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Health and Safety Procedure - Hazard Identification, Risk Assessment and Control

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Section 1 - Background and Purpose

(1) Hazard Identification, Risk Assessment and Control (HIRAC) is the process for managing hazards in the work or operational environment. It is the fundamental mechanism for ensuring a safe workplace, and underlies the basis of modern health and safety legislation.

(2) This procedure outlines the process to manage and control hazards that arise from the activities of University operations. It is a problem solving process with the clear aim to prevent incidents and injuries. 

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Section 2 - Scope

(3) This procedure applies to:

  1. Staff
  2. Students
  3. Contractors
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Section 3 - Policy Statement

(4) Refer to the Health and Safety Policy.

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Section 4 - Procedure

Part A - Responsibilities

(5) Managers and leaders:

  1. Identify and document hazards within the areas of responsibility.
  2. Lead and/or support the risk assessment process. 
  3. Endorse risk control selection and monitor control use.
  4. Undertake/support periodic review of risk control efficacy.

(6) Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) Team:

  1. Provide oversight and monitor this procedure. 
  2. Provide technical and advisory support. 
  3. Conduct or participate in HIRAC as required.
  4. Ensure the selected risk controls are implemented.
  5. Ensure periodic review for risk control efficacy is undertaken.
  6. Communicate the risk control methods, broader trends and deeper insights to the University community.

(7) Staff, students and contractors:

  1. Identify and report hazards that arise from operational activity.
  2. Participate in risk assessment as required.
  3. Activate/use the risk controls to manage risk as required.
  4. Participate in periodic reviews for risk control efficacy as required.

Part B - Hazard Identification

(8) A hazard is a source of potential harm that can give rise to injury, illness or material damage to plant, property or the environment and will arise as tasks and activities are undertaken. 

(9) There are multiple methods for identifying and reporting hazards when preparing and undertaking tasks. These include:

  1. Risk Assessments 
  2. Task Safety Analyses 
  3. Safe Work Method Statements

(10) Hazards are also be identified informally or during inspections and audits. 

(11) All staff, students and contractors will report all hazards through the Incident and Hazard Reporting, which is located on the University intranet.

Part C - Risk Assessment

(12) Risk assessments will be led or supported by managers/leaders and undertaken in small groups through consultative processes. The HIRAC template will be used and these are available on the intranet. 

(13) When undertaking a risk assessment of the hazard, consideration will be given to the hazard in its context to gain a deeper understanding of the risk:

  1. People – who is involved? 
  2. Place – include equipment and environment
  3. Process –is there a current procedure?

(14) The risk assessment will be undertaken using the University Risk Matrix to assign a risk rating to the hazard. The risk rating will determine whether the risk is accepted or not, and the priority to which risk controls are developed and assigned.

  1. In situations where the risk rating is intolerable, possible risk controls will be thoroughly examined and suitable risk control applied before the task commences.
  2. Where no further risk controls are practicable and the task is viewed as essential to University operations, the Head of School/Division will provide written approval for the task to commence. 
  3. The Manager, Health, Safety & Environment will escalate intolerable risks to the Director, Risk Management.

Part D - Risk Control Selection

(15) The hierarchy of control is used to inform the decision of risk control. 

  1. Risk control selection will follow the order of the hierarchy 
  2. Selected risk controls will not introduce new (uncontrolled) risks
  3. Any new or changed risk controls will be captured on the risk register and updated accordingly
  4. Clear responsibilities and timeframes for completion of new risk controls will be established

(16) Risk control selection will also incorporate layers of control to ensure people, place and process are specifically and adequately addressed.

(17) Managing HSE Risk.

(18) Health and Safety risks will be actively managed through the following processes: Fundamental to each of these processes is HIRAC.

Part E - HSE Risk Register

(19) The HSE Team will maintain a HSE Risk Register of the health and safety risks across the University. This process will:

  1. Follow the HIRAC process
  2. Ensure appropriate resources are sought and assigned 
  3. Ensure risk ratings and risk controls are standardised across the University
  4. Utilise information to underpin area HSE risk assessments 

Part F - Area HSE Risk Assessments

(20) The HSE Team in conjunction with managers/leaders will develop and maintain an area HSE Risk Assessment for each School/Division of the University.

