The University of Melbourne

Occupational Health and Safety Committee

Meeting Number 3/97

A meeting of the Occupational Health and Safety Committee was held in the Moot Court Room, Law School, on Tuesday, 5 August 1997 at 2.15 pm.


Ms E Baré(Chair)                             Mr J Carmichael                               

Mr B Greenwood                                Ms P Cardinaletti                             

Mr G Suckling                                 Dr P Marley                                   

Mr D Hook                                     Ms J Wedgwood                                 

Dr M Livett                                   Mr R Mason                                    

Prof G Campbell                               Dr M Bullen                                   

Participating Observers

Ms Lisa Ireland

Mr J Sempill

In Attendance

Ms V Jackson


Prof B Sheehan

Ms M Harris

Mr J Colebatch

Ms L Huq

It was noted that Mr Sempill is the new Student Union observer.

1. Minutes of Meeting 2/97

The minutes of meeting 2/97 were confirmed.

2. Reports from University Safety Committees

A list of Safety Committee reports was presented. There was discussion regarding means to address the ongoing requirements for safety auditing within Departments.

3. Action Items from Meeting 2/97

3.1 Safety Signage

A draft schedule of safety signage and responsibilities was presented. It was agreed that this would be incorporated with the policy statement discussed at the last Committee meeting as part of the University's Occupational Health & Safety Manual. A checklist of current signs in use will also be developed for use by Maintenance staff.

3.2 Guidelines for Fieldwork

Following feedback from Departments, the guidelines are being rewritten in a more generic format to allow for the varied activities carried out in Departments. It was requested that the guidelines also include example checklists and procedures. The new draft will be distributed for comment.

3.3 Safety Information on the CWIS

A memo from Norbert Riedl, ITS, was presented. The Committee agreed to support the formation of an internal and external University Web page, with links to safety from the internal page.

3.4 Safety Clauses in position descriptions

The SafetyMAP requirement to define safety responsibilities for staff was discussed. It was agreed that Mr Suckling and Ms Baré will meet with Department Heads to urgently resolve this issue.

3.5 Health Monitoring

A proposal to distribute a modified health questionnaire to all staff was welcomed by the Committee. A pilot survey of 400 staff would be conducted in the first instance. The questionnaire would be used to identify staff exposed to new potential health risks due to changes in work activities. Following the initial mail out, staff with over 5 years service would be targeted by the questionnaire in future. It was suggested that the questionnaire include a note that this is a measure to help protect the health of staff.

3.6 Fume Cupboards

A paper on proposed maintenance and upgrades to fume cupboards was presented. A high priority group has been identified and $400,000 allocated to conduct required improvements this year, mostly during the semester break. A moderate priority group has also been identified and will be tackled next year. Departments will be informed before work commences in their areas.

3.7 Committee Membership

Prof Graeme Campbell, Deputy Dean of the Science Faculty, has joined the Committee as a nominee for Ian Marshman.

3.8 Asbestos - Procedures for Contractors

No further progress has been made to date on this topic.

3.9 Perspex Parking permits

It was noted that velcro attachments, available from the traffic office, can be used to fix the permits to the windscreen.

3.10 Incident Notification

A paper clarifying the VWA requirements regarding notification of spills was accepted. The information will be added to the amended section 4.1 of the OHS Manual and publicised to Departments by the RMO.

4. Confined Spaces Regulations

A new draft section on confined spaces was accepted for inclusion in the OHS Manual, with the following inclusions:

5. Corridors Policy

A draft policy on corridors was accepted by the Committee for inclusion in the OHS Manual. It was noted that the policy also covers landings and stairwells. The policy should be implemented by Departments in the next twelve months.

6. SafetyMAP Update

A progress report on the SafetyMAP project was presented. No further external audits have been conducted since the last report. It was noted that the project has increased demand for safety training amongst staff.

7. Environmental Audit Report

The Committee received a report on progress of the environmental audit. The implementation of environmental measures will be linked to SafetyMAP procedures where possible.

8. Report from Health & Safety Representative Meeting

The HSR's raised the issue of the resale of University equipment and requirements of the OHS Act regarding safety of the equipment. The RMO was requested to provide further information on this issue.

9. Construction Site Safety Working Party

The Committee discussed the terms of reference for this working party. It was noted that a draft induction procedure for smaller contractors has been developed.

10. Any Other Business

10.1 People with ambiguous relationship with the University

The RMO was asked to provide information on the University's liability regarding visiting academics, students who do work in labs for further experience without pay. It was suggested that these people could be made an associate of the University, approved by the Head of Department.

10.2 Smoking Policy

The Committee was asked to consider extending the University's no smoking policy to public external areas eg. eating areas and entrances to buildings such as the Library. The RMO was asked to formulate further suggestions to handle this issue for the next meeting.

The meeting closed at 4.10 p.m.

The next meeting will be on Tuesday 21 October at 2.15pm in the Moot Court Room, Law Faculty.