Safety, Health and Wellbeing

Work environment, plant and equipment - inspection, testing and monitoring

Our role is to develop and assist in the implementation of the UWA safety, health and wellbeing programs in order to minimise the risk of injury, illness and property damage.

We provide consultancy and other services to promote best practice and legislative compliance in all University and related activities.

Further information

Relevant legislation

Relevant legislation regarding requirements includes the following:

Relevant Standards to consult on requirements – see Australian Standards online.

Legislative requirements for inspection, testing and monitoring are detailed in the WA OSH Regulations 1996, which also reference relevant standards and guidelines.

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Guidelines to safety in the workplace and conformance to relevant local, state and national legislative requirements including testing, inspection and monitoring.

  1. Purpose and scope
  2. Definitions
  3. Legislation, WorkSafe and Australian Standards requirements
  4. Responsibilities and accountabilities
  5. Inspection and testing plan and implementation program
  6. Competency and certification for specific testing and inspection
  7. Types of inspections, testing and monitoring
  8. Items for periodic inspection
  9. Inspection and testing records
  10. Review of inspection and test procedures and communication to stakeholders

Purpose and scope

The purpose of these guidelines is to:

  • ensure the work environment, plant and equipment, and processes in the workplace conform to UWA, national standards and legislative requirements
  • establish and maintain a procedure for the planning and conduct of occupational safety and health (OSH) inspections, testing and monitoring to meet the OHS needs of UWA in implementing its OHS management system and its statutory requirements.

The scope of these guidelines covers inspections, testing and monitoring requirements covered under OHS and other relevant legislation and standards for all UWA facilities. It provides a guide for the majority of requirements for inspection, testing and monitoring that need to be conducted for UWA operations and facilities.

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Definitions

For the purpose of these guidelines:

  • Inspection is taken to mean: "observations of work environment, work practices, equipment used, work posture or reported hazard and may be done with or without an inspection checklist". The inspection may be generic or it may be specific to assess a particular risk, task or part of the Occupational Health and Safety management system (OHSMS).

Examples of independent inspection processes include:

  1. inspection of a potentially hazardous process to ensure that controls have been effective
  2. inspection of plant such as pressure vessels to check they conform with specified standards and regulatory requirements
  3. inspection of a work area to ensure that specific site safety rules have been followed or to identify hazards
  4. inspection of a work site to ensure that controls are effective and to reinforce management commitment to the corporate and local OHSMS.
  • Testing is taken to mean: "use of standardised tests to check equipment, plant operation, process control, performance and effectiveness". For example fume cupboard face velocity test.
  • Monitoring refers to work environment monitoring or biological monitoring of individual employee’s occupational health/exposure.

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Legislation, WorkSafe and Australian Standards requirements

UWA Safety and Health will provide general guidelines on relevant legislation and standards through this procedure and through its website. However, each school/section/unit needs to identify and document the relevant legislation and Standards for inspection, testing and monitoring of plant and equipment and the work environment that is applicable to their workplace.

This documentation should also specify the training and competency required to do the various testing and inspection activities that have been identified.

For a guide for inspection and testing refer to the index of the WA OHS Regulation 1996.

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Responsibilities and accountabilities

The overall responsibility and accountability resides with the University of Western Australia Senate. The Senate delegates its responsibility to the Vice-Chancellor and the Senior Management Group to ensure that appropriate procedures for inspection and testing are developed, maintained and reviewed to check their effectiveness.

Responsibility for developing a faculty and school/section/unit inspection and testing plan and program rests with the deans and heads of schools/sections/units. They may delegate this to school and unit managers. Facilities Management has specific responsibilities for inspecting building infrastructure, essential services, grounds and walkways, plant and equipment and security.

UWA Safety and Health may conduct scheduled and ad hoc inspections to identify foreseeable hazards, to assist Schools/Sections/Units with assessing and prioritising safety and health risks and to monitor the effectiveness of local risk control implemented. Work areas that conduct testing have a responsibility to verify that the tests' results conform to specified standards, to take corrective action if they don’t conform, and to inform any areas that may be affected by the test results.

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Inspection and testing plan and implementation program

Deans and Heads of Schools/Sections/Units are responsible for developing an inspection and testing plan for their area of responsibility in consultation with senior managers and workplace safety and health committees. The plan should be developed by:

  • identifying the range of operational activities undertaken
  • ascertaining what testing, inspection and monitoring requirements are specified by legislation and standards for these activities by checking UWA safety and health policies, legislation and standards
  • developing a schedule for inspection and testing activities
  • having process system checks to ensure that corrective action occurs after testing and related activities.

