Frequently Asked Questions
Our frequently asked questions contain answers to commonly raised queries around health and safety at Curtin. For further assistance, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Q. What is Asbestos?
A. Asbestos cement products such as building materials (‘fibro’), fences, switchboards, roof, sheeting, sprayed on insulation, vinyl floor sheeting, vinyl floor tiles, compressed sheeting lining, laboratory tabletops, woven asbestos products such as linings to furnaces, heater banks (air-conditioning ducts), roofing felts, suspended ceiling tiles and industrial gaskets
Q. What products may contain asbestos?
A. Asbestos cement products such as building materials (‘fibro’), fences, switchboards, roof sheeting, sprayed on insulation, vinyl floor sheeting, vinyl floor tiles, compressed sheeting lining laboratory tabletops, woven asbestos products such as linings to furnaces, heater banks (air-conditioning ducts), roofing felts, suspended ceiling tiles and industrial gaskets.
Q. What are the risks?
A. Asbestos only poses a risk to health when asbestos fibres are breathed in. The presence of asbestos in building materials generally does not pose a health risk unless the material is broken, deteriorating or disturbed in such a way that airborne asbestos fibres are released. There is the potential for this to occur when asbestos-containing materials are broken or disturbed.
Q. What should I do if I encounter suspected Asbestos Containing Materials? (ACM)
A. Do not disturb the area or the material. Stop work and vacate the area (Isolate the area if safe to do so). Anyone who identifies or suspects they have identified an unmarked product containing asbestos should IMMEDIATEY report it to: Facilities Management: 9266 2020 and Health and Safety 9266 4900
Q. What is the Asbestos Management Plan? (AMP)
A. The AMP sets out the University’s strategy for minimising the risk of any person being exposed to asbestos on a Curtin University owned site. Refer to the Asbestos Management Plan.
Q. How do I know if the SDS is compliant?
A. All Safety Data sheets for hazardous and non-hazardous chemicals need to be Australian compliant before they can be uploaded into ChemAlert. Refer to the Chemical Management Plan under the heading Safety Data Sheets for details on what features and information an SDS must have in order to be compliant in Australia.
Q. What is the process for ordering chemicals?
A. Before ordering chemicals for your area please review the Chemical Management Plan under the heading Purchase for Curtin’s requirements. The Plan refers to the Chemical Pre-purchase Checklist which is provided to inhibit the unauthorised purchase or acquisition of chemicals, this checklist in located at the Health and Safety Information and Documents webpage.You will also be prompted to request a current compliant SDS from the manufacturer if not already obtained.
Q. How is chemical waste disposed of and who pays for it?
A. Curtin University Health and Safety organises the campus-wide collection and disposal of unwanted chemicals. Further details are available in the Chemical Waste Disposal webpage.
Q. What is the process for ordering gases?
A. Chemical Management Plan under the heading Purchase for the relevant procedure. The Plan refers to the Gas Pre-purchase Checklist which is provided to ensure that the gases are to be handled appropriately for their use, that emergency procedures and equipment are in place to manage any incident associated with the gas and segregation and compliant storage is available. This checklist is located at the Health and Safety Information and Documents webpage. You will also be prompted to request a current compliant SDS from the manufacturer if not already obtained.
A. Please refer to the Reproductive Hazards and Work Guidelines.
Q. What should I do if a laboratory staff member informs me that they are pregnant?
A. Please refer to the Reproductive Hazards and Work Guidelines.
Q. What is a Health and Safety Representative (HSR)?
A. Health and Safety representatives are elected by their co-workers to represent them in safety and health matters. Under the Work Health and Safety Act (The Act), they have specific functions to carry out at the workplace, such as inspections and reporting of hazards.
Q. What do HSRs do?
A. HSRs have many functions under The Act. A Health Representative at the University has a responsibility to:
- Consult, co-operate and communicate with employers and workers on safety and health matters. Provide information and advice on safety and health issues to co-workers and management;
- Report all hazards to the supervisor of the area;
- Keep informed about and review all incident/hazard reports and injuries that occur in the area(s) that person represents;
- In consultation with supervisors, investigate any reported incident or hazard;
- Inspect the workplace for hazards at times as agreed with the employer;
- Keep informed about current safety and health issues, policies and procedures in the organisation and safety and health matters in general;
- Promote safe working procedures and safety and health to co-workers;
- Participate in, and contribute to, safety and health training programs and initiatives;
- Attend relevant and approved training courses and refresher courses on safety and health.
