Safety, Health and Injury Management and Wellbeing

Newsletter May 2015

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 2015
  2. Make June the month you complete mental health training
  3. Fieldwork Application - Software Solution - Riskteq (previously named Fieldteq)
  4. Information on sit-stand desks at UWA
  5. OHS Management Systems - Changes in ISO Standard
  6. Chemical Corner
  7. Electrical Safety and Electrical Work Procedures at UWA
  8. University Safety Committee
  9. Previous Safety and Health Newsletters

Safety Related Training 2015


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Make June the month you complete mental health training

1 in 5 Australians experience a mental illness in any given year; and 45% at some time in their life. Given that, it’s important to have the skills to be able to respond to colleagues, friends, or family members who may need support. If you haven’t as yet, get along to Mental Health Awareness Training on June 23.

This 1-day course will give you a useful overview of the signs and symptoms of, and management strategies for, common mental health issues, as well as guidance on how to assist someone showing signs or symptoms. The course is highly recommended for all staff.

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Fieldwork Application - Software Solution - Riskteq (previously named Fieldteq)

UWA is embarking on modernising the paper based fieldwork application process with the implementation of a software product called Riskteq. The compliance and monitoring processes will be streamlined and improved. Safety Health and Wellbeing are currently configuring Riskteq to enable the software to function within the UWA Policies and Procedures, compliance requirements, risk assessment, workflows and other processes. Riskteq is scheduled for a pilot program to be run within the School of Plant Biology in the third quarter, with views to expand soon after.  If your School or Faculty would like and further information any enquiries can be directed to [email protected]

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Information on sit-stand desks at UWA

Information on sit-stand (or height-adjustable) desks is now available on the ergonomics web page: , including important considerations and a step by step guide to UWA processes.

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OHS Management Systems - Changes in ISO Standard

A new Standard for OHS management systems will help employers reduce incidents and require "much stronger" safety buy-in from senior leaders, according to the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO). The draft ISO 45001 is in the voting stage, Standards Australia is a member and have two months to submit comments. The draft Standard "insists" that OHS matters are "embodied in the overall management system of the organisation, requiring a much stronger buy-in from its management and leadership". "ISO 45001 requires health and safety aspects to be part of an overall management system and no longer just an added extra."

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Chemical Corner

Laboratory Safety Course:
The next laboratory safety course will be held on Monday the 20th of July, in the Tattersall Lecture Theatre (this is located next to the Bayliss building). The course runs from 9 am until 4:45 pm with breaks for morning and afternoon teas (we provide tea, coffee and biscuits) and lunch (we don’t provide lunch). The cost is $40 for UWA staff and students and $150 + GST for external attendees. As this date is in O-week and parking may be difficult at UWA. It is STRONGLY advised that you use public transport if you don’t have a UWA parking permit.

PPE is the last method of minimising risks when working with chemicals. Yet it is an important part of safety management; it is the aspect we can typically personally modify. The selection of PPE must take into account the level of risk we reasonably expect to encounter in our work and the working environment. We may have to allow for extremes of temperature, level of dexterity as well as the chemicals we will be using. If we are working on an open bench where we, or others, will be using chemicals than I would recommend wearing lab safety glasses; gloves and a lab coat as a standard precaution. Our eyes are easily damaged but so many reagents. Gloves should be selected based on the chemicals used; the method and duration of use and your own sensitivities or allergies. Lab coats are geeky cool! But should be worn only in the laboratory!

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Electrical Safety and Electrical Work Procedures at UWA

As an employer, UWA has a legal obligation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act to ensure that workers are trained or that training is provided to enable them to perform their work safely. Campus Management is responsible for UWA buildings and their installed electrical wiring up to the power point into which you plug your laptop or research equipment. Campus Management’s electricians are all appropriately trained and hold electrical licences acknowledging their competency. Each Business Unit is responsible for electrical safety of its own research and other equipment which plugs into those building power points.

