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Health, Safety and Wellbeing (HSW) FAQs

Below you will find all frequently asked questions relating to HSW procedures.

(Back to all FAQs)

Asbestos Management

The purpose of this information sheet is to provide general information for staff concerned about potential or actual exposure to asbestos/asbestos containing material. The information should be read in conjunction with the Asbestos Management chapter of the HSW Handbook.

(Printable version)

  • What is asbestos?

    (in accordance with the definition provided by SafeWork Australia)

    Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral and can typically be found in rock, sediment or soil. It has strong fibres that are heat resistant and have good insulating properties. You can’t see asbestos fibres with the naked eye and because they are very light, they can be blown long distances by the wind. Because of its properties, which are described as being either ‘non-friable or ‘friable’, asbestos was seen as being very useful for building products.

      • Friable asbestos is a material containing asbestos that when dry, is in powder form or may be crushed or pulverised into powder form using your hand. This material poses a higher risk of exposing people to airborne asbestos fibres. Friable asbestos was commonly used in industrial applications rather than the home, although loose-fill asbestos has been found in homes, where it was sold as ceiling and wall insulation.
      • Non-friable or bonded asbestos products are solid and you can’t crumble them in your hand—the asbestos has been mixed with a bonding compound such as cement. If non-friable asbestos is damaged or degraded it may become friable and will then pose a higher risk of fibre release.
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  • How do I know if a material contains asbestos/asbestos containing material?

    Generally, it is not possible to determine whether a material contains asbestos simply by looking at it. The only way to be sure it contains asbestos is to get a sample analysed by a laboratory. Please contact Service Delivery who will be able to provide you with advice.

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  • What if you think there may be some asbestos/asbestos containing material in an area that is inaccessible?

    Building owners are not required to dismantle parts of the building or plant to locate asbestos. If there are plans to demolish or alter these areas, an assessment would be undertaken by Infrastructure Service Delivery/Projects to check for asbestos before starting work.

    Please contact Service Delivery if you have a concern.

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  • Why are we cautious around asbestos and asbestos containing material (ACM)?

    Asbestos has been linked to certain health problems amongst those exposed to high levels of air borne fibres.
    Breathing in asbestos fibres could cause asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.

    We know that in Australia, due to the known risks, a total ban on asbestos came into effect on 31 December 2003.
    It is therefore illegal to make it, use it or import it from another country.

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  • What asbestos related activities are seen as increasing the risk of exposure and what is in place to manage the risk?

    The activities which may be seen as increasing the risk of exposure to asbestos often relate to construction/capital works activities. (e.g. construction, alteration, fitting-out, demolition or dismantling of a structure which has been identified as containing asbestos or asbestos containing material [ACM]) or suspected of containing asbestos/ACM.

    To manage the risk, the University has in place specific requirements for:

    • any construction project where asbestos has been identified to ensure the elimination of risk to contractors and any other person in the vicinity;
    • all work involving the potential disturbance or removal of asbestos to be conducted under the overall management of Service Delivery Branch;
    • the labelling/signage of all identified asbestos; and
    • ensuring that only licensed contractors are engaged to remove asbestos in accordance with the Legislative requirements.
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  • What do I do if I have been exposed to confirmed asbestos fibres?

    (e.g. the presence of asbestos/asbestos containing material is known and identified on the asbestos register).

    Notify your supervisor as soon as possible and report the incident in the University’s incident reporting system. This will ensure that you are immediately provided with information, support and guidance. It will also ensure that appropriate action is taken to prevent the exposure of any other workers (or people in the vicinity) and the incident is promptly investigated.

    (Note: This is a notifiable incident under the Work Health and Safety legislation and will be managed in accordance with the Report a safety issue or incident HSW Handbook chapter. A permanent record will be created in the University’s Records Management Office so that should any asbestos related health issues occur they can be dealt with under Workers Compensation or other appropriate processes/Insurance.)

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  • What is the process if you think you have possibly disturbed asbestos/asbestos containing material?

    Cease work immediately and ensure that other people working in the area are notified of a possible risk (or notify the Supervisor to pass this information on to others). Contact Service Delivery (831 34008) as a priority. The University’s licensed asbestos service provider will be contacted to undertake an analysis and/or air monitoring as applicable. If confirmed, then corrective action will be taken to eliminate the risk of exposure. You will also be provided with support and guidance by your local and central HSW Team.

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  • Where do I obtain more information on asbestos/asbestos containing material?

    If you require further information, please contact a member of the local HSW Team.

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Biological Safety Management - Autoclaves

The purpose of these FAQs is to provide information and guidance to workers and supervisors when working with autoclaves. This information should be read in conjunction with the Biological Safety Management chapter of the HSW Handbook.

(Printable version)

  • What is an autoclave?

    Pressure steam sterilisers (autoclaves) are used in laboratories both for sterilisation of media and equipment required for the culture of microorganisms, and for sterilisation of discarded cultures and waste materials.  Pressure steam sterilisers operate at high pressures and temperatures, and appropriate measures must be taken for to ensure the safety of workers.

    Autoclaves utilise moist heat, in the form of saturated steam under pressure, to destroy microbial life.  Steam sterilisation is the most reliable sterilisation method for the majority of situations.

    The autoclave is used to sterilise:
    • reusable equipment after it has been disinfected and washed;
    • biological waste before disposal.
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  • What contributes to the effectiveness of an autoclave?

    The following elements all contribute to autoclave effectiveness.

    • Temperature: The temperature inside the autoclave must be at least 121°C.
    • Time: The time required for sterilisation varies, but it will never be less than 30 minutes. The time is measured from the point at which the temperature of the material to be sterilised reaches the required autoclaving temperature - the tighter the autoclave is packed, the longer it will take for the material in the centre of the load to reach the temperature required.
    • Contact: Saturated steam must contact all areas of the load.  Sterilisation will fail if:
      • air pockets or inadequate steam supply prevent steam saturation; or
      • the load exceeds the capacity of the autoclave so that steam cannot contact all areas of the load.

    Autoclaves must be used properly to effect successful steam sterilisation.

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  • What are the general guidelines for ensuring autoclave effectiveness?

    There are a number of general guidelines that should be followed when using autoclaves to ensure effective sterilisation.

    • Indicators: Indicators, such as autoclave tape, indicate with a visible colour change that they have been through the autoclave process.  At the end of the autoclave cycle, indicators should be checked to ensure they have changed colour.
    • Biological indicators: There are commercially available test kits that use bacterial spores to test the autoclave efficiency. Autoclaves should be tested using biological indicators at regular intervals in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, and results recorded.
    • Overfilling:
      • Steam and heat cannot easily penetrate a densely packed autoclave bag.  If an autoclave is overfilled the outer contents of the bag will be sterilised, but the innermost part will be unaffected.
      • An over packed autoclave chamber does not allow efficient steam distribution, and so sterilisation efficiencies will be reduced.
    • Monitoring: Autoclave temperature, pressure and cycle duration time should be monitored during each cycle. (Some autoclaves have charts that trend the temperatures and pressures inside the autoclave chamber throughout each cycle).
    • Maintenance: Autoclaves must be covered by a regular preventative maintenance program that is performed by a technician certified by the manufacturer.
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  • What do I need to know about autoclave bags?

    Most items to be autoclaved are packed into autoclave bags, which come in a variety of types and sizes.

    Paper autoclave bags

    • Paper autoclave bags are commonly used when autoclaving reusable equipment after it has been disinfected and washed.
    • Paper autoclave bags should be closed by folding down and taping the open end (as they are permeable to steam).

    Plastic autoclave bags

    • Plastic biohazard bags are commonly used when autoclaving biological waste before disposal.
    • Autoclave bags should be left partially open, to allow steam to penetrate the bag.
    • Where possible, water should be added to autoclave bags to facilitate saturated steam contact. However, water should not be added if by doing so there is a chance that biohazardous materials may splash out of the bag
    • Bags should be loosely packed and no more than ¾ full.
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  • What do I need to know when autoclaving without an autoclave bag?
    Some reusable equipment is autoclaved without autoclave bags, and in this instance the following guidelines should be followed.
    • Tubular equipment such as pipettes and equipment such as conical flasks should be plugged with a wad of cotton wool, so that the interior of the equipment remains sterile after autoclaving.
    • Small bottles and tubes should be loaded in open mesh baskets.
    • Lids or caps should be loosened.
    • Instruments such as forceps can be wrapped in aluminium foil.
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  • What safety considerations should I implement when using an autoclave?

    Autoclaves must be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Safety precautions that should be followed when using autoclaves include the following.

    • Wear personal protective equipment, including heat-resistant gloves, safety glasses and a laboratory coat when operating an autoclave.
    • If using a large autoclave consider using a trolley for loading & unloading items into the autoclave.
    • Be careful when opening the autoclave door.  Opening the autoclave door too quickly can result in glassware breakage and steam burns.  Check that the pressure is close to zero before opening the door.
    • Allow steam to escape from the autoclave before attempting to remove the contents of the autoclave.
    • Be careful of hot temperatures when handling autoclaved equipment and any liquids.
    • Never autoclave sealed containers - this could cause an explosion inside the autoclave.  Large bottles with narrow necks can simulate sealed containers if filled with too much liquid.
    • Never autoclave solvents, volatile or corrosive chemicals, or any radioactive materials.
    • If there is a spill inside an autoclave, allow the autoclave to cool before attempting to clean up the spill.
    • If glass breaks in the autoclave use tongs, forceps or other suitable tools to clear it away. Do not use bare or gloved hands to pick up broken glassware.
    • Do not put sharp or pointed contaminated objects into an autoclave bag, as this could cause a needle stick injury. Instead, place sharp or pointed objects in an appropriate rigid sharps disposal container.
    • Be careful when handling an autoclave bag full of infectious waste, in case sharp objects have been inadvertently placed in the bag.
    • Never lift an autoclave bag from the bottom: instead handle it from the top.
    • Ensure any equipment containing liquids is no more than ¾ full when placing into the autoclave. This will allow for heat expansion and decrease the likelihood of a pressure-induced breakage.
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  • What are the common pressures and times for autoclave?

    The time and pressure depend on the contents of the run so it is important not to mix items/media with greatly different temperature ranges in the same run.

    Temp.( 0C) Pressure(psi) Time (minutes) Exhaust Applications
    121 15 15 Slow Liquids/agar
    121 15 20 Slow Large volumes of liquid/agar
    121 15 20 Fast Solid waste (no liquids)
    109 5 45 Slow Heat sensitive media
    115 10 15 Slow Heat sensitive media
    118 12 10 Slow Heat sensitive media
    134 30 4 Fast Glass/equipment
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Biological Safety Management - Biological Hazard Management

The purpose of these FAQs is to provide information and guidance to workers and supervisors on specific information related to biological hazard management.  The FAQs should be read in conjunction with the Biological Safety Management chapter and Hazard Management chapter of the HSW Handbook.

(Printable version)

  • How do I identify and classify biological hazards?
    When identifying the hazards consider the whole task from setting up, conducting the activity, cleaning up and disposal.  Also consider the hazards associated with a failure in the process (e.g. a bottle breaks while transporting).
    • Refer to AS/NZS 2243.3 2010 Safety in Laboratories Part 3 Microbiological safety and containment for examples of microorganisms according to risk groups 2, 3 and 4 (note that the higher the level of risk the higher the required containment level).
    • In addition the Public Health Agency of Canada has produced a database of safety data sheet (SDS) for people working with infectious microorganisms.  These SDSs contain health hazard information such as infectious dose, viability (including decontamination), medical information, laboratory hazards, recommended precautions, handling information and spill procedures.  The database is located here.

    Please note: All blood, blood products, other body fluids and associated materials should be regarded as infectious and at all times handled as if they were infected with blood-borne pathogens.

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  • What factors need to be considered when assessing hazards associated with biological materials?

    A task-based risk assessment is preferred when using biological materials as it takes into account the process and the workplace, which is important when considering how a person is exposed.  The risk assessment must be documented and kept in a place where it can be retrieved when requested.

    Consider the following factors when assessing the risks:
    • frequency of contact with biological material;
    • all possible transmission routes;
    • factors contributing to exposure;
    • workplace layout and its contribution to risk;
    • decontamination and waste management practices and their contribution to risk;
    • the level of training required to perform the task safely;
    • suitability of equipment for tasks;
    • available control measures; and
    • contingency requirements.
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  • What control measures are relevant for biological hazards?

    Where a risk assessment has identified there is a risk to health arising from work with biological material, it is necessary for the area concerned to minimise the risk by controlling exposure.  Refer to the Hazard Management chapter of the HSW Handbook.

    See AS/NZS 2243.3 2010 Safety in Laboratories Part 3 Microbiological safety and containment for information on work practices for the Physical Containment requirements of the laboratory.

    Below are some brief examples of control measures that could be implemented.

    RISK CONTROL MEASURES (Biological examples)

    Hierarchy of control Examples of biological control measures
    Level 1 Elimination
    • Is there a safer process, which eliminates the need to use such hazardous biological material?
    Level 2 Substitution
    • Is there another biological material which is a safer alternative? e.g substitute non-screened with screened blood products.
    • Is there a safer alternative for fixing or preserving specimens?
      e.g. formalin substituted with Histochoice or Carosafe.
      Isolation/Engineering
    • Use a biological safety cabinet when there is a significant risk of aerosols being produced (see question 4 of this information sheet for general information on Laminar Flow and Biosafety Cabinets).
      • A laminar flow does not provide operator protection and should only be used for material in Risk Group (RG) 1.
      • A biosafety cabinet class 1 should be used for material in Risk Group (RG) 2.
      • A biosafety cabinet class 2 should be used for material in Risk Group (RG) 2 or 3.
      • A biosafety cabinet class 3 should be used for material in Risk Group (RG) 4.
    • Centrifuges withsealed rotors or safety cups for spinning unscreened materials, large volumes or high concentrations of infectious material.
    • Mechanical pipetting devices (see question 5 of this information sheet for more information on pipettes).
    • Autoclaves (see Information Sheet Autoclaves)
    • Immunisation (see Immunisation/Vaccination) refer to the Information sheet Vaccinations.
    Level 3 Administrative
    • Provision of information, training and instruction.
    • Safe Operating Procedures, work practices relating to the physical containment requirements of the lab such as not re-sheathing needles after use or using Standard Precautions when handling diagnostic samples or patients.
    • Emergency and waste management plans.
    • Laboratory and after hours rules.
    Level 4 Personal Protective Equipment
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  • What general information should I consider when working with laminar flow cabinets and biosafety cabinets and controlling biological hazards?

    Laminar flow cabinets (clean benches)

    These are better referred to as clean benches and are only for the handling of low risk microorganisms or for providing a clean environment for manipulating solutions.  Air that has passed through a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter is passed over the work area and blown at the operator.  Hence they do not offer any operator protection.

    Biosafety cabinets

    All of these cabinets provide operator protection as air from the room is drawn into them and then filtered through a HEPA filter before being discharged back into the room.
    Class I cabinets do not provide any sample protection as the room air passes from the room then over the sample before filtration.  Class II and Class III cabinets provide both operator and sample protection.  These cabinets provide a form of primary barrier that operates by limiting the spread of aerosols away from the source of infection.

    UV lamps

    The biosafety cabinet may be fitted with germicidal ultraviolet (UV) lamps in the work zone.  UV can be a useful adjunct to surface cleaning procedures, but should not be seen as a replacement for good cleaning technique.  Exposure to UV radiation may cause damage and sunburn.  Ensure appropriate controls are in place to avoid exposure.

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  • What general information should I consider when working with pipettes and controlling biological hazards?

    Preventing injuries:

    • Mechanical or electronic pipettors must be used for all pipetting tasks; never pipette by mouth.
    • Because pipette tips can pierce a biohazard bag, they should be treated as sharps and disposed of in a sharps container.

    Preventing aerosol production:

    The action of pipetting can form aerosols:
    • Pipette slowly, particularly when using pipettes for mixing, to avoid aspirating aerosol or liquid into the pipette body.
    • Where aerosol transmission is a risk, carry out pipetting operations in a biosafety cabinet.

    Preventing contamination:

    • Filtered tips or filter plugs may be required to avoid sample cross-contamination.
    • Avoid bringing the body of the pipette into contact with the vessel you're pipetting from.
    • Spray or wipe the body of the pipette over with disinfectant after use and store it upright.
    • If infectious liquids are aspirated into the pipettor, do not continue to use the unit. Disassemble the unit in a biosafety cabinet (wearing gloves) and decontaminate the components by soaking in disinfectant solution.
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  • What are Standard Precautions and how do they assist in controlling biological hazards?

    Standard Precautions’ are the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) adopted term to define appropriate work practices, based on modules of transmission of infectious agents. These precautions are based on the principle that all blood and body substances are potentially infectious. This principle is applied universally to all patients, regardless of their infectious status or perceived risk.

    They include:
    • hygienic practices, particularly washing and drying hands before and after patient contact;
    • use of protective barriers when necessary, which may include gloves, gowns, plastic aprons, masks, eye shields or goggles;
    • appropriate handling and disposal of sharps and other contaminated or clinical waste;
    • use of aseptic technique; and
    • use of environmental controls.
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  • Where can I go for further information about Biological Hazard Management?

    If you require further information, please contact your local HSW Team.

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Biological Safety Management - Vaccinations

The purpose of these FAQs is to provide information and guidance to workers and supervisors on vaccinations. This information should be read in conjunction with the Biological Safety Management chapter of the HSW Handbook.

(Printable version)

  • When are vaccinations required?

    The University of Adelaide requires assessment of University controlled activities where there is a risk of exposure to infectious diseases. Vaccinations may be identified as a control measure to mitigate the risk of illness.

    Heads of School/Branch are responsible for ensuring that assessment and implementation of controls occur in accordance with the Hazard Management and Biological Safety chapters of the HSW Handbook.

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  • Where do I obtain information about the vaccinations for the various occupational groups?

    The National Health and Medical Research Council approved vaccination guidelines are contained in The Australian Immunisation Handbook – 10th Edition.
    The handbook provides guidance on the vaccinations for various occupational groups.

    Role Immunisation  recommended
    First Aiders Hepatitis B
    Medical, Dental and Nursing staff and students, laboratory staff handling human blood and tissue Infections they may encounter and may include: flu, measles, mumps, rubella, varicella, TB and hepatitis B.
    Staff and students handling human blood and body tissue Hepatitis B
    Animal Handlers/Laboratory workers with animals Q Fever, hepatitis B, and tetanus depending on duties.
    Staff and students who handle soil Tetanus
    Staff and students who handle bats ABL using rabies vaccine and 2 yearly antibody titres.
    Travellers to developing countries Staff and students travelling overseas should seek medical advice at least 6-8 weeks prior to departure.
    Field work (within Australia) Tetanus
    Workshop staff and students Tetanus
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  • What are the funding arrangements for vaccinations (including overseas travel)?

    Where an occupational/study related vaccination is required, the School/Branch will provide staff/students with advice as to whether the vaccination will be funded by the School/Branch.  Where approved, reimbursement arrangements are managed by the relevant School/Branch.

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  • What are the arrangements for Influenza vaccinations?

    The arrangements vary across the University. Payment is not centrally covered by the University, however at the discretion of the Head of School/Branch, a School/Branch may organise and/or pay for vaccinations in certain circumstances.  Please discuss this with your Manager/Supervisor or Health and Safety Officer/Coordinator.
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  • Does the University Health Practice provide vaccinations?

    Yes, workers of the University of Adelaide can make online appointments for vaccinations.
    Simply go to Adelaide Unicare and proceed to make an appointment or phone 8313 5050.

    The consultation is bulk billed if a valid Medicare Card is presented.  The cost of the vaccination is not bulk billed.

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  • Can I refuse a vaccination if deemed required as part of my duties?

    All workers have the choice to refuse vaccination on medical