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Procedure: Work health and safety hazard management


This procedure describes how Australian National University (ANU) manages Work Health Safety hazards for the health, safety, rehabilitation and claims (WHS) management systems. WHS hazard management is a requirement of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth) (WHS Act), Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 (Cth) (WHS Regulations) and the Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (Cth) (SRC). This document is linked to the University’s Work Health and Safety policy and is one of the WHS Management System procedures.


Consequence is the outcome of an event affecting the objectives.

Duty of care is the requirement of the person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU), so far as reasonably practicable, to ensure that the health and safety of any person at the PCBU is not put at risk. This includes the provision of: safe systems of work; safe amenities, facilities, structures and work environments; training; supervision and health monitoring [WHS Act, section 19].

Hazards are defined as “a source or a situation with a potential for harm in terms of human injury or ill-health, damage to property, damage to environment, or a combination of these”, according to the Australian Standards/New Zealand Standards (AS/NZS) 4801:2001.

Likelihood is the chance of something happening.

Local area is the relevant College/Research School/Service Division.

Risk in relation to any potential injury or harm, is the likelihood and consequence of injury or harm occurring [AS/NZS 4801:2001].

Worker is anyone who carries out work for the University. A worker includes staff, volunteers, contractors and students gaining work experience at the University.



  1. This procedure applies to all activities conducted by or on behalf of the University with the potential to impact on work health and safety.
  2. This procedure provides instruction for managing WHS hazards to meet the requirements of the WHS Act. The key steps in this procedure for complying with WHS hazard management are how to:
  • identify WHS hazards;
  • report WHS hazards;
  • assess WHS hazards;
  • control WHS hazards;
  • monitor WHS hazard controls; and
  • review the effectiveness of WHS controls.


  1. All WHS hazards are recorded and reported at the University to comply with the Duty of Care requirements in the WHS Act.
  2. The WHS hazard identification and assessment process (WHS hazard assessment) at the University can occur as a structured planned process or ad-hoc from observation, review of work processes or as a result of an incident/event.
  3. Typical examples of when the WHS hazard assessment occurs at the University are when:
  • starting new activities;
  • any time there is a change to the work practice, procedures or work environment;
  • purchasing new or used equipment or using new substances;
  • planning to improve productivity or reduce costs;
  • new information about workplace hazards becomes available such as changes at the workplace occur that may impact on the effectiveness of control measures;
  • responding to workplace incidents (injuries or near misses) or responding to concerns raised by workers, health and safety representatives or others at the workplace; and
  • designing and planning products, processes or places used for work.

Planning for a WHS hazard assessment process

  1. Structured WHS hazard assessments are facilitated by a person with competency in conducting hazard assessments. However, this is not necessary if it involves or is reviewed by a member of the Work Environment Group (WEG) or local area Safety Officer.
  2. When planning to conduct a WHS hazard assessment, the facilitator invites a cross section of skills and experience, including those who work in the area or on the activity and, where possible, subject matter experts.
  3. To improve the productivity of the group contributing to the WHS hazard assessment process, the facilitator prepares the following contextual information when possible:
  • identify the scope of the assessment (e.g. boundaries of work practice or areas of work);
  • identify the stakeholders;
  • identify any legal or other requirements;
  • visit the area/ activity;
  • have an understanding of the issues from inspections, audits, historical injuries, incidents and relevant hazard assessment reports (such as hazards reported in the University reporting systems such as MAXIMO and the Workplace safety incident and hazard reporting tool);
  • have access to technical information such as manuals or supplier information; and
  • have access to the existing policies, processes, standards, registers and guidelines.

Identifying WHS hazards

  1. This is the most important step in the WHS hazard assessment process. The facilitator encourages the contributors to list as many relative hazards as possible. A prompt page is included in the WHS hazard register to assist this. Common hazards are:
  • electrical;
  • confined spaces, excavation, penetrations into hidden surfaces, isolation and hot works;
  • working at heights / falls;
  • traffic, cyclist and pedestrian interactions;
  • hazardous materials including mists, dusts, fumes and molten material;
  • environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity, noise, light, vibration;
  • psychological;
  • hazardous materials (such as asbestos);
  • ergonomic issues such as slips, trips, falls and manual handling;
  • plant, equipment and hazardous materials;
  • radiation;
  • potential emergency situations;
  • biological hazards; and
  • being in a remote area or working alone.
  1. A variety of techniques and business improvement tools are used to aid this such as brainstorming the steps involved or key activities.