Q. Who can be a HSR?
A. The Work Health and Safety Act states that to be eligible to be an HSR you must be a relevant worker. A relevant worker is anyone who works at the workplace for which they are elected to represent. Each faculty or area at Curtin define their work areas differently, please contact your relevant H&S committee or H&S Advisor for more information.
Q. How does the University manage HSR vacancies?
A.Vacancies generally occur when the Health and Safety Representative (HSR) resigns, they leave the University or the election period ends. Occasionally it is identified that another HSR position is required, perhaps due to a change in the work environment. When an HSR resigns, they need to complete the HSR Resignation Form and email it to email@example.com for processing. When a vacancy occurs, the work area must seek nominees for the position.
To begin this process, the manager of the work area must contact the Health and Safety Department and confirm the vacancy. The Health and Safety advisor will email the manager the information and documentation required, to ensure that the nomination process is valid and complies with legislative requirements. An election can occur when there are more nominees than there are vacant positions. Should an election be required, the Health and Safety advisor will assist you in this process, again to ensure compliance with legislative requirements.
Q. I am the manager of an HSR, what are my responsibilities?
A. Employers’ duties outlined in the WHS Act and Regulations include:
- Providing necessary information which is relevant to hazards or potential hazards in the workplace to assist Health and Safety Representatives.
- Allowing a Health and Safety Representative to be present at an interview/meeting with a worker on a matter of WHS, if the worker requests this.
- Consulting with a Health and Safety Representative on any proposed changes which may be reasonably expected to affect the safety or health of workers before implementation.
- Giving Health and Safety Representatives paid time off their normal duties perform HSR functions.
- Giving Health and Safety Representatives paid time off to training as per the current WA Health and Safety legislation.
- Notifying Health and Safety Representatives immediately after an accident or a dangerous occurrence.
Q. Do I have to attend training?
A. It is essential to attend an accredited introductory course designed for HSRs to be a fully qualified HSR. Attending this course makes the HSR fully aware of their legislative responsibilities. The HSR is to complete the course within the first 3 months after requesting. HSR’s who have attended a previous 5-day training course do not need to attend another 5-Day training course. However, they are entitled to complete up to one day of refresher training each year. This training is still under development and will be released soon. HSR Guideline
Q. I am an adjunct / volunteer can I become a HSR?
A. Yes, you can nominate to be appointed as an HSR, but you will not be eligible for the allowance. Unlike other workplaces the University provides an allowance to its HSR’s who are covered by the relevant Enterprise Agreement.
Q. I can no longer perform my duties, what should I do?
A. Its important that you discuss your concerns with your manager as there are clear functions that a HSR needs to fulfill. If this is not an option for you reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 9266 4900 to discuss.
Q. Does my manager need to sign my nomination form?
A. No this is not necessary. Managers are notified via email when you are confirmed and they are included in your HSR induction with health and safety.
Q. Can I nominate myself as the HSR?
A. Yes, you can. To do this, you are required to fill and sign the form as both the nominator and the nominee.
Q. I am a current HSR and want to renominate, do we have to call for nominations?
A. Yes, a call for nominations is required and should be open to all workers for the work group.
Q. I am seconding to another area at Curtin, can my HSR role by transferred?
A. Under the WHS Act 2020 a person ceases to hold office as a HSR if they no longer work for the work group. You would need to resign form your current HSR role and if a vacancy is available in your new work group you can nominate to represent that group.
Q. We only have 1 full time worker do we have to send a call for nominations?
A. All workers can nominate (for example part-time, casual and fixed term contract), a definition for worker is contained within the HSR Guideline.
Q. We want to review the total number of HSR’s, what do we need to do?
A. Email your enquiry to email@example.com
Q. Does Health and Safety supply PPE to different areas across the University?
A. No, Health and Safety does not supply PPE. It is the responsibility of the Manager of the area to provide staff with the suitable PPE required for them to perform their tasks safely.
Q. What’s Curtin’s policy on prescription safety glasses?
A. There is no specific policy on prescription safety glasses. In the case where a staff member requires safety glasses and they normally wear prescription glasses, an over-goggles could be utilised if this is suitable for the task. However, if a prescription safety glasses is required, it is up to the Area to decide whether they would pay the gap expense.
Q. Whose responsibility is it to decide on the PPE for an area and what should I do if I need a different type of PPE?
A. Decisions on the types of PPE available within each area is the responsibility of the Manager/supervisor in consultation with the Health and Safety Representative for the area and those undertaking the work. If you have any questions in relation to the types and availability of PPE in your area, please speak with your Manager/supervisor.
