Safety, Health and Injury Management and Wellbeing

Newsletter August 2017

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

  • UWA Smoke Free
  • Become a first aid officer
  1. Safety Related Training 2017
  2. UWA Annual Safety Awards 2017 (Nominations required by 22 September)
  3. Traffic Light System Jan-Jun 2017 (submissions required by 29 September)
  4. Sign up for Stepathlon
  5. Unsafe Power Adaptors
  6. Evacuation Drills - Lessons learnt
  7. Riskware Update
  8. Liquid Nitrogen
  9. Chemical Corner - Lists
  10. WorkSafe WA Safety and Health Workshops in October 2017
  11. Development of a modernised Work Health and Safety Bill
  12. McGowan Government to increase penalties for workplace safety offences
  13. University Safety Committee
  14. Previous Safety and Health Newsletters
  15. Wellbeing eNews

Safety Related Training 2017

Back to top

UWA Annual Safety Awards 2017 (Nominations required by 22 September)

Whilst safety is everyone’s responsibility, the University annually recognises persons and groups who go above and beyond in promoting and implementing good safety, health and wellbeing practices. Nominations are now invited for the following four UWA Safety Awards - Group (Faculty, School, Section), Individual, Safety Leadership (Individual) and Safety Recognition. All staff and safety committees are encouraged to promote these awards within their work areas and to seek suitable nominations. Nominations to UWA Safety, Health and Wellbeing close on Friday 22nd September 2017. The awards will be presented in October during Safe Work Australia Month. For further information:

Back to top

Traffic Light System Jan-Jun 2017 (submissions required by 29 September)

Traffic Light System Collated Responses and Reporting Summary (Jan - Jun 2017)
Traffic Light System reports from work areas for January to June 2017 are currently being sought for submission by 29th September 2017.
Traffic Light System information and procedure is available at:
Traffic Light System documents are available (Pheme log in required) at:  

Back to top

Sign up for Stepathlon

Stepathlon logo

Keen to challenge yourself to be healthier? UWA’s new activity challenge for 2017, Stepathlon, is a virtual race around the world in teams of five, with 42 days of tips and motivation, and a number of activities on campus to help bring the event to life. Participation costs are subsidised for staff and you'll be able to sync with your existing device. Find out more at:

Back to top

Unsafe Power Adaptors

Energy Safety and Consumer Protection has issued a warning regarding unsafe power adaptors. Universities, with international students and local students who travel and purchase items online from overseas are at particularly high risk for unsafe power adaptors. Please keep an eye out and if you notice a non-compliant adaptor request the user to power down their device and remove the adaptor after turning power off at the wall switch.  

Back to top

Evacuation Drills - Lessons learnt

The next round of evacuation drills will occur in the week commencing Monday 18th September. From the May 2017 drills certain key points were highlighted:

  • Ensure the First Aid box is brought outside (preferably with the First Aid officer)
  • Make sure you wear your Warden hat; it’s no good in your hand.
  • The Building Warden must inspect the Fire Panel to ascertain the location of the fire
  • Area wardens must report to the Building Warden (or send a runner) not just clear.

Back to top

Riskware Update

Development of Riskware, the online replacement for the Incident and Hazard report forms continues. There have been two rounds of testing with key safety personnel with another scheduled in coming weeks. Go-live is expected during October. Some highlights of the system that you can look forward to include:

  • Entirely online reporting of hazards and incidents
  • Automatic forwarding to supervisors (no need to get forms signed off before sending to Safety)
  • Simplified Action Plans for Supervisors and Managers with options for in-depth investigation
  • Auto fill forms to retrieve locations and employee details
  • Ability for Managers to review statistics for their areas at any time
  • Log in from any internet-capable device

Back to top

Liquid Nitrogen

Liquid nitrogen is a commonly used cryogen in research laboratories. Hazards associated with the use and storage of liquid nitrogen includes:

