Table of Contents
ACU consults with staff, students, visitors, volunteers, contractors and significant stakeholders on the identification and management of WHS risk. ACU is committed to maintaining an effective WHS Management System which enables informal and formal communications and consultations about WHS risks, policies, procedures and priorities so that the University can maintain high standards of safety for all participants in its community.
ACU’s approach to consultations aligns with its legal obligation to consult with staff, students, visitors, volunteers and contractors and other stakeholders about matters which are likely to affect their health, safety and wellbeing within its working and learning environments.
2. Overview of Communications and Consultations
The University utilises a number of informal channels and forums to consult, either locally or more broadly, about its WHS Management System and WHS risk.
Table 1: Informal Channels and Forums for Consultation
Area of Consultation
Informal Channel or Forum
Staff and Nominated Supervisor/ managers
Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs)
Campus WHS Committees
Teaching and, research staff and students (dealing with biological and radioactive materials)
Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)
The ACU Staff Consultative Committee (ACUSCC)
Work Health and Safety Advisory Committee
3. Communication and Consultation Triggers
ACU initiates communication and consultation whenever:
- Hazard identification processes and WHS risk assessments are initiated, and decisions are being made about the treatments (controls) which are selected to manage these risks;
- The University proposes changes to the working and learning environment, such as a work processes, policies or procedures; which may affect the health and safety of staff, students, visitors, volunteers and contractors;
- ACU or one of its contractors is aware of hazards and associated risks which may impact upon contractors or campus communities and consultation is initiated about the management of these risks.
Organisational and functional units should have a standing WHS agenda item for staff and/or team meetings to ensure that WHS risk is effectively addressed or managed.
4. External Communication and Consultation
From time to time, WHS information is communicated to external parties such as government authorities, health services, legal agencies, and workers’ compensation insurers. Whenever these communications are required, Nominated Supervisors and other relevant staff should contact relevant staff, such as Human Resources WHS staff, for support in engaging in these consultations, including any mandatory requirements to notify government authorities.
Whenever ACU collaborates with regulators or other organisations to manage a health and safety issue, relevant University Officers are required to consult, cooperate and coordinate activities with any organisation or authority to ensure that these consultations are effective.
5. Resolving WHS issues
Whenever staff members are concerned about a WHS issue they should first consult their Nominated Supervisor. Staff members should log a report of an incident or hazard within riskware. A staff member can consult with their Health and Safety Representative (workgroup) or a local Campus WHS Committee Member if they believe their Nominated Supervisors’ response did not address all their concerns about an incident or hazard.
If an issue is not resolved through consultations, staff members should refer to Appendix 1: Resolving a WHS Issue to progress the issue through the resolution pathway.
6. Consultative Forums and Representation
6.1 Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs)
6.1.1 Area of Consultation
HSRs represent the work health, safety and wellbeing of defined workgroups on campus and are elected by their relevant workgroup. Relevant Nominated Supervisors and managers, including Human Resources WHS staff, should consult HSRs about WHS hazards and risks, and treatments (controls) that specifically impact upon their workgroup.
Staff members can escalate issues to their HSR whenever they would like a WHS issue addressed that impacts upon their workgroup. This would normally occur where the staff member believes the Nominated Supervisor or manager may not have adequately addressed the WHS risk.
HSRs also normally attend WHS Committee meetings and are asked to review WHS Management System (WHSMS) policies and procedures, from the perspective of the workgroup which they represent.
- HSRs Consultation Responsibilities
HSRs escalate WHS issues, which may be raised by a staff member within their workgroup, to a relevant management representative for their review.
6.2 Campus WHS Committees
- Area of Consultation
Campus WHS Committees are a forum for Management and Staff and student communication and consultation. These committees consider the effectiveness of the WHSMS on their campus, identify WHS risks and address WHS issues brought to the committee on behalf of either management, staff members or students.
Staff and students can escalate issues to WHS Committee Members where there is concern about WHS issues that affect their campus community (HSRs should be contacted about workgroup WHS issues).