Q. What is pressure equipment?
A. Pressure equipment is a pressure vessel or pressure piping to which AS/NZS 1200 applies and having a hazard level of A, B, C or D according to AS4343. Examples include but are not limited to air receivers, air compressors, autoclaves, boilers, pressurised storage tanks, fired heaters and heritage boilers.
Q. What is a pressure vessel?
A. A pressure vessel is pressure equipment that is subject to internal or external pressure and includes interconnected parts and components, valves, gauges and other fittings up to the first point of connection to connecting piping, fired heaters and gas cylinders, but does not include any boiler or pressure piping.
Q. What is a hazard level A, B, C, D or E and what does it mean?
A. All pressure vessels are assessed according to AS4343 and assigned a hazard level based on fluid contents, design parameters and the working environment. These hazard levels indicate the potential for the vessel to cause harm to persons, property and the environment.
Q. What is a Pressure Vessel Register and who maintains this for Curtin University?
A. The Pressure Vessel Register is a document that identifies and describes each pressure vessel, inclusive of identification and model numbers. The Curtin University Pressure Vessel Register requires that the owner inputs key information so that the hazard level of the vessel is accurately assessed. Additionally the register identifies whether the vessel requires design and/or plant registration with Worksafe WA. The final sections of the register require information in relation to ongoing inspection and maintenance of the item.
Q. What is a Pressure Equipment Information File?
A. A pressure Equipment Information File is required to be maintained by the owner or user for each item of pressure equipment and is specifically required for boilers and pressure vessels hazard levels A, B & C and pressure piping and pressure relief safety devices hazard levels A & B. This file is a central repository for all documents relating to the item such as registration and inspection certificates and maintenance and inspection records. This file may be kept in hard copy, electronic or a mixture of both.
Q. Do serially produced pressure vessel designs need to be registered with Worksafe WA if they are being used exactly as designed?
A. Serially produced pressure vessels are covered by AS2971, and their design needs to comply with the definition, scope and other requirements of this standard. Serially produced pressure vessels that strictly comply with AS2971 are not required to be registered with Worksafe WA, however it is essential for these vessels to be operated, maintained and inspected in a safe manner and in accordance with AS 3788.
Q. Do pressure systems containing a number of vessels, gauges, relief valves and/or piping need to be registered with Worksafe WA and if so how is the system registered?
A. According to regulation 4.2 of OS&H regulations 1996 of WA, design of pressure equipment hazard category A, B, C or D as per AS4343-2005 shall be registered with WorkSafe WA or with another similar regulatory authority in Australia. The responsibility for registration of design rests with the manufacturer, importer or supplier of pressure equipment. Completed Form 100 and documents listed in regulation 4.3 should be submitted to WorkSafe along with an application fee of $95.50 for registration of design. The design must be verified by an independent Engineer and shall fully comply with the requirements given in relevant standards listed in Schedule 4.3 of the regulations. I.e. AS1210, AS1228 etc.Regulation 4.14 states that the pressure vessels hazard category A, B or C and boilers hazard category A, B or C require individual registration with WorkSafe or another regulatory authority. It is the responsibility of the employer, the main contractor, a self-employed person, a person having control of the workplace or the person having the control of access to the workplace to register the pressure vessel or the boiler with WorkSafe.Completed Form 101 along with a signed statement from a Competent Person (stating that the pressure vessel or the boiler has been inspected and it is safe to use) shall be submitted to WorkSafe for registration of individual item of plant.Form 100, Form 101 and the regulations are available in the internet and access is via: www.commerce.wa.gov.au
Q. Who are design verifiers for pressure vessels?
A. A design verifier is person who has satisfactory knowledge, training and experience in design or verification of design of the particular or equivalent pressure equipment. They preferably have a certificate as a design verifier from IEAust, IPENZ or equivalent.(Refer Table V1 – AS/NZS3788:2006 Pressure equipment – In-service inspection for more information.)
Q. What are the responsibilities of owners/users/responsible persons in relation to pressure vessels?
A. It is the responsibility of the owner/user/responsible person to ensure that control is taken to encompass the operational lifecycle, i.e. operation, inspection and testing, repair and alteration, maintenance, re-rating, mothballing or preservation, decommissioning and abandonment in accordance with AS/NZS 3788:2006.
