Head of School of Chemistry

The Head of School is responsible for the overall management of the School and under the national WHS Regulation is known as an Officer. An Officer may delegate duties to other employees but cannot transfer responsibility for safety, health and wellbeing within their department.

Chair, School Safety Committee

The Chair of the Safety Committee coordinates and convenes the School’s monthly meetings. The Chair works with the Safety Committee to ensure the School has an Action Plan aligned with University WHS Strategy. They also ensure actions are prioritised, recorded and seen through to completion. The Chair may also participate in School safety inspections, announces changes to safety policy and/or procedure and is a member of the Faculty of Science Safety Committee.

School Safety Officer (also known as Departmental Safety Officer)

School Safety Officer responsibilities encompass part of the duties of the Technical Operations Manager in the School. The School Safety Officer identifies training needs and, where applicable, delivers training. This position is also responsible for the investigation of significant incidents, assists in resolving issues in accordance with University WHS policy and can direct unsafe work to cease. The School Safety Officer also ensures risk management procedures are in place and being followed and is a member of both the School and Faculty Safety Committees.

Floor Safety Officers

The Head of School appoints a Floor Safety Officer to each floor of the School of Chemistry with six officers in total (one for each floor in the Chemistry Building (F11) and one for School of Chemistry laboratories in the Madsen Building (F09)). These officers are familiar with the chemistry being conducted on each floor, are familiar with hazards and risks, and are go-to people if there is uncertainty around the safety of a procedure or the work environment. Floor Safety Officers conduct regular inspections of their local area and participate in other safety inspections as required. They are able to issue safety infringement notices at any time. Issues unable to be resolved locally are reported to the School Safety Committee. Floor Safety Officers have responsibility for approving Safety Assessments for new personnel to ensure there is a thorough understanding of basic safety requirements prior to commencing work. Safety Officers also approve Delegation of Authority to Approve HIRAC forms and may be involved in the preparation of Risk Assessments and associated Safe Work Procedures. The Level 5 Safety Officer is to be consulted for risk assessments employing Scheduled Carcinogens, as well as those procedures involving high hazards that require notification to contractors to abstain from roof work for the duration of that procedure.

Health and Safety Representative (HSR)

The Health and Safety Representative is elected by their peers as an independent person with whom safety concerns can be raised, should other avenues fail. The HSR attends School Safety Committee, School Management Committee and School Board meetings as an observer to facilitate discussion around safety.

Building First Aid Officers

There are five (5) Building First Aid Officers and five (5) other First Aid Officers in the School of Chemistry, with at least one available during business hours (Monday to Friday, 08:00 to 17:00). This role can provide assistance with injuries or chemical spills affecting people in the building, including visitors and contractors. Occupants, especially those working in laboratory environments, must be aware of these hours and plan work accordingly. In addition to these first aid officers, there are a number of other first-aid trained workers throughout the building, and the local induction process should identify if these people are working in the immediate vicinity.

Chief Warden and Wardens

All buildings at the University operate an Emergency Control Organisation (ECO) to assist in the management of a range of emergencies, including evacuations, medical emergencies and security alerts. Building F11 has four trained Chief Wardens who work in rotation to manage emergencies in the building as they arise. Around 30 wardens assist in this process. Each warden is assigned a local area of the building in general proximity to their regular work area. The ECO convenes twice annually and maintains a manual outlining emergency operations for Building F11. A similar structure is in place for building F09.

Academic Staff

Academic staff in the School of Chemistry have a duty of care to those under their supervision. This includes undergraduate students in lectures and in laboratory classes, as well as honours students, postgraduate students, postdoctoral research staff, research affiliates and research assistants working in their research laboratory. Academic staff are required to ensure everyone in their team has a thorough understanding of the nature of experiments they perform and are aware of potential hazards. Academic staff must enforce all regulations and procedures pertaining to laboratories under their control and ensure all staff and students working under their supervision comply with risk assessment and labelling procedures for laboratory processes.

Technical Staff

Technical Staff in the School of Chemistry are responsible for the day-to-day management of the service rooms and associated undergraduate laboratories, analytical facilities, workshops and the chemistry store. Many members of this team also have specific safety roles. All Technical Staff are members of the ECO. Staff and students working within any of these areas must comply with the local and specific requirements of those work spaces. Analytical facility users are obliged to complete training prior to being permitted access to the facility.

Professional staff (administrative)

Members of the School of Chemistry who are not working in laboratory environments include administrators and the finance team. These people also must comply with School safety regulations and be aware of the environment in which they are working. All safety concerns must be reported to a floor safety officer or Technical Operations Manager.

Staff and students in research laboratories

While it is the responsibility of the academic supervisor to ensure adherence to safety requirements, senior members of a research group may be delegated with higher responsibilities as they are regularly in the laboratories and are familiar with the specific hazards of their research environment. Risk Assessments must be documented for all procedures being conducted in research laboratories and these are often approved by a delegated authority such as a postdoctoral research staff member. All staff and students are responsible for local safety and must report concerns to their academic supervisor or floor safety officer.


Visitors to the School include affiliates, high school students, volunteers, technical service providers and contractors providing maintenance or building repairs/refurbishments. Maintenance contractors are allocated by Campus Infrastructure Services (CIS) and must attend a local Chemistry Safety Induction prior to working unaccompanied in the School. Technicians providing specific laboratory service are to be supervised at all times by their host. Basic emergency procedures must be outlined to these visitors prior to commencing work. Affiliates and volunteers must be under the supervision of their academic supervisor. High school students are the responsibility of the Science Communicator when visiting the School.

Summer Scholars, Volunteers, TSP Students

This category includes undergraduate students working in research laboratories. A suitably qualified supervisor must be appointed by prior arrangement and directly supervise the student by being present in the laboratory with the student at all times when working in research laboratories. Senior postgraduate students (into or past their third semester) familiar with the experimental work and associated hazards may be appointed as laboratory supervisor. HIRAC (the method of risk assessments in the School) forms must be completed before any laboratory work commences and a member of academic staff must be in frequent contact with the undergraduate student