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Category Health and Safety
Type Policy
Approved byVice-Chancellor
Date Policy Took Effect 15 October 2018
Last approved revision 15 October 2018
Sponsor Chief Operating Officer
Responsible officer Director, Health, Safety and Wellbeing


To minimise the likelihood of risk and injury from higher risk activities (hot work, confined space, height greater than 1.5 m, and isolation of services).

Organisational scope

The Permit to Work system applies to all high-risk work (described in the Permit to Work manual and associated appendices) conducted on University campuses, off-site University activities and all other activities where the University has legal responsibility, as defined by the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.


The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
Cold work
The process of strengthening metals through plastic deformation.
Due diligence
Ensuring the University, as a PCBU , complies with its statutory health and safety duties and obligations, including taking the reasonable steps set out in section 44 (4) of the HSWA 2015.
External contractors
Is a natural person, business, or corporation that provides goods or services to another entity under terms specified in a contract or within a verbal agreement.
Includes physical and mental health.
Hot work
Work that could cause, either directly or indirectly, fire or explosion.
Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
Includes any person occupying a position in relation to the University that allows the person to exercise significant influence over the management of the University but does not include a person who advises or makes recommendations to an officer.
Person conducting a business or undertaking, as set out in section 17 of the HSWA 2015.
Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking.
Permit issuer
A person with the authority to issue a work permit in the task that they are trained in.
Permit receiver
A person whom receives a permit to undertake a high-risk task.
Property Services Division.
Any reference to a section refers to a section of the HSWA Act. University University of Otago.
In this document, “will” means “will, as far as is reasonably practicably possible”.
Has the same meaning as in the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015: “an individual who carries out work in any capacity for a PCBU ” and includes employees, contractors and sub-contractors.
Working at height
Working at a place, above or below ground level, where a person could be injured if they fell from the place – that is, falling from one level to another. Access and egress, except by a staircase in a permanent workplace, or within a place of work can also be work at height. Work where height does not include a fall at the same level (for example, falling or slipping at ground or floor level.


1. General

  1. The University, as a PCBU , is committed to doing all it reasonably can to mitigate high-risk activities. This will be achieved in part through a Permit to Work system.
  2. The University requires that the high-risk work, as defined in the University Permit to Work manual, has the appropriate risk management plans and permit to work documentation.
  3. All external contractors/ PCBU s whose Permit to Work manual differs to that of the University's Permit to Work manual, must have their permit system reviewed by the University's Health, Safety and Wellbeing office to determine if it is to a level equal to, or greater than that of the University.
  4. Where construction projects are managed by external Project Managers (rather than Property Services), the Project Managers will be responsible for ensuring compliance with this Policy notwithstanding that the University may have legal duties as a PCBU and as Principal. The University's legal health and safety duties will be defined by the extent to which it has the ability to influence and control any matter to which risks relate.
  5. The Permit to Work System must:
    1. incorporate a risk assessment plan in proportion to the risks and complexity of the project.
    2. ensure that the planning of a Permit to Work task does not proceed until the risk assessment and permits have been approved and authorised by a competent person as defined by the Permit to Work manual.
    3. ensure that all practicable steps are taken to identify the controls to allow the task to be completed as safe as practicable.
    4. take into account the experience and training of the permit receiver and issuer.
    5. be thoroughly, clearly and demonstrably communicated to those involved in the permitted work, in a manner appropriate to each person's role in the project.
    6. discourage unnecessary bureaucracy.
    7. be continuously reviewed, assessed and, where possible, enhanced with any changes communicated to all relevant stakeholders and,
    8. allow unimpeded access to a nominated representative of the University, Health, Safety and Wellbeing office, to any documents, forms, and any other information relevant to the permit and permitting process.
  6. The University will work constructively and collaboratively with all stakeholders to support compliance with this Policy. This may include:
    1. undertaking site audits
    2. undertaking “desk-top” audits and,
    3. requesting of reports, including of hazards, risk assessments, and incidents.
  7. The University specifically reserves the right to stop work on all or part of any permitted work if it reasonably believes that to not do so would endanger the health and safety of one or more people.
  8. The University undertakes to, and requires all contractors to, consult, coordinate and cooperate with each other as set out in Section 34, of the HSWA 2015.
  9. Permitted work that has dedicated approved safe operating procedures will be exempt from the requirements of the permit to work system, as long as the workers demonstrate competency and that they have been fully trained according to the safe operating procedure requirements. All safe operating procedures must be prepared on the University Safe Operating Procedure Template and be authorised by Health, Safety and Wellbeing. Health, Safety and Wellbeing will complete the document control and assign revision dates.

2. Responsibilities

  1. The Vice Chancellor and University Officers are responsible for
    1. Exercising due diligence to ensure the University as a PCBU is complying with the HSWA 2015.
  2. The University, as a PCBU , is responsible for:
    1. Ensuring, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of its workers (which includes employees and contractors) whilst they are carrying out work; and
    2. That work carried out as part of the University's function does not put anyone at risk.
  3. The Permit Manager will be responsible for:
    1. Ensuring the Permit to Work system is adhered to by all PSD workers.
    2. Ensuring all PSD workers have training in the system, and that such training is regularly refreshed (at least two-yearly).
  4. The Director, Health, Safety and Wellbeing is responsible for ensuring, as far as is reasonably practicable that:
    1. The University Permits to Work are legally compliant.
    2. Robust procedures to support the Permit to Work system are maintained.
    3. Permit to Work training is available.
  5. Senior Managers are responsible for ensuring, within their departments, as far as is reasonably practicable that:
    1. The University Permits to Work procedures are adhered to.
    2. Their Department's workers complete Permit to Work training.
  6. The Director, Health, Safety and Wellbeing, and the Permit Manager are jointly responsible for:
    1. Ensuring this Policy is regularly reviewed to ensure it is relevant and effective.
    2. Assessing conformance to this Policy.

Related policies, procedures and forms

University of Otago documentation

  • Health and Safety Permit to Work Manual
  • Health and Safety Permit to Work Manual Appendices
  • University of Otago Risk Management Framework
  • Confined Space Entry Procedures
  • Permitted Work Emergency Response Procedures

Legislation - Acts

Legislation – Regulations

Australian and New Zealand Standards

For the below list, please contact Health, Safety and Wellbeing.

  • 31000:2009 Risk Management- Principles and guidelines
  • 2865:2009 Confined Space
  • 1418.2:1997 Cranes Hoists and Winches – Safe use – Mobile Elevating Work Platforms
  • 1337:1992 Eye protection
  • 1891.1:2007 Industrial Fall Arrest systems and devices. Part 1: Harnesses and Ancillary Equipment
  • 1891.1-3:2007 Industrial Fall Arrest systems and devices
  • 1657:2013 Fixed Platforms, walkways, stairways and ladders – Design, Construction and installation
  • 1892.1:1996 Portable Ladders, metal
  • 1892.2:1996 Portable Ladders, wood
  • 1576.1:2010 Scaffolding: General Requirements
  • 4781:1973 Code of Practice for Safety in Welding and Cutting.

European Standards

  • ISO16368:2010 Mobile elevating work platforms – resign, calculations, safety requirements and test methods

Codes of Practice

Best Practice Guidelines (WorkSafe)

Contact for further information

If you have any queries regarding the content of this policy or need further clarification, contact:

Director, Health, Safety and Wellbeing

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