Q. How often should pressure vessels be inspected?
A. Refer AS/NZS 3788: 2006 Table 4.1 and relevant appendices for specific guidance on inspection requirements.
Q. Are there any other specific requirements in relation to the inspection and maintenance of pressure vessels?
A. Yes, refer AS/NZS 3788: 2006 Pressure equipment – In-service inspection.
- 4.4.2 – Periodic inspection of pressure equipment
- 4.4.3 – First in-service inspection
- 4.4.4 – Intervals for periodic inspections & table 4.1
- Section 5 – Assessment of pressure vessels
- Section 6 – Repairs, alterations and re-rating
- Section 7 – Investigation of deterioration and failures
- Appendix L – Preservation and inspection of idle pressure equipment
Q. I have equipment or instrumentation that operates via a pump or similar system that creates a vacuum, e.g.electron microscope, atom probe etc. Are these required to be registered?
A. All pumps or vacuum creating systems should be designed to AS1210 or other relevant pressure piping standards so these are not required to be registered under the Regulations. Hazard levels of instrumentation as described above should be assessed against the Pressure Vessel Register to determine their hazard level and in most instances this will indicate that the item is hazard level E, so registration is not required as the rating is based on the criteria identified in Q3. Where the outcome of this assessment results in hazard level A-D the relevant registrations are required.
For all information and FAQs relating to psychosocial hazards, refer to the Psychosocial Risk Management page.
Q. What Health and Safety forms need to be completed prior to commencing research?
A. The Research Initiation Guide (RIG) from the Office of Research & Development and any of the following HS forms that apply to the research being undertaken.
- CHARM Risk Assessment
- Chemical Pre-purchase Checklist
- Gas Pre-purchase Checklist
- Materials Pre-purchase Checklist
- Chemical Risk Assessment
- Plant and Equipment Risk Assessment.
Q. Are there any additional forms from any other areas that will need to be completed?
A. If the research involves any fieldwork, then the Fieldwork Online Risk Assessment tool will need to be completed. These are available from the Staff Portal and Student OASIS.
Q. Who needs to complete the research forms listed in the previous questions?
A. It is necessary that any staff members, Higher Degree by Research, Masters or Honours students who will be conducting research complete the aforementioned forms prior to commence their research and forward the forms to the relevant area for verification.
For assistance using the Risk Assessment module, a training video and user guides are available on our website.
Q. What is a risk assessment and where do I find one?
A. Risk assessment is the process where you:
- Identify hazards
- Analyse or evaluate the risk associated with that hazard
- Determine appropriate ways to eliminate or control the hazard.
In practical terms, a risk assessment is a thorough look at your activity/event to identify those things, situations, processes, etc. that may cause harm, particularly to people. After identification is made, you evaluate how likely and severe the risks are and then decide what measures should be in place to effectively prevent or control the harm from happening. To access the CHARM Risk Assessment system please login via the Staff Portal or Student OASIS.
Q. When should a risk assessment be completed?
A. A risk assessment is required to be completed prior to each new activity or process and approved by your Manager/Supervisor. If you would like assistance with writing your risk assessment, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Q. Can I use the same risk assessment used previously for the same events?
A. Yes, as long as it is for the same event. However you must review the risk assessment for any changes (i.e. dates, times, other identified risks), update it and have it signed off again by the responsible person.
Q. Who owns the risk associated with any activity?
A. The risk associated with any activity remains with the person or group who is arranging the activity.
Q. On the risk assessment form, what is the difference between the initial risk rating and the residual risk assessment?
A. The initial risk rating is the risk ranking on the hazard where no controls are in place, the residual risk ranking is the risk ranking once all controls are in place. The residual risk should be a lower overall risk than the initial risk assessment, otherwise the activity should be reviewed or modified.
Q. I need to use a contractor. Is there anything Curtin University require me to do prior to work commencing?
A. Maintenance, service or repair work must not be arranged by a Faculty without prior consultation with Properties Operations Department.
Contractors, Sub-Contractors, Consultants and Suppliers must be prequalified prior to commencing any works on a Curtin University Campus. Where a faculty engages a person from a labour hire company, the labour hire company is required to be prequalified. Assistance with identifying approved labour hire companies can be verified by the Health and Safety department. Where a Faculty engages a person to work on behalf of the University, the Health and Safety Department shall be consulted in regards to registration, prequalification and inductions.
Q. What is a Safety Management Plan?
A. Safety Management Plans demonstrate commitment of the faculty or area management to the safety and health of staff, students, contractors and visitors.
Q. What is the purpose of a Safety Management Plan?
A. The purpose of a Safety Management Plan is to:
- assist a faculty or area to meet its legal obligations under safety and health legislation
- provide information on safety and health expectations to staff, students and contractors when working in the faculty or area.
