Safety, Health and Injury Management and Wellbeing

Safety awards 2018

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.

The University Safety Awards acknowledged the contributions made to work health and safety at the University and its affiliates by both groups and individuals.

The awards seek to recognise initiatives, successful implementation of processes and outstanding service for work health and safety.

For 2018 the following were made
Individual Safety Award to Richard Brennand, Campus Management
Safety Recognition Award to the HMS Legacy Chemical Disposal Team..

  1. Individual Safety Award
  2. Nominations received for the Individual Safety Award
  3. Safety Recognition Award
  4. Nominations received for the Safety Recognition Award

Individual Safety Award


The Individual Safety Award is to acknowledge outstanding contributions by individual University employees in establishing and maintaining high standards of work health and safety activities and achievements within the University.

The 2018 Individual Safety Award was awarded to Richard Brennand, Campus Management.

Although Richard is a new staff member to UWA, in his short time at the University he has made a significant impact on the safety agenda. His direct, yet considerate approach has resulted in significant risk reduction in a number of high-risk areas.

Some of Richard’s achievements include:

  • Improving the overall safety of electrical services infrastructure across the University. For example; the Waterman Bay Research Facility; the O-tube facility; and the program for replacement of Distribution Boards and RCDs across the University
  • Investment in Health & Medical Sciences chemical disposal infrastructure
  • Investment in reducing vehicular risks on the Inner Campus Access to pedestrians
  • Investment in improving safety management for maintenance activities in the UWA Crawley Village residential properties
  • Providing advice to faculty representatives on operational safety management of plant and equipment
  • Endorsement of the upgrade to the contractor safety management system

Richard’s passionate pursuit of safety has seen him confront he difficult underlying issues that have contributed to unsafe practices occurring at the University and his actions have involved a radical rethink of the way health and safety assurance is integrated into many areas of the University and the removal of some of the barriers that have developed.

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Nominations received for the Individual Safety Award

Laurton McGurk
WHS Specialist (Chemical), Safety, Health and Wellbeing

Dr McGurk has made an outstanding contribution in establishing and maintaining high standards of occupational safety and health in the area of chemical safety leadership:

  • Improved the understanding of compliant chemical storage and disposal across the university
  • Initiated biosafety inspections alongside chemical inspections ensuring minimal disruption to researcher
  • Incredibly helpful, knowledgeable, approachable and accessible, practicing a very hands-on approach
  • Campus wide administration of Chemalert has increased user involvement and provided a more comprehensive data point for tracking stored chemicals and ensuring that safety procedures are adhered to
  • Initiated the introduction of a new laboratory auditing tool which has allowed for identification of hazards, improved signage and a standardized report to be issued to laboratory managers identifying areas for improvement
  • Consistently proven to have a very strong safety culture and continuously strives to improve and integrate best practice safety solutions into all associated project work
  • Dr McGurk’s external collaborations and expert advice is a real asset to the university

Professor Jeff Keelan
Head of School, School of Biomedical Sciences

Professor Keelan has made safety a priority within his School and has consistently provided resourcing to resolve safety issues both large and small. He has taken an active role in creating a dialogue between the School Executive and the School Safety Committee.

Professor Colleen Fisher
Head of School, School of Population and Global Health

Professor Fisher established her School’s Safety Committee and has taken an active leadership role on the Committee since its inception. She has supported wellness initiatives within her School and played a key role in completing the School’s Risk Register.

Dr Kate Shearston
Senior Scientific Officer (Dentistry), Academic and Technical Services (Dental School)

Dr Shearston reviewed the laboratories within the School of Dentistry and formulated a plan to make improvements to the running of the laboratory and to improve safety. Dr Shearston has regularly created new SOPs for equipment and processes within the laboratory.

Judy Smith
Senior Laboratory Technician, School of Medicine / School of Biomedical Sciences

During her time in the Schools of Dentistry, Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Ms Smith has taken an active role in supporting and improving the safety environment within her workplace. She has helped develop Safety Manuals and other safety documents and helped to implement laboratory improvements to increase safety in these workplaces.

Toni Hawkins
Academic Services Officer, Rural Clinical School of Western Australia (Esperance)

Ms Hawkins has been a Health and Safety Representative for the Rural Clinical School for several years actively ensuring that rural and regional facilities have the same level of support as our metropolitan locations especially electrical safety in teaching spaces and in student housing.

Richard Brennand
Associate Director Maintenance and Operations, Campus Management

Mr Brennand has made wide ranging and significant improvements to the level of health and safety for infrastructure management at the University. He has brought with him a wealth of knowledge in relation to facilities management in a vast number of industries :

  • His passionate pursuit of safety has seen him confront he difficult underlying issues that have contributed to many of the unsafe practices occurring at the University
  • He has identified many of these ensconced issues at the University
  • His actions have involved a radical rethink of the way health and safety assurance is integrated into many areas of the University and the removal of some of the barriers that have developed.

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Safety Recognition Award


This category may be for groups or individuals. Nominations may be made to recognise the efforts of current safety personnel or for a recently completed safety related activity or project.

The 2018 Safety Recognition Award was awarded to the HMS Legacy Chemical Disposal Team, comprising of:

  • Brett Tizard (HMS Health & Safety Consultant),
  • Melissa Andrade (HMS Technical Manager),
  • Laurton McGurk (Central Safety, Health & Wellbeing)
  • And a number of other research staff who assisted in the process.

The use and storage of chemicals at the University is rated as a high-risk activity and has many operational challenges associated with its ongoing management. The term ‘legacy chemical’ is a term used to describe the chemicals that get left behind in an area on an individual researcher or project concludes. Identifying them, tagging and cataloguing these legacy chemicals is a difficult task.

