR as a senior manager of the University.  
  • Meets regularly with the DVC Research and Enterprise and may be called upon to report directly to the Vice Chancellors Advisory Group or Council. 
  • Is a committee member of the Ethics & Safety Compliance Committee, a sub-committee to the Audit and Risk Committee. Performance indicators are recommended to the Ethics & Safety Compliance Committee on an annual basis. Reporting on performance indicators forms a part of the 3 monthly reporting cycles.
  • Is required to provide monthly written reports that are submitted to the Risk and Audit Committee.  The HSRC, IBSC and Operational Health and Safety Committee report directly to the Safety Compliance Committee. 
  • Requests annual meetings with all Senior Managers to review health and safety following the annual health and safety review.
  • Is required to report to external enforcement agencies on notifiable events and incidences including statutory requirements to the following: Worksafe NZ, Maritime NZ, Office of Radiation Safety, Energy Safety. Such reports are included in the reporting cycle to Ethics & Safety Compliance Committee.

Health and Safety Committee structure