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Competency and certification for specific testing and inspection

The OSH Regulations 1996 specify that certificates of competency are required for:

  • scaffolding and rigging
  • crane and hoist operation
  • pressure equipment operation.

Contractors who conduct tests of equipment and services must be able to demonstrate that they have the required certification and competency for the testing they perform. Personnel who engage contractors need to obtain relevant records confirming the contractors' competency, licensing and other bona fides.

People doing workplace inspections should have completed training relevant to the nature of the inspection to be undertaken – for example, safety and health consultation, biosafety and radiation safety training.

Licences are required for asbestos removal work and radiation work. Occupational hygiene qualifications or equivalent are required for occupational hygiene monitoring activities including sampling and analysis of test results.

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Types of inspections, testing and monitoring

Inspections could include: scheduled or ad hoc workplace inspections by supervisors, workplace safety and health committees, research safety committees, safety and health representatives, safety officers, Safety and Health, Facilities Management, Security personnel or by Heads of Schools, research centres and units.

Inspections can be undertaken for specific purposes to:

  • determine the significance of a reported hazard
  • assist with risk assessment
  • gather data for accident investigation purposes
  • quantify the extent of a safety and health issue/problem
  • generate solutions to safety and health problems/needs
  • assess the level of performance of the OHSMS
  • evaluate the effectiveness of OSH training
  • building compliance with relevant codes and standards.

In addition, WorkSafe may inspect a workplace following a verbal or written report of an incident to inspect the scene, interview witnesses, take photos and other evidence, assess if corrective action has been taken on the factors contributing to the incident, check if risk assessments and safe work method statements are being followed, and check if a system-wide inspection has occurred in response to a significant occurrence.

Testing and inspections can consist of either a scheduled program to meet requirements of legislation and standards or an ad hoc inspection initiated because an issue arises that requires testing to diagnose the cause or source and resolve the safety and health problem.

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Items for periodic inspection

Test Type Responsibility for Testing Frequency
Cooling towers Facilities Management – and maintenance contractors Monthly
Air conditioning plant Facilities Management – and maintenance contractor Annual full check
Fire extinguishers and fire hoses Facilities Management and fire handling equipment contractors six-monthly
Fume cupboard Facilities Management – maintenance contractor Annually
Pressure vessels and boilers Facilities Management – and maintenance contractor Annually
Essential services – gas, water and electricity Facilities Management TBA
Building emergency evacuation alarms Facilities Management and Fire handling equipment contractors TBA Check Security
Building evacuation test drills Unit Management – S&H Annually
Lighting on campus Facilities Management – Security Weekly
Exit lights in buildings Facilities Management Regularly
Bio-safety cabinets Laboratory Managers Annually
Building compliance Facilities Building Compliance Manager Annually
Centrifuges Laboratory Managers Annually
Occupational hygiene monitoring Facilities Management or external consultants Following request to S&H
Radioactive waste Persons using radioisotopes in laboratory Weekly
Biological waste Persons generating biological and clinical waste Weekly
Hazardous waste Persons working with hazardous substances Weekly
Confined spaces entry Persons entering potential or actual confined spaces Prior to entry
Plant and equipment Owners of plant and equipment See OHS Regulations
Scaffolding Operators of scaffolding- Facilities or contractors Prior to start of work
Lifts Facilities Management – and Lifts maintenance contractor Regularly and when problem reported
Workplace inspection Workplace Safety committees Quarterly
Physical containment level 2 inspections UWA Biosafety Committee Annually
Radiation laboratories Local School Radiation Safety Officer/S&H Annual schedule
Dangerous goods storage Laboratory manager for local School/ Research Centre Weekly
First aid kits School Manager / First Aid Officer Regularly
Emergency eyewash and shower equipment Laboratory Managers In accordance with ANSI Z358.1

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Inspection and testing records

Persons who are responsible for coordinating inspections and testing of items are also responsible for the maintenance and security of related records. Inspection and test results should be made available to the manager of the area concerned and those who were present during inspection or requested testing.

Confidentiality and privacy of records need to be in place with regard to biological monitoring test results. Other results of workplace inspections and test results should be made available to the manager of the area and the relevant safety and health committee.

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Review of inspection and test procedures and communication to stakeholders

It is important that inspection and testing results are discussed with local safety and health committees to ensure that all possible solutions are found to the issues raised by staff.

Procedures must be reviewed to ensure relevance, currency and corrective action on non-conformances found during inspection or testing procedures. There needs to be a clear documented avenue of appeal if building occupants do not think sufficient action has been taken since safety and health issues were raised as a result of inspection or testing work.

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