UWA’s Electrical Research Activities
To enable many of UWA’s research activities to progress, different researchers and associated technical staff have had to design and construct new electrically operated equipment or modify existing apparatus. For some post-graduates, this has been the topic of their PhD. Historically, some of UWA’s technicians doing and assisting in this work held a restricted “cord and plug” electrical licence issued by Energy Safety’s Electrical Licencing Board. Very few researchers have held such a licence, even though many have and continue to make electrical modifications to research apparatus. Research intensive Business Units generally consider that this work needs to be done by specialist researchers and staff within the Business Unit rather than by external contract or by Campus Management. In some cases the intellectual property in this work needs to be safeguarded within the Business Unit.

Regulatory Changes
Some years ago Energy Safety discontinued restricted “cord and plug” licences leaving UWA legally exposed arising from electrical work on research and associated equipment being done by unlicensed personnel. Research had to continue so the design, construction and modification of electrically powered research equipment continued as before.

Development of New Procedures
Commencing in 2012 UWA’s Safety Committee authorised Safety, Health and Wellbeing to investigate electrical safety and electrical work procedures with a view to improving electrical safety and legal compliance. After extensive internal and external consultation and many improvements, UWA’s Safety Committee approved the final version of UWA’s Electrical Safety and Electrical Work Procedures document early in 2015 - accessed through Safety, Health and Wellbeing’s web page. This document clarifies legal requirements and divides the extensive range of electrical work occurring within UWA’s Business Units into 8 categories.

How does this impact on UWA technicians?
Category 3A covers UWA technician-type employees who are technically qualified, hold a special electrical permit for electrical equipment work and are approved by a Business Unit to design, assemble, modify, test, repair, inspect and certify laboratory/research type electrical equipment to Australian Standards, to assess electrical equipment risk and to undertake routine inspection, testing, tagging and registering of electrical equipment in compliance with AS/NZS 3760. Arising out of this extensive consultation, Energy Safety’s Electrical Licencing Board recently created a new Restricted Electrical Licence category called the “University Technician’s Electrical Worker’s Permit”.

Eligibility - Training
Eligibility to apply for this permit requires successful completion of three training courses – “Cord and Plug” and “Portable Appliance Testing PAT” courses provided by a commercial training provider and the UWA In-House course “Electrical Equipment and Appliances at UWA: Designing, assembling, and inspecting for electrical safety”. This UWA in-house course was developed by Safety, Health and Wellbeing with assistance from Adjunct Professor Al Koenig, ex Director of Energy Safety for WA. It was developed from a similar course originally prepared by ANU and used with their permission. Adjunct Professor Koenig presented the in-house courses on behalf of Safety, Health and Wellbeing. On the 12th May 2015 twenty four UWA technical and academic persons successfully completed the training required to achieve eligibility for this new “University Technician’s Electrical Worker’s Permit”. Their applications to Energy Safety’s Electrical Licencing Board will soon occur with supporting letters from their individual Business Units.

Summary of Achievements
The result of three year’s work on improving UWA’s electrical safety has been:-

  1. Achieving Safety Committee endorsement of UWA’s Electrical Safety and Electrical Work Procedures document now freely available on the Safety, Health and Wellbeing web page.
  2. A new University Technician Electrical Worker’s Permit from Energy Safety WA; and
  3. Twenty four UWA persons successfully completing the eligibility requirements for the new permit.

This work has been a win-win situation for:-

  1. UWA in ensuring legally required electrical compliance and providing employee training as required under the OSH Act; and
  2. for UWA employees, the satisfaction and protection afforded from being able to be the holder of a legally recognised permit of competence for the electrical work which they perform.

Future Course
Appropriate Business Units will be advised later this year that the in-house electrical training course will be repeated during 2016. Potential candidates will need to complete the two commercially provided courses before then.

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University Safety Committee

The University Safety Committee last met on Tuesday the 14th April 2015. The next meeting is on Tuesday 16th June 2015. Approved minutes from previous meetings are available from the Safety, Health and Wellbeing website.

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Previous Safety and Health 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.

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