Introduction to WHS at the School of Physics

In January 2012 the Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) Act was introduced, replacing the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act (2000). The School's WHS procedures, which are developed and reviewed by the School Safety Committee and approved by the Head of School, are based on both the new WHS legislation and the University's WHS policies. Our procedures consist of two key elements:

1) Environmental guidelines
2) Hazard guidelines

Together, these guidelines define the roles and responsibilities for all staff, students and affiliates that conduct business on behalf of the School as well as provide advice and guidance for common hazards.

Under the School's environmental guidelines, there must be a staff member who has overall management and therefore WHS responsibility for each "environment" (an office, laboratory, extramural site or workshop etc). People with management authority may appoint WHS delegates to undertake WHS activities on their behalf but they (managers) still retain overall WHS responsibility. A list of School environments and staff who have WHS responsibilities can be found here.

Managers and WHS delegates are ultimately responsible for conducting risk management activities. In addition, they are responsible for creating and reviewing induction and training documentation and for ensuring the relevant inductions and training activities are undertaken. The School's hazard guidelines describe and suggest ways to mitigate common hazards and specify minimum requirements for working with these hazards. These guidelines should be referred to when conducting risk management activities.