The University of Melbourne
Occupational Health and Safety Committee
Meeting Number 2/97

A meeting of the Occupational Health and Safety Committee was held in the Moot Court Room, Law School, on Tuesday, 6 May 1997 at 2.15 pm.


Prof B Sheehan (Chair)                        Mr J Carmichael                               

Ms E Baré                                     Ms P Cardinaletti                             

Ms N Austin                                   Dr P Marley                                   

Mr J Colebatch                                Ms J Wedgwood                                 

Ms M Harris                                   Mr R Mason                                    

Participating Observers

Ms M Madden, Student Representative

Ms Wai Man Leung

In Attendance

Ms V Jackson


Mr B Greenwood

Dr M Livett

Dr M Bullen

Mr G Suckling

It was noted that Ms Leung is the new post graduate observer.

1. Minutes of Meeting 1/97

The minutes of meeting 1/97 were confirmed.

2. Reports from University Safety Committees

A list of Safety Committee reports was presented. The issue of health monitoring raised in one meeting was discussed under item 4.

3. Action Items from Meeting 1/97

3.1 Safety Signage

A draft paper for inclusion in the Occupational Health & Safety Manual on updating safety signage was presented. The Committee requested that the document be reviewed to include proactive measures for assessing signage needs and resubmitted to the next meeting.

3.2 Guidelines for Fieldwork

No further progress has been made on this since the last meeting; awaiting compilation of checklists by RMO.

3.3 Safety Information on the CWIS

Prof Sheehan has contacted Norbert Riedl again about this matter. The Committee requested information be supplied on guidelines for inclusions on the University home page.

3.4 Safety Clauses in position descriptions

A meeting was held with a group of Deans and Departmental Heads to discuss safety roles and responsibilities. An annual form for Heads to sign, similar to the financial sign off, was discussed as a measure to ensure that Heads understand their safety responsibilities. Where staff have defined responsibilities for safety, this will be included in their letter of appointment.

The Committee asked the RMO to review the statement on due diligence found in a Council agenda item on environmental management, modify it appropriately and bring it to the next meeting. The issue will also be referred in due course to the Human Resources Management Committee for consideration.

3.5 Confined Spaces Regulations

A report on this will be presented at the next meeting.

4. Health Monitoring

A paper was presented on procedures to enhance health monitoring facilities. The Committee agreed that further discussions be held with Human Resources to streamline the process.

5. SafetyMAP Update

SafetyMAP is being actively pursued in eight of the University's 20 functional units. Property & Campus Services and the Library now have initial level accreditation. Whilst SafetyMAP has led to an increase in reported incidents due to increased awareness, evidence suggests that the severity of these incidents has reduced. Chemistry reported a decline in time lost incidents this year to date.

6. Environmental Audit Report

The Committee received a report on progress of the environmental audit. This project is being supervised by an action group under the chairmanship of Prof Larkins.

7. Report from Health & Safety Representative Meeting

The HSR's noted the recent safety circular distributed by the RMO.

Fume Cupboards

It was suggested that not all fume cupboards complied with Australian Standards. Fume cupboards not meeting standards require labelling with safe usage details. The Committee agreed to form a working party of Mr J. Colebatch, Dr P. Marley, Mr G. Suckling and Mr. Carmichael to advise on practical approaches to this issue. Mr J. Colebatch will convene the group.

8. Review of Committee Membership

Mr I. Marshman has agreed to a suggestion that a person be nominated to fill his position on the Committee. The Committee was asked to suggest suitable candidates to Prof Sheehan before the next meeting.

9. Asbestos Report

A report from Property Planning & Development dated April 7 was distributed. An annual report from consultants will be available at the end of May. The incident at Biochemistry was discussed. It was agreed that Property Planning & Development would submit a plan for coordinating contractors within Departments in relation to asbestos by the next meeting.

10. Chemistry Building

Chemistry Building has reopened, with a new flammable liquid store in place. The old Chemistry store is being refurbished and upgraded. On-going hazard management is being undertaken by Chemistry.

11. OHS Manual - updated documents on CWIS

The Committee noted the changes made to sections of the University's OHS Manual, with some minor alterations suggested. The sections updated were:

2.1               Risk Management Office                         

2.2               Occupational Health & Safety Committee         

3.1               Occupational Health & Safety Legislation       

3.2               Health & Safety Representatives                

4.1               Reporting of accidents and hazards             

4.2               Investigation of Accidents                     

8                 Emergency Procedures                           

10                Safety Inspection Checklist                    

20.9              Personal accident and travel insurance         

The altered sections will be available on the CWIS version in May 97.

12. Workplace incident and dangerous occurrence notification

The Committee noted changes to requirements in relation to reporting serious incidents as specified in the revised section 4.1 of the OHS Manual. The Committee asked the RMO to develop means to inform the University community of these changes, and to provide further clarification on the reporting requirements for spills.

13. Any Other Business

13.1 Perspex Parking Permits

The Committee agreed that this would be referred to Property Planning & Development for resolution.

The meeting closed at 4.20 p.m.

The next meeting will be on Tuesday 5 August at 2.15pm in the Moot Court Room, Law Faculty.