University staff at all levels are responsible for ensuring occupational health, safety and wellness (HSW).

The HSW Division has 10 core functions. Our service description (PDF, 189 KB) lists the services provided by the Division and the distributed health and safety network in support of each function.

Staff responsibilities are based on the Work Health and Safety Act (2011) and the Health, Safety and Wellness Policy [2.10.03].

Your specific health and safety responsibilities depend on your role, and should be incorporated into your position description. Any performance criteria should be addressed during day-to-day work discussions as well as in annual recognition and development appraisals.

Responsibilities and performance criteria for particular roles are summarised here. You should refer to the Staff Responsibilities for Occupational Health and Safety Procedures [2.10.04] for full details on your specific responsibilities. Staff in leadership positions should also read Safety, Health and Wellness Culture: A Guide for UQ Leaders (PDF, 184.6 KB).

Executive Deans, Institute Directors, Central Support Services Directors and Controlled Entity Chief Executive Officers

Executive Deans, Institute Directors, Central Support Services (CSS) Directors and Controlled Entity Chief Executive Officers (CEO), may also be considered ‘officers’ under the Act. An ‘officer’ under the Act is generally someone who makes, or participates in making, significant decisions that affect the whole, or a substantial part, of the business, or has the capacity to significantly affect the business' financial standing. When operating as ‘officers’, senior management also need to comply with due diligence obligations in addition to the following:

  • setting the standard for HSW in their area of responsibility and actively demonstrating commitment to the health and safety of staff, students and others through proactive safety leadership and safety behaviours

  • establishing effective and genuine consultative mechanisms, including a health and safety committee for the faculty, institute, controlled entity or CSS area (refer to the Health and Safety Consultative Mechanisms Procedure)

  • understanding and appreciating the nature of the operations of the organisational unit and the hazards and risks associated with those operations

  • allocating responsibility and authority and integrating health, safety and wellness responsibilities into the role requirements of heads of organisational units, and evaluating their HSW performance

  • ensuring the area of responsibility has the capacity to manage health and safety risks, health and safety roles are appointed and supported, and sufficient resources are allocated in their area of responsibility

  • ensuring the implementation of effective risk management through the risk assessment process (refer to the Health and Safety Risk Management Procedure)

  • maintaining an effective system for the provision of health and safety information, training and supervision, relevant to the nature of the work and the risks involved

  • ensuring that health and safety compliance and performance is monitored

  • proactively supporting return to work processes for injured workers

  • ensuring processes are maintained to provide for the appropriate and timely consideration of, and response to, incidents and hazards (refer to the Incident Reporting Procedure).

See the Staff Responsibilities for Occupational Health and Safety Procedures [2.10.04] for more detail on fulfilling these responsibilities.

Heads of organisational units

Heads of organisational units are responsible for ensuring effective health and safety measures are in place within their organisational unit that comply with legislative requirements and the requirements of the faculty, institute, controlled entity or the CSS. These requirements include, but are not limited to:

  • setting the standard for HSW in their area of responsibility and actively demonstrating proactive safety leadership and culture

  • ensuring that suitable health and safety induction, information, training and supervision is resourced, provided and recorded

  • allocating sufficient resources to ensure the capacity for managing health and safety within the work area, including health and safety roles

  • implementing and reviewing appropriate risk control measures, including assisting and ensuring that risk assessments are completed

  • establishing and maintaining consultative processes regarding HSW issues between management and workers (e.g. considering health and safety matters at health and safety committees).

See the Staff Responsibilities for Occupational Health and Safety Procedures [2.10.04] for more detail on fulfilling these responsibilities.

Supervisors and managers

Supervisors and managers are to undertake and ensure effective health and safety measures are in place within their area of responsibility that comply with legislative requirements and the requirements of the faculty, institute, controlled entity and the CSS. For the purposes of this procedure, a Principal Advisor is considered to be the supervisor of higher degree by research (HDR) students as outlined in the Eligibility and Role of Higher Degree by Research Advisors Procedure.

Provide health and safety induction, information, training and supervision

  • Disseminate HSW information to UQ workers relevant to the specific work hazards of the area.

  • Provide induction and refresher training to ensure UQ workers have the ability to discharge HSW responsibilities including: identifying hazards, abiding by safe operating procedures and emergency response procedures, use and maintenance of personal protective equipment (PPE) and safety equipment.

  • Supervise the health and safety aspects of work undertaken by UQ workers within the work area.

  • Facilitate consultative processes regarding health and safety issues between management and UQ workers.

Undertake risk assessments

  • Participate in, or directly supervise, the undertaking of hazard identification, evaluation of risks, and the design and implementation of hazard control measures that are applicable to work, research projects, teaching, and field work.

  • Ensure risk assessments are recorded in UQSafe.

  • Incorporate HSW considerations into the design specification, purchase, hire, lease and supply of new plant including equipment, materials, products and substances used in the workplace.

  • Monitor the performance and effectiveness of the risk management program within the work area.

Ensure application of appropriate risk control measures 

For the work area:

  • Implement hazard-specific HSW procedures and guidelines, develop and periodically update HSW local procedures for the management of risks specific.

  • Ensuring the provision of plant, safety systems and personal protective equipment (PPE) required to control the risk of hazards.

  • Ensure the maintenance of plant, safety systems and PPE required to control the risk of hazards.

Ensure incidents, hazards and near misses are followed up

  • Undertake investigations of injuries and illnesses arising from workplace activities and recommend corrective actions to prevent or minimise the chance of recurrence (refer to Health and Safety Incident Investigation Procedure).