  1. The risk assessment process will follow HIRAC.
  2. Managers/leaders with responsibility for the area will approve the risk assessments.
  3. Managers/leaders with responsibility for the area will resource the implementation and management of the risk controls.
  4. The area HSE Risk assessment will inform local TSAs, SWMSs and SOPs.

(21) The Area HSE Risk Assessment will be reviewed annually or when operational changes introduce new hazardsand this information will feed into the University risk register.

Part G - Task Safety Analysis (TSA)

(22) Managers/leaders will support the development and implementation of Task Safety Analyses (TSAs) for any non-routine task where hazards are likely. The TSA will be used to ensure:

  1. Tasks are planned
  2. Task assessments follow HIRAC
  3. Awareness is raised of the hazards and risk controls involved in the task
  4. Appropriate risk controls are in place prior to task commencement
  5. Tasks are completed in a safe and controlled manner
  6. Task Safety Analyses will be reviewed annually or when operational changes introduce new hazards
    1. People undertaking the non-routine tasks will review the TSAs when changes are made.

Part H - Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS)

(23) Managers/leaders will support the development and implementation of Safe Work Method Statements for any high-risk work. The SWMS will be used to ensure:

  1. High-risk work is planned
  2. Assessment of the high-risk tasks follow HIRAC 
  3. Awareness is raised of the hazards and risk controls involving high-risk tasks
  4. Appropriate risk controls are in place prior to starting high-risk work
  5. Tasks are completed in a safe and controlled manner.

(24) Demonstrating an understanding of the SWMS will occur as follows:

  1. People assigned to the activity will sign off the SWMS indicating their understanding of the hazards and risk controls prior to commencing work.
  2. Managers/leaders will review the SWMS on each occasion before work commences and whenever additional hazards are introduced to the task.
    1. People assigned to the activity will review and sign off the SWMS whenever changes are made.

Part I - Safe Operating Procedures (SOP)

(25) Each School/Division will develop Safe Operating Procedures for the use of plant, equipment or for routine tasks where higher risk is identified.

(26) The SOP will be used to ensure:

  1. Routine tasks with higher risk are planned
  2. Tasks utilising plant, equipment or routine tasks with higher risk can be performed safely
  3. Assessment for the SOP follows HIRAC
  4. Appropriate risk controls are in place prior to using the plant, equipment or undertaking the routine task
  5. Tasks are completed in a safe and controlled manner.

(27) Safe Operating Procedures will be reviewed annually or when operational changes introduce new hazards.

  1. People using the plant, equipment or undertaking the routine tasks will review the SOP when changes are made.

Part J - Monitoring and Evaluation

(28) The HSE Team shall monitor and evaluate the risk assessments and risk controls for quality and efficacy.

Part K - Documents and Record Keeping

(29) Schools and Divisional administrators will store all risk assessments, TSAs, SOPs and SWMS to meet the University’s data retention procedures. 

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Section 5 - Definitions

(30) For the purpose of this Procedure:

  1. Hazard: A source of potential harm to people or a situation with potential to cause injury or loss to plant, property or equipment.
  2. Hazard identification: Is the process of identifying all situations or events that could give rise injury, illness or damage to plant or property.
  3. Hierarchy of Control: Is the established priority order for the types of measures to be used to control risks.
  4. HSE: Health, Safety and Environment.
  5. Risk: A function of the probability of an adverse event occurring and the potential consequence of that event.
  6. Hazard Risk Assessment: A systematic approach to assessing hazards which provides an objective measure of the hazard and allows hazards to be prioritised and compared.
  7. HIRAC: Hazard identification, Risk assessment and Control
  8. SOP: Safe Operating Procedure.
  9. SWMS: Safe Work Method Statement.
  10. TSA: Task Safety Analysis.