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Health and Safety Procedure - Inspections, Assessment and Review

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Section 1 - Background and Purpose

(1) Inspections, periodic assessment and review are preventative processes that enable focused attention and a methodical approach into checking our facilities and equipment and providing timely assurance for managing Health and Safety.

(2) The purpose of this Procedure is to outline the types of inspections, assessment and periodic reviews that will occur across the University and provide directional advice in managing safe processes.

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Section 2 - Scope

(3) This Procedure refers to the Health and Safety inspections, periodic assessments and review processes for all La Trobe University controlled facilities. Where space is controlled by another facility, University partner or tenant, inspections will form part of the agreement and will be limited to those areas that are formally used by the University staff and students.

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Section 3 - Policy Statement

(4) Refer to the Health and Safety Policy.

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Section 4 - Procedures

Part A - Responsibilities

Managers and Leaders

(5) Managers and leaders will:

  1. Lead by example and provide visible support for periodic inspections
  2. Enable periodic inspections as part of hazard management in the local safety management plan
  3. Ensure that periodic inspections are undertaken by those suitably qualified for specialist areas
  4. Extend an invitation to the local Health and Safety Representative (HSR)
  5. Ensure that periodic inspections are undertaken and corrective actions completed and verified

Health & Safety Team

(6) The Health & Safety Team will:

  1. Provide oversight and monitor this procedure
  2. Provide guidance and advice for the creation of specific inspection checklists
  3. Report on the inspections performance to the Consultative Committee
  4. Review the inspection reports and share learnings with the University community
  5. Undertake periodic deep dives to seek assurance
  6. Monitor to ensure any necessary corrective actions are implemented

Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs)

(7) Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) will:

  1. Actively participate in periodic inspections when available
  2. Actively participate in a deep dive audit with the HSE consultant when available
  3. Provide oversight that periodic inspections are undertaken and corrective actions are completed

All Staff

(8) All staff will actively participate in periodic inspections and where invited, deep dive audits.

Part B - General

(9) An inspection is an examination of the workplace to check for hazards and seek assurance that operational safety standards are being maintained. For the purposes of this Procedure, an inspection is the formal periodic inspection with documented reporting that includes corrective actions.

(10) An inspection will:

  1. assess the safety of current activities and/or equipment
  2. identify immediate or potential hazards
  3. identify improvement opportunities
  4. provide positive feedback on good safety practices
  5. identify the necessary corrective actions
  6. follow-up on hazard control measures or improvements
  7. demonstrate safety management in action

(11) Inspections can target the entire workplace, a particular area of operations or even a single piece of equipment.
Periodic inspections will be carried out by a small team that includes a manager or leader (or the nominated person)along with suitably qualified person/s in specialist areas. The inspection can also involve persons from another area to provide a fresh perspective. Ideally, inspections in specialist areas such as theatres, workshops and laboratories will also involve HDR students or junior post-doctoral staff who can benefit from the experience through raising their awareness of hazards and risk control.

(12) Corrective actions will be documented and work requests raised through the Archibus system as appropriate. All corrective actions will be verified by members of the inspection team for completion and efficacy.

(13) A general inspection checklist is available on the University intranet and is suitable for general teaching areas, meeting rooms and offices. Where there are specialised areas or equipment such as laboratories, then checklists will be created and tailored to the hazard risks that are present and will become available on the University intranet for the purposes of sharing and continuous improvement.

Part C - Periodic Inspection

(14) Periodic inspections are an important preventative action to manage hazards across the University. The frequency of inspections - at a minimum - has been determined as follows:

  1. General teaching rooms, theatres, office areas and other common spaces – two per year
  2. Workshops – four per year
  3. Chemical stores – four per year
  4. Plant rooms – twice a year
  5. Laboratories – twice a year

(15) Periodic inspection checklist records which include the corrective actions taken, will be maintained by the responsible area and be available for assurance and review.

(16) Where the periodic inspections involve laboratories, the issues identified will be tabled on a Register of Issues and presented to the Health & Safety Consultative Committee and College Executive for planning and oversight.

Part D - Equipment Pre-Operation Checks

(17) Where an area has equipment with inherent hazard risk then the area responsible will develop specific equipment checklists and include a pre-operation check. These will be completed at the start of operation and will include information about any corrective actions that were taken. These records will be maintained by the responsible area and be available for assurance and review.

Part E - Specialised Inspections

(18) Specialised inspections include Institutional Biosafety (IBC) and Animal Ethics inspections, Physical Containment (PC) facility inspections, building or refurbishment handovers and contractor operations. Each will have specific instructions and associated processes developed and managed separately from this procedure.

Part F - Deep Dive Audits

(19) Each Health and Safety consultant will each undertake two audits per year to seek assurance that safety management processes are effective. Each audit will focus on an area of higher inherent hazard risk and will involve a deep dive into a process to test for control efficacy and continuous improvement.

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Section 5 - Definitions

(20) For the purpose of this Procedure:

  1. Audit: is the systematic and independent examination of documents or process to ascertain a true and fair view of the risk controls under review.
  2. Assurance: a positive declaration intended to give confidence.
  3. Hazard: is anything with the potential to cause harm. Potential hazards can be identified on the basis of previous experience or from the anticipation of problems that can be reasonably associated with the activity.
  4. IBC: La Trobe Institutional Biosafety Committee.
  5. Inspection: is a careful examination and evaluation to determine the quality or condition meets the expected requirements.
  6. PC: Physical Containment laboratory facilities.
  7. Review: is a formal assessment with the intention of instituting change where necessary.
  8. Risk control: is the allocation of resources or methods to eliminate or to minimise, as far as is reasonably practicable, the risk to safety or health from a hazard.