Campus WHS Committees normally meet quarterly and the minutes of meetings are circulated on local noticeboards and made available on the WHS SharePoint site, to inform all staff and students on matters discussed, actioned or resolved by the Committee.
- Members Consultation Responsibilities
The Management Representatives, on each campus WHS Committee, should either resolve, take account of, or escalate concerns to a relevant Executive Member for review. Staff representatives of campus WHS Committees, actively participate in tabling WHS concerns of staff and advising relevant staff of the outcomes from the Committee meeting and or other actions. More information is provided in the WHS Committee Procedure.
6.3 ACU Staff Consultative Committee (ACUSCC)
- Area of Consultation
The ACUSCC is a peak consultation forum that meets on a bi-monthly basis to facilitate formal consultation on workplaces issues including WHS. The Committee is comprised of management representatives, professional and academic staff, and union representatives. Consultation occurs on matters related to the WHSMS, including new or revised policy, procedures, guidelines and programs, prior to their approval. The Committee receives and considers bi-annual reports on the effectiveness of the WHSMS and new initiatives and programs.
- Members Consultation Responsibilities
Members of ACUSCC provide feedback about any changes to the University’s WHSMS, including policies, procedures, guidelines and the management of WHS risk.
6.4 Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)
6.4.1 Area of Consultation
The Institutional Biosafety Committee meets at least four times a year and manages risk associated with research and teaching activities involving biohazards, medical procedures and radioactive materials. The Committee is comprised of representatives from management, relevant Schools, relevant Research Institutes, and subject matter experts. As part of its role the Committee provides oversight to ensure processes and controls are in place to meet government legislation and other compliance requirements, including funding body requirements. It also provides oversight for the monitoring of laboratory practices, facilities and safety. In performing its duties, the committee oversights training, communicates and provides advice to staff, students and visitors to inform proper practice and the use of materials.
6.4.2 Members Consultation Responsibilities
In undertaking their duties in reviewing, commenting, initiating treatments (controls) on teaching and research applications, involving the use of biological, medical materials or radiative materials; Members need to be appropriately informed and consult with relevant subject matter experts in their decision making.
6.5 ACU Work Health and Safety Advisory Committee (WHSAC)
6.5.1 Consultation Focus
The WHS Advisory Committee is a management forum, comprised of members of the Senior Executive and Executive, managers and subject matter experts; which ensures that the WHSMS is aligned with University processes and achieves its WHS goals and objectives. The Committee also sets WHS direction, objectives and continuous improvement targets which pertain to the work health, safety and wellbeing of staff, students, visitors, volunteers, contractors and other stakeholders.
The WHS Advisory Committee ensures that campus WHS Committees, Health and Safety Representatives, the Institutional Biosafety Committee and other consultative forums support the University to engage staff in two-way consultations about the WHSMS and improvements.
6.5.2 Members Consultation Responsibilities
The committee members facilitate a cooperative and collaborative approach to monitoring, reviewing and treating WHS risks to support the University to continuously improve its WHSMS. In addition members promote WHS awareness, initiatives and consultation throughout the University. The committee supports and engages with the Chairs of the campus WHS Committees, reviewing their feedback and issues that have been escalated to the ACU WHS Advisory Committee.
7 Appendix 1: Resolving a WHS Issue
Staff, students and others should reference this resolution pathway to progress issues which they report for resolution:
In the event of a life-threatening situation, call Triple Zero (000) and also report the situation to the National Security Centre on 1300 729 452 or 8888 (from internal ACU phone).
- WHS Communication and Consultation Procedure 23042018.pdf (Policy, PDF File, 441.3 KB)
|Policy applies to||
|Approval Authority||Vice-Chancellor And President|
|Governing Authority||Chief Operating Officer|
|Responsible Officer||Director, Human Resources|
|Date of Last Revision||Not Applicable|
|Date of Policy Review *||01/01/2021|
* Unless otherwise indicated, this policy will still apply beyond the review date.
Page last updated: 2019-08-21
Short url: https://policies.acu.edu.au/1378681