This particular project was a high-risk activity that required a high level of detail to identify chemicals for disposal, as well as a programmed approach that included extensive communications and multiple site visits (several hospital campuses, multiple buildings, hundreds of labs/rooms). This project also included a substantial program of manifesting and disposal of legacy chemicals.

The outcome of the legacy chemical management activity has been a significantly greater understanding about safe chemical storage and management and an ongoing plan for actively addressing chemical safety and keeping students, staff and facilities safe.

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Nominations received for the Safety Recognition Award

Legacy Chemical Disposal Team
Brett Tizard (HMS Health & Safety Consultant), Melissa Andrade (HMS Technical Manager), Laurton McGurk (Central Safety, Health & Wellbeing)

A coordinated and comprehensive review of chemical storage across the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences multiple sites was undertaken and a substantial program of manifesting and disposal of legacy chemicals reducing the risk profile of Faculty research and teaching spaces.

Other achievements include :

  • A comprehensive program of activities including extensive communications, site visits (4 hospital campuses, # buildings, # labs/rooms), reviews and audits were undertaken in order to identify, tag and catalogue items that were to be disposed
  • The safe and effective management and disposal of legacy chemicals
  • The team managed and coordinated all the required works to ensure the safe disposal of a vast amount of legacy chemicals
  • A number of significant undocumented hazards were identified and disposed, ensuring all staff, students and visitors were safely managed.

Mr Trevor Humphrey
Director, Campus Management

Mr Humphreys has a strong background working within campus development, sustainability and facility management within the Higher Education Sector in the United Kingdom.

  • He has brought with him a wealth of knowledge
  • Has been instrumental in championing health and safety and supporting a positive safety culture within Campus Management. We are now seeing the benefits of these actions in a more focused approach to management health and safety in all our operation
  • Strives for best practice and has also reached out to other areas of the University to offer support in the management of their infrastructure issues
  • as been key in driving a review of safety management across the whole University.

Some achievements include :

  • Establishment of a strategic forum for the management of health and safety at a senior management level within Campus Management
  • Endorsing H&S Management Objectives and establishment of an Action Plan and Key Performance Indicators
  • Developing proposals for management of infrastructure issues across the University
  • Canvassing the need for a university-wide Safety Assurance Review program.

L Block Cryofacility Transfer
Biomedical Sciences Technical Services Team (HMS), John Moore (EMS), and Lyall Munslow-Davies (SHW)

A large cryostorage unit within Biomedical Sciences has come to the end of its lifespan and has been replaced. The program of work undertaken includes :

  • The orderly transfer of thousands of individual samples has involved the development of new transfer protocols, the purchase of individual oxygen monitors and the implementation of new safety SOPs for the facility
  • Significant contributions to training have come from Mr Moore (EMS)
  • Risk assessments were supplied by Mr Munslow-Davies
  • A new training video is being developed by the team using materials captured during early training sessions.

UWA Library’s Safety, Health and Wellbeing Committee

They have been working diligently over the last year to improve and enhance the safety, health and wellbeing of all staff, students and community members who actively engage in the using the library environment. They are fully committed and engaged in :

  • UWA Library Safety, Health and Wellbeing committee meets regularly once a month and reports back to the unit through staff meetings, emails and follow-ups with Safety and Health Representatives.
  • Preparation, review and approval processes for all procedures and equipment use within 6 libraries, with the development of a library specific Safety and Health Risk register, Safety, a Health and Wellbeing task schedule (building inspections, batteries and walkie talkie testing, wheelchairs checked, first aid kits checked & replenished, other tasks as mandated), a SHW Procedures and Guidelines Review table and a Library SHW Document registry. The Strategic Management re-structure enabled all the of the Library Occupational Health & Safety materials and files to be collected, rebranded and reordered logically in one place. This has allowed must easier access to information.
  • Regular reviews and practice of emergency preparedness including recently trialling new “Lockout (shelter in place)” and “Armed Emergency” evacuation drills in the Reid and Barry J Marshall Libraries, and conducting a post-testing review.
  • Well defined induction processes for new staff, including a review of all current staff compliance to safety procedures online induction.
  • Competency based training program for staff including basic first aid and manual handling. Newly trained First aid officers now available across libraries.
  • Systematic review of all safety health and Wellbeing procedures currently used in the Library.
  • Timely incident reporting across all areas with focus on risk mitigation and hazard removal by staff.
  • Ensuring a high standard of electrical safety by ensuring all electrical equipment is correctly tagged and operating procedures adhered to.
  • Developing clear instructions for Ambulance attendance on campus at each library, on and off campus. St John’s Ambulance Service has only the generic address for the UWA Library and we needed clear verbal instructions near each library’s phones to aid quick attendance in a medical emergency.
  • New external signage created for the EDFAA library that allowed wheelchair-bound or differently-abled students to be able to see at eye level directions to the lift access outside. The previous signage was too far away to read based inside the library entrance foyer.
  • Program of regular facility and building inspections which are interactive and ensures all staff and others have the opportunity to raise concerns to the Safety Reps onsite. UWA Library now has three Worksafe accredited Safety Representatives and at least one Safety Advocate in each library to monitor the safety on the library environment.
  • Creating a clear roster for Building Wardens, back-up Building Wardens and Safety Advocates to regularly monitor and report hazards and compliance issues in libraries.
  • Use of and improvement in Traffic Light Reporting scores, especially in the last six months, by introducing initiatives and practical applications to improve our score. For example, including safety updates for staff in the regularly library
  • Developing and expanding a student Wellness programme based in the libraries
  • All Library staff receiving training in Mental Health First Aid and the use of defibrillators onsite.

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