Recording WHS hazards

  1. WHS hazards identified from observations are entered online via Figtree.
  2. Every local area ensures all WHS hazards are captured on a WHS hazard register. The local area chooses to populate either one master WHS register or separate registers for different types of WHS hazards such as plant and equipment, remote area works etc.
  3. The local areas provide WEG with all WHS hazard registers to consolidate into a master register for the entire University WHS hazard register.

Assessing inherent WHS hazard level

  1. The facilitator leads the contributors to score the inherent WHS hazards using the WHS hazard “Likelihood”, “Consequences” and “WHS hazard rating matrix” Tables 1, 2 and 3 below:

Table 1 Likelihood



Probability / frequency of event occurring

Almost certain

The hazard is expected to occur in most circumstances at the University

A daily to weekly occurrence or happening >75%


The hazard could occur in most circumstances at the University

Between weekly to monthly occurrence or 50% - 75%


The hazard has occurred at some time at the University

Between monthly to yearly occurrences or 25% - 50%


The hazard could occur at some time

Occurs in up to a 10 yearly cycle, up to 25%


The hazard may only occur in exceptional circumstances

One in hundred year event, less than 1%

Table 2 Consequences


Injury, illness or disease

Plant equipment and materials



Fatality / fatalities or permanent disability. Unable to work

Destroyed or cannot be reused

Long term permanent effect to ecosystems. Significant intervention required to remediate


Lost time injury – injuries where one or more days is lost from work

Damage requiring repairs/rebuild and possible recertification prior to reuse, lost use for one or more days

Notification to environmental agency, ecosystem needs time to recover, intervention required to remediate


Medical treatment injury – can return to work at normal duties i.e. treated by a health professional (physiotherapist, doctor, etc.)

Damage requiring a repair/service by a trade/technician within the day

Contamination event that does not impact on ecosystem. Short impact does not need intervention


Injury needing first aid treatment can return to work within shift

Equipment able to be reset or gotten back into operation by the operator

Minor contained contamination ceasing when the short event is over, can remediate (e.g. spill kit)


Report only, no injury

Report only, no damage

Report only, no contamination

Table 3 WHS hazard rating matrix – Please find here.

Identifying current controls and legal requirements

  1. The facilitator leads the contributors to list the current controls and the legal requirements (if known) for each of the WHS hazards with an inherent hazard rating of medium (6) or above as per Table 3 on the WHS hazard register.

Assessing residual hazard level

  1. The facilitator leads the contributors to score the residual hazard rating taking into consideration the controls listed from the above using Tables 2 and 3.The facilitator makes a decision based on the average score decided by the group or makes a decision should a tie arise.
  2. The facilitator determines if the residual WHS hazard score is acceptable and if additional controls are required.
  3. The facilitator leads the contributors to determine if the residual WHS rating is acceptable (score 12 or below) as per the WHS Hazard rating in Table 3.
  4. If the score is 13 or above, the facilitator leads them to identify additional controls that need to be put in place prior to seeking approval (see Table 5) and doing any work. The facilitator uses the hierarchy of controls (Table 4) to find at least three controls from the highest level starting with “elimination”.

Table 4 Hierarchy of controls





Complete removal of the hazard from the workplace

Removing a trip hazard.

Disposing of unwanted chemicals.

Removing hazardous plant or substances.

Repairing damaged equipment.

Increasing the use of email to reduce photocopying.

Ceasing a dangerous practice.

Ensuring new equipment meets ergonomic needs.


Change a work practice, substance or piece of equipment

A hazardous substance with a less hazardous substance.

Telephone handsets with headsets where there is frequent use of the telephone.

Smaller packages or containers to reduce the risk of manual handling injuries.


Changing work practice to physical separation of the sources of harm from the person by distance or barriers

Use of a fume cupboard to isolate and store chemicals.

Use of remote handling equipment for hazardous substances or procedures.


Modify the design of the workplace or plant and/or environmental conditions

Modification to plant.

Installation of appropriate guarding on machinery.

Use of a ventilation system to remove chemical fumes or dust.