Extreme Cold: Liquid nitrogen vapour can rapidly freeze skin tissue and eye fluid, resulting in cold burns, frostbite, and permanent eye damage even from brief exposures.
Asphyxiation: Liquid nitrogen expands 682 times in volume when it vaporizes and has no warning properties such as odour or colour. If sufficient liquid nitrogen vapour is released to reduce the oxygen level in air to below 19.5%, there is a risk of oxygen deficiency which may cause unconsciousness. Death may result if oxygen deficiency is extreme. To prevent asphyxiation hazards, handlers need to ensure the room is well ventilated when using liquid nitrogen indoors. Oxygen monitors are installed in areas where there is significant liquid nitrogen use and personal oxygen monitors are now available.
Oxygen Enrichment: When transferring liquid nitrogen, oxygen in the air surrounding a cryogen containment system can dissolve and create an oxygen-enriched environment. Since the boiling point of nitrogen is lower than that of oxygen, liquid oxygen evaporates slower than nitrogen and may build up to levels which can increase the flammability of materials such as clothing near the system. Equipment containing cryogenic fluids must be kept clear of combustible materials in order to minimize the fire hazard potential. Condensed oxygen in a cold trap may combine with organic material in the trap to create an explosive mixture.
Pressure Build-up and Explosions: Without adequate venting or pressure-relief devices on the containers, enormous pressures can build with cryogen evaporation. Users must make sure that cryogenic liquids are never contained in a closed system. Use a pressure relief vessel or a venting lid to protect against pressure build-up.

For further information on the hazards and precautions when handling liquid nitrogen:
Review the Safety Data Sheet SDS (in ChemAlert):
Review the UWA Chemical Management Guidelines:  
Conduct and record a risk assessment:  
Attend the UWA Laboratory Safety Course (which includes the issue of a comprehensive set of course notes):  
Seek specialist advice on your intended use of liquid nitrogen.

Back to top

Chemical Corner - Lists

Let me list the ways…. I don’t like lists of chemicals.

I like lists; shopping lists, to do lists, menus and Christmas gift lists. A well-ordered list is a useful and wonderful thing.

But…… you knew that was coming, didn’t you! But a list is NOT an adequate way of itemising the chemical in your area.

It doesn’t communicate anything more than what is in the area. Here’s a list of acids:

  • Osmic
  • Acetic
  • Nitric
  • Formic
  • Picric
  • Ascorbic
  • Borofluoric

I’ve found all of them in acid cabinets at times despite the fact that a glance at the SDS (or the containers’ labels) would tell you that between these items encompass dangerous goods classes 6.1 (toxic), 4.1 (flammable solid), 5.1 (oxidising agents), 1.1 (mass explosive), 4.3 (dangerous when wet), and 8 (corrosive). Only the class 8 should be in an acid cabinet.

One of these reagents isn’t a dangerous good even in pure form. One is a dangerous good when concentrated but in sufficiently dilute form is great on fish and chips. One needs to be kept wetted with at least 30% water. One must be kept away from water. One degrades to form CO2; this can build up until the bottle (when not vented) explodes. But you won’t know this from a list. Learn the risks and you’ll be safer. Save the lists for Santa!

Back to top

WorkSafe WA Safety and Health workshops in October 2017

WorkSafe Division of the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety are conducting a range of workshops from presenters with a wealth of occupational safety and health industry experience and expertise, as well as gain tools, techniques and strategies to take back to your workplace.  

Back to top

Development of a modernised Work Health and Safety Bill

On 12/07/17 the State Government announced the development of a modernised Work Health and Safety Bill for Western Australia which will be based on the national Work Health and Safety Act. The Bill will replace three acts, the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984, Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994; and Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Safety Levies Act 2011. The development of the Bill will involve extensive consultation with stakeholders and the community prior to introduction into State Parliament.  
A Ministerial Advisory Panel on Work Health and Safety (WHS) Reform has been formed to advise on the development of a single harmonised and amalgamated WHS Act, covering general industry and the resources sector in Western Australia (WA).   

Back to top

McGowan Government to increase penalties for workplace safety offences

On 27/08/17 Premier Mark McGowan announced an increase of penalties for workplace safety offences to bring Western Australia into line with other states and ensure penalties better reflect the importance of a safe workplace.  

Back to top

University Safety Committee

The University Safety Committee last met on Tuesday8th August 2017. The next meeting is on Tuesday 10th October 2017.
Approved minutes from previous meetings are available from the Safety, Health and Wellbeing website.

Back to top

Previous Safety, Health and Wellbeing Newsletters

For those who have missed out on our earlier editions, copies of previous newsletters can be obtained from the following web site: .
All are encouraged to distribute relevant safety information in your workplaces.

Back to top

Wellbeing eNews

A reminder that the new look Wellbeing eNews is out in June with lots of great tips and events to help you improve your health wellbeing. Click here to subscribe

Back to top