Q. Why can’t the University have just one plan that everyone works within?
A. Faculty/area specific Safety Management Plans are required as:
- every area operates differently and has a diverse range of hazards to be controlled
- separate plans enable faculties or areas to easily identify where there may be gaps in their systems to allow correction of these deficits
- the health and safety standards that we are accredited against require each “functional area” to have a separate Safety Management Plan
Q. What is a “functional area?”
A. There is no specific definition of a functional area within the health and safety standards. At Curtin this would be determined by the tasks undertaken within the faculty or area. Within the University this is generally considered to be a faculty or non-faculty area.
Q. Who is responsible for writing and maintaining them?
A. Safety Management Plans should be constructed by representatives from the functional area, this includes management, safety and health representatives and other relevant staff. Opportunity should be provided to staff in the area to provide feedback on the plan prior to its endorsement and as on an ongoing basis. This ensures that all relevant information for the functional area is captured within the plan.
Q. What do Safety Management Plans cover?
A. Safety management Plans should cover all aspects of the Curtin Safety Management Standards. These are based upon the relevant state, national and international health and safety standards for health and safety accreditations that the University holds. Currently this is ISO 45001.
Q. Is there a safety management plan template available to save time?
A. Yes a template Safety Management Plan is available on the Health and Safety website, and should be used by all smaller non-faculty areas. Health and Safety are also working with individual larger non-faculty and faculty areas to develop specific safety management plans separate to the template.
Q. How do I input information into the template?
A. The template contains free write boxes under each requirement. These boxes contain examples written in grey as a guide to the typical evidence that could be included for each requirement. When constructing your Safety Management Plan, delete these examples and provide links to example documents for your functional area.
Q. How many examples of each type of document need to be included as examples in the plan?
A. Usually a maximum of 2 or 3 examples of each document type is enough.
Q. I don’t want to link to some area specific documents because they are “commercial in confidence” – do I have to include them?
A. Areas can be selective about the numbers of examples and types of evidence provided in their Safety Management Plans. All external assessors who will access your Safety Management Plan sign a confidentiality agreement with Curtin University prior to coming onto site so are unable to share any information provided to them during the assessment process. Your evidence boxes need to contain enough examples to demonstrate to the assessor how well your systems function.
Q. How often do Safety Management Plans need to be reviewed?
A. Safety management Plans should be reviewed in line with the Curtin Policy Development Procedure.
Q. Is the Safety management Plan a stand-alone document?
A. “No” – Your Safety Management Plan should be included as part of or referenced within your key planning documents for the faculty/area.
Q. Once our Safety Management Plan is complete what do we do with it?
A. The Safety Management Plan should be made available to all staff and then stored within your document control system. Where faculties/area have business relationships outside the University, the plan may be requested by those companies as a demonstration of safety and health compliance. It also provides a level of confidence for entering into a business relationship with your faculty/area.
Q. Are there standard health and safety objectives and targets for the University or do areas need to create their own?
A. The University health and safety key result areas are the health and safety objectives and targets. A separate health and safety objectives and targets template is available on the HS Policies and Procedures webpage. Objectives and targets are reviewed annually.
Q: Why has the University gone smoke free?
A: As a leading health research organisation, the University is committed to aligning its Safety and Health policy and practises with our current health research knowledge and objectives. It is known that there is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke, and even low levels of exposure to second-hand smoke put non smokers at risk.
Q: Are there any designated smoking areas on campus?
A: No- You are not able to smoke anywhere on Western Australian Curtin campuses including buildings and outdoor areas. If you need to smoke you will need to leave the campus
Q: What should I do if I see someone smoking on campus?
A: All Staff, students and visitors are encouraged to remind others that Curtin is now a smoke-free campus. If you experience an aggressive response, the incident should be reported to the Safer Community Team on 9266 4444
Q: What else can we do to stop staff from breaching this policy?
A: Managers and supervisors play an important part in managing compliance with Curtin policies (or in this case by-laws). Executive Managers are expecting all line managers and supervisors will support the Smoke Free initiative and will manage any staff member who breach the by-laws in their areas of responsibility. The Smoke Free by-law also requires the support of all staff. Staff that observe smokers are encouraged to approach them and politely remind them of the by-law
Q. Are e-cigarettes permitted on campus?
A. Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and other personal vapour devices are not permitted to be used on campus.
Q. What safety documentation is required when working alone on in isolation?
A. A CHARM risk assessment for working alone or in isolation is required to be completed prior to commencing work in this capacity and approved by the relevant manager/supervisor. There are examples within the CHARM risk assessment module that can be cloned and changed to meet your needs. For assistance to complete this risk assessment please speak with Health and Safety.