Developing procedures and systems to control the interaction between people and hazards

Regular maintenance programs for plant and equipment;

Written work procedures for all hazardous tasks and equipment; and

A training, education and supervision program for staff/students/contractors/ visitors, which includes preventative maintenance and housekeeping procedures.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Implementing PPE to prevent physical contact between a person and a hazard

Handling of chemicals – gloves, safety glasses, and aprons.

Protecting eyes from flying particles.

Protecting feet – safety boots.

Approval of WHS hazards

  1. The completed WHS hazard register is approved based on the highest level of hazard as per Table 5. No work occurs until this approval is gained.

Table 5 WHS hazard approver – Please find here.

Prioritization of Controls

21. One purpose of the hazard assessment process is to determine priorities in hazard management control. To effectively control hazards the facilitator allocates and prioritises resources in accordance with the level of hazard rating.

22. If a WHS hazard is assessed to have a residual hazard rating of 13 or above, using Table 3 WHS hazard rating table, then these hazards take precedence for remedial action and are undertaken as reasonably practicable.

Consultation and communication of WHS hazards

  1. Communication and consultation of WHS hazards are demonstrated by:
  • involvement with the WHS hazard identification and assessment process;
  • documenting the names of the participants and the date of assessment;
  • placing version control on the WHS hazard register;
  • ensuring all persons working with the WHS hazards are informed of the controls (Safe operating procedures and training/inductions).

Change management

  1. When changes are proposed or identified for work practices that have an impact on the safety and wellbeing of workers, the existing WHS Hazard register is reviewed and updated, or a new WHS hazard is created in the existing Hazard Register. Potential changes include:
  • introducing new or different equipment;
  • using new/alternate substances;
  • planning to improve productivity or reduce costs;
  • designing and planning products, processes or places used for work; or
  • updating drawings.

Monitoring and review

  1. Monitoring and review of WHS hazard assessments occurs at the local area level and the University wide level as described below.

University wide monitoring and reviewing of WHS hazards

  1. WEG monitors and presents a report to the Senior Management Group on the effectiveness of the WHS hazard process at the site wide level of the University. This involves:
  • maintaining an overall register of all the WHS hazards at the University;
  • reviewing for opportunities to reduce the overall risk/hazard profile at the University;
  • annual reporting to the WHS University Committee on the implementation of the WHS process using the WHS hazard management traffic light report;
  • reviewing hazards and effectiveness of associated controls as a result of incident investigations, workplace inspections or audits;
  • reporting to management on the unacceptable levels of risks/hazard at the University; and
  • monitoring the effectiveness of controls identified in the WHS assessments.

Local area monitoring and review of WHS hazards

  1. The local areas monitor and report to the relevant WHS Committee (as per the WHS communication and consultation and WHS management review procedures) the implementation of the WHS management process at the local level using the WHS hazard management traffic light report.

Safe work procedures

  1. For all WHS hazards with a hazard score of 13 and above (high and above), safe work procedures (formerly SWMS) are created and maintained as per the WHS documentation procedure.
  2. The safe operating procedures contain references to:
  • training and competency requirements;
  • any relevant WHS responsibilities as per the WHS responsibilities procedure; and
  • any monitoring and inspecting requirement.

Training and competency

  1. Facilitators of WHS hazard assessment complete a risk management course provided by an approved provider to WEG with RAOBS recognition.


Legal and other requirements

Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth)

Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 (Cth)

Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (Cth)

AS/NZ 4801:2001 Occupational health and safety management systems

ISO 19011:2002 Guidelines for auditing management systems


Printable version (PDF)
Title Work health and safety hazard management
Document Type Procedure
Document Number ANUP_015812
Version 5
Purpose This procedure describes how the Australian National University (ANU) manages Work Health Safety hazards for the health, safety, rehabilitation and claims (WHS) management systems.
Audience Staff, Students
Category Administrative
Topic/ SubTopic Health, Safety & Environment - Occupational Health & Safety
Effective Date 1 Jul 2017
Review Date 1 Jul 2020
Responsible Officer: Director, Human Resources
Approved By: Chief Operating Officer
Contact Area Human Resources Division
Authority Work Health & Safety Act 2011
Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011
ANU Enterprise Agreement 2017 – 2021
Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988
Delegations 184-186, 456