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All workers of the University have health and safety responsibilities, however there is a hierarchy of responsibilities as defined by the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. The following make up the University's health and safety management structure:

Vice Chancellor

  • Ensure compliance with the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 and associated statutes
  • Ensure health and safety issues at the University are effectively addressed
  • Encourage a corporate culture in which health and safety is given a high profile
  • Promote excellence in health and safety management

DVCs/AVCs/Directors of Services

  • Ensure Heads of Department/managers have sufficient resources to achieve their health and safety duties
  • Ensure Departments meet their required health and safety objectives
  • To review Department reports on health and safety progress and compliance
  • Active member of the University Health and Safety Committee, including the review and development of University health and safety policies
  • To ensure that University health and safety policies are implemented within their division
  • To resolve issues of non-compliance where necessary within their division.

Heads of Department/Managers of Services

  • Support Departmental Health and Safety Officers (DHSO) by making available time or resources as necessary
  • To implement the University health and safety policies that are relevant to the activities within their department, in conjunction with the DHSO
  • Develop Departmental health and safety objectives with the DHSO
  • To provide relevant information and training to workers, ensuring attendance as required
  • To ensure appropriate emergency procedures are in place for departmental activities, facilities and are practised as necessary
  • To ensure that risk and hazard identification and management is effective and documentation is maintained
  • To raise risk and hazard management issues with the DVC/AVC/Director where the issue cannot be managed at the departmental level or is likely to have implications for the wider University
  • To provide reports to the DVC/AVC/Director on health and safety progress and meeting of objectives
  • To participate in health and safety audits
  • Ensure accident/incident reporting and investigation is thorough
  • Meet regularly (at least quarterly) with the DHSO

View the HOD/Managers Health & Safety Toolkit (PDF format, 309KB)


  • While supervising workers or students in a University of Otago workplace, supervisors are representing the University as a PCBU (Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking)
  • Duties include providing a safe workplace or others authorised to be in that workplace
  • To be aware of the risks, hazards and controls involved in the area of work
  • To ensure controls are adhered to
  • To report any hear hits, incidents or injuries to any person authorised to be in the workplace through the University reporting system
  • To follow University health and safety policies and procedures

Download the Supervisor's Health & Safety Checklist (PDF format, 73KB)

Departmental Health & Safety Officers (DHSO)

  • To complete risk and hazard identification and maintain risk/hazard register including reviews of the register and risk and hazard auditing
  • To maintain the accident register for the department and provide copies of accident forms to the UHSM
  • To report on risk and hazard management issues that require further controls to the HOD/Manager
  • To complete accident investigations and associated documentation
  • Co-operate with initiatives from the University Health and Safety Team
  • Liase with Departmental Emergency Wardens to ensure emergency procedures are in place and practised as necessary
  • Act as a resource for information on health and safety matters
  • Ensure that effective health and safety training, information and supervision is available to those who require it
  • To complete the inductions for new workers with respect to the health and safety requirements
  • Liase with other departments and organisations as necessary

Health & Safety Representatives

  • Health and Safety Representatives are nominated or elected by workers
  • H&S Reps are an additional contact point for workers and students to raise health and safety issues
  • H&S Reps provide support to DHSOs in the provision of health and safety information
  • Facilitate increased involvement by workers and their representatives on health and safety matters

Download the Employee Participation Agreement (2008) (PDF format, 162KB)

University Workers

  • Report any identified risks and hazards to the DHSO
  • Report all accidents to the DHOS/HOD/Manager as soon as possible
  • Attend health and safety training provided
  • Co-operate with the University health and safety programme
  • Ensure students and workers under their supervision are informed, trained and suitably equipped to deal with the health and safety risks and hazards they may encounter
  • Know the relevant health and safety policies and comply with the requirements


Find out more about the University of Otago committee structure

Andrea McMillan
Head, Health and Safety Compliance

64 3 479 7380

Nevan Trotter
Health and Safety Advisor

64 3 479 5389

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