Following a recent discussion at the HSW Community of Practice, it was identified that there have been instances where the University and another organisation have a collaborative project and arrangement in place, but the responsibilities for HSW have not been clearly defined at the commencement of the project. This becomes problematic during day-to-day operations and especially in the event of a re-portable incident (e.g. a Notifiable Occurrence), as neither party may have clear understanding of whom is responsible for what components of safety.
A recent incident at a government run research centre highlighted this issue and the University received a notice from the regulator as we were unable to demonstrate that we had discussed and agreed the safety responsibilities with our collaborative partner.
It should be noted that both organisations have responsibilities under the WHS Act (Sections 16 and 46) – we can’t assume that because the activity is happening off campus that the other party is responsible if there is an accident.
This new chapter for HSW Collaboration with other organisations (including co-location) aims to provide a process and template for:
- facilitating a discussion between the parties involved at the commencement of a collaborative project;
- identifying the key elements of safety; and
- agreeing on which organisation has the responsibility to ensure the HSW legal requirements are met.
(e.g. is it one organisation or the other or is it a shared responsibility?)
The template includes activities such as:
- hazard management;
- provision of information, instruction, training and supervision;
- workplace monitoring/inspections;
- maintenance and use of plant/equipment;
- management of hazardous chemicals (including radiation);
- personal protective equipment;
- reporting of safety issues and incidents; and
- emergency management.
Should you wish to discuss any of the changes or requirements please do not hesitate to contact a Senior HSW Advisor.