The University of Melbourne

Occupational Health and Safety Committee

Meeting Number 1/99

A meeting of the Occupational Health and Safety Committee was held in the Foundation and Life Members Room, Graduate Centre on Tuesday 2 March, 1999 at 2.15pm



Professor F Larkins (Chair)

Mr P Coats

Ms Julia McQuillan (nominee for Ms Baré)

Mr J Colebatch

Mr J Carmichael

Ms J Wedgwood

Dr M Bullen

Dr M Livett

Mr G Suckling

Dr M Wlodek

Ms L Huq


In Attendance


Ms N Austin

Ms T Wright




Mr P Edwards

Mr R Sorenson

Mr E Smart


Starring of items will commence from 2/99 agenda

  1. Welcome
  2. Professor Larkins welcomed all new and past members to the committee for 1999, thanking them for their attendance. A discussion of the importance of the committee and its members in acknowledging and supporting the day-to-day management of issues of occupational health and safety in the context of the University╠s legislative and duty of care requirements was made.

  3. Minutes of meeting 4/98
  4. The minutes of meeting 4/98 were accepted. An agenda omission for a follow up to the proposed committee restructure was noted. Professor Larkins took this opportunity to brief the committee regarding progress on this matter. The retirement of Mr Potter has instigated a significant restructure for senior personnel. Committee restructure may occur within this new framework and in particular the appointment of a compliance office rat the deputy principal level will impact on the area of Safety and the relevant committees.

  5. Reports from Departmental Safety Committees
  6. The committee noted these reports have been received and referred an item for discussion under 9.2

  7. Action Items from meeting 4/98
    1. Safety Clauses in Position Descriptions

This item was discussed with item 6

    1. No Smoking Policy
    2. Warning signs will be placed close to air intake areas of buildings and trial bins for cigarette buts will be positioned in locations to encourage movement away from main entrances. It is envisaged these measures will be extended later in the year.

    3. Health & Safety Representative Numbers
    4. Committee noted 80% coverage of representatives to date but acknowledged the importance of achieving 100% representation in all designated work groups (DWG). A letter to heads of those DWGs without OH&S representatives will be drafted from RMO to be sent from the chair, The letter will request staff consultation and recommendation of representatives made and will be accompanied by the proforma document Ď call for nominations.

    5. Priority of minor buildings works related to safety matters
    6. Draft paper to be supplied for next meeting.

    7. Health Monitoring Guidelines

The current health questionnaire and monitoring procedures were noted to be deficient in two areas;

    1. Regarding Staff
    2. Human Resources was requested to report on the best mechanism(s) and methodologies by which to inform all staff members.

      It was noted that the issue had been on the table for a number of years and implementation was required for next meeting. A multi-facetted approach was considered the best option with information regarding consideration of risks associated with new tasks to be alerted via payslips, uni news, during appraisal, and /or mail out. The principle of members of the University being primarily responsible for their own health monitoring was reinforced.

    3. Regarding postgraduate students.

A small group of departments would be piloted to develop an appropriate methodology for a student health questionnaire via a number of mechanisms through the initial enrolment / induction of research students. It was envisaged that this process would be supported by a broader educational / information approach through the school of Graduate Studies, incorporating information within Ph.D. supervisors manuals, training sessions, student handbooks and induction material. John Carmichael expressed interest on behalf of the department of Chemistry for participation in the trial process

    1. Occupational Health and Safety Manual Update
    2. This was discussed in item 9.

    3. Emergency information for lecture theatres (multimedia display)

The faculty of Engineering has agreed to a trial within a number of their lecture theatres. Feedback regarding the response to this trial will be given next meeting.

  1. Occupational Health and Safety Objectives for 1999

The committee suggested a number of areas for focus in 1999




  1. Safety responsibilities in position descriptions
    1. Building Emergency Controller as a 3 year renewable term was endorsed by the committee. Induction training seminars, letter of recognition and information in the OHS manual were identified activities arising.
    2. Draft proposed amendment of regulations 17.1R5 in line with current OH&S distributed information to be prepared by RMO in conjunction with HR. A document to be considered at the next meeting.
    3. The following plan of action was proposed in relation to supervisors roles and responsibility, for OH&S matters
  1. Incident Reports 1998
  2. The tabled report was received. It was noted that the University average, incident rate, lost time and severity rate had all decreased over the past three years.

  3. Environmental Audit Report
  4. The tabled report was received. It was noted that the RMO had taken action on the issues raised in the preliminary audit

  5. EH & S manual
    1. The committee authorized the release of the new OHS manual pending editorial amendments. A formal "launch" was requested
    2. Electrical testing will require purchase of equipment, which is being investigated through appropriate faculties, and the provision of training. Clarification that the tester need not necessarily be an accredited electrician was confirmed.
  6. Health and Safety Representatives
    1. The issue of specialist cleaning services was raised, the cleaning supervisor

should be contacted during working hours and out of hours the security staff.

    1. Joanne Wedgwood informed the committee of her intended resignation from the

position as coordinator of the Universities Health & Safety representatives. Professor Larkins thanked here for the wisdom and dedication she had brought to the committee, and to the University at large regarding issues of health and safety. In particular the concise and constructive way she brought forward issues for consideration by the committee.

  1. Asbestos
  2. The committee received the asbestos management plan status report. The committee noted details of expenditure and future works. The Melbourne University asbestos management plan maintains compliance with the Occupational Health & Safety (Asbestos) Regulations 1992.

  3. Fume Cupboards
  4. Final report will be provided to relevant managers and heads of departments. All work included in the improvement work 1998 has been completed

  5. Other Business

There was no other business

The meeting closed at 3:55 pm.

The next meeting will be held on Tuesday May 11th in the Foundation and Life Members Room, Graduate Centre.





Action Needed

By Whom

By When

1/99 #4.3

Health and Safety representative╠s numbers

Letter to be sent to heads of department regarding management and employee OHS representation

F. Larkins / RMO

11 May, 1999

4/98 #4.3

Priority of minor buildings works related to safety matters

Draft paper to be tabled next meeting

J/ Colbatch

11 May, 1999

1/99 #4.5

Health monitoring guidelines Ď post graduate students

Implement pilot program

M Bullen / J Carmichael

11 May, 1999

1/99 #4.5

Health monitoring guidelines Ď staff

Report on best mechanism to inform and seek advice from staff regarding change in tasks and associated risks

J McQuillan

11 May, 1999


No smoking Policy

Monitor of implemented signs and facilities in trial area

RMO / grounds

End 1999

1/99 #6.2

Discrepancies between 17.1R5 and recent circulars to staff

Suggested amendments to regulations to be tabled for next meeting

N Austin / J McQuillan

11 May, 1999

1/99 #6.3

Supervisors roles and responsibilities

Redraft letter for future mail outs. Lunch time information session

N Austin / J McQuillan

11 May, 1999

4/98 #8

Emergency information for lecture theatres (multimedia display)

Investigate other options for improving emergency information

N Austin / Property Planning and Development

16 Feb 98

Completed Actions


Action Completed

By Whom


No smoking Policy

Signage and facilities are ready for installation by 8th March. Monitoring progress throughout the trial period can now begin

G Suckling / grounds


Building Emergency Controller

Endorsement of a 3 year renewable term with appropriate information to be included in safety manual



Emergency information for lecture theatres

Trial in progress in a number of lecture theatres in faculty of Engineering

N Austin



Endorsed for release