  • Ensure all workplace hazards are reported in UQSafe in a timely manner. The automatic workflow in UQSafe will notify the people responsible for implementing corrective actions.

  • Oversee the creation of corrective action plans arising from incident and hazard reports within the required timeframe, and the implementation of these plans.

  • Support workers’ return to work plans.

See the Staff Responsibilities for Occupational Health and Safety Procedures [2.10.04] for more detail on fulfilling these responsibilities.

UQ workers

All UQ workers have a responsibility to actively participate in promoting a positive HSW culture in the organisational unit. This can be achieved through consultation, providing feedback that aids in reporting about, and improving, HSW practices, and participating in and contributing to health and safety committees.

All UQ workers have obligations under the legislation to:

  • take reasonable care for their own health and safety, and ensuring that their acts or omissions do not adversely affect the health and safety of others

  • comply with all reasonable safe work procedures and instructions

  • cooperate with any policy or procedure relating to health and safety at UQ

  • assist with the preparation of risk assessments and safe operating procedures

  • report all incident, hazards and near misses in UQSafe and to their supervisor.

See the Staff Responsibilities for Occupational Health and Safety Procedures [2.10.04] for more detail on fulfilling these responsibilities.

'UQ workers' includes,

  • staff – continuing, fixed-term, research (contingent funded) and casual staff

  • contractors, subcontractors and consultants

  • visiting academics and researchers

  • affiliates – academic title holders, visiting academics, emeritus professors, adjunct and honorary title holders, industry fellows and conjoint appointments

  • higher degree by research students.

UQ safety network

You can find safety officers in your organisational unit by checking the UQ safety network contacts.

If you're new to a health and safety role or your contact details have changed, complete the safety roles appointment form (staff login required) (PDF, 170.4 KB) and email it to the HSW Division so we can add you to required systems.

Health, Safety and Wellness (HSW) Manager

In Organisational Units where work activities present the potential for significant risk to the health and safety of UQ workers, the training and appointment of a HSW Manager should be considered.

The appointment of this role does not relinquish the responsibilities of Heads of Organisational Units, managers, supervisors or staff under the Act. These appointments are part of the HSW strategy to assist all parties in meeting their legislative responsibilities and due diligence obligations.

HSW Managers provide additional support and leadership on health and safety matters. They represent the relevant Faculty, Institute, controlled entity or Division when consulting with the HSW Division on UQ policies, procedure and guidelines.

There are ten main responsibilities and functions of HSW positions at UQ. For HSW managers, this includes:

  1. Supporting UQ health, safety and wellness governance and consultative mechanisms.

  2. Developing, managing and maintaining UQ's HSW management system within their area.

  3. Facilitating risk management processes at UQ.

  4. Developing and delivering health, safety and wellness programs relevant to the area.

  5. Providing advice, information and services.

  6. Monitoring health, safety and wellness performance of the area.

  7. Developing health, safety and wellness capability.

  8. Incident investigation (reviewing incident reports, and supporting investigations and implementation of preventative measures).

  9. Engagement with regulators and stakeholders as required.

  10. Workers’ compensation return to work assistance.

See the Staff Responsibilities for Occupational Health and Safety Procedures [2.10.04] for more detail on fulfilling these responsibilities.

Find resources for health and safety coordinators and representatives.

Appointing HSW Managers provides support in maintaining workplace health and safety, but it doesn't relinquish staff of HSW responsibilities.

Work Health and Safety Coordinators (WHSC)

Many Organisational Units are supported locally by Work Health and Safety Coordinators (WHSCs).

Under the guidance and direction of the HSW Managers or the HSW Division, the WHSC advises the Head of the Organisational Unit, managers and/or supervisors and UQ workers about responsibilities and obligations under the Act and the overall state of HSW in the work unit.

The duties they provide include, but are not limited to,

  • workplace inspections
  • training
  • supporting the implementation of HSW management plans
  • assisting in the development of risk assessments
  • reviewing workplace hazards and incidents

See the Staff Responsibilities for Occupational Health and Safety Procedures [2.10.04] for more detail on fulfilling these responsibilities.

Find resources for health and safety coordinators and representatives.

Appointing WHSCs provides support in maintaining workplace health and safety, but it doesn't relinquish staff of HSW responsibilities.

Health and Safety Representatives (HSR)

Health and Safety Representatives must attend training within 6 months of being elected to the role. Refresher training should be taken every 3 years. See the Work Health and Safety Representative Role and Function Procedures [2.10.05] for more information.

Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) are not compulsory in UQ workplaces, but they can be requested by a work group. UQ must establish HSRs where there has been a request for representation or an election.

Local areas may encourage the nomination and election of HSRs, but managers should not nominate or appoint them. Workers are entitled to nominate or elect HSRs.

The HSR role is open to any staff member nominated by their work group. You don't need previous experience or special qualifications.

For more information about the powers and functions of the role and the election process, see the Work Health and Safety Representative Role and Function Procedures [2.10.05].

Find resources for health and safety coordinators and representatives.

First Aid Officers

First Aid Officers are appointed by management, subject to risk assessment. To find out more, see:

Drug and Poisons Officers

Drugs and Poisons Officers are appointed by management. They are responsible for ensuring that scheduled drugs and poisons are obtained, issued, used and stored in accordance with legislative requirements. See the Drugs and Poisons Policy [2.70.13] for more information.

Radiation Safety Officers

Radiation Safety Officers are appointed by management to oversee legislative compliance and worker safety associated with possession and use of radioactive substances. See the Radiation Safety Guidelines [2.80.01] for more information.

HSW Committees

HSW Committees provide a forum to facilitate effective communication and consultation between management and workers on workplace matters that may impact on health and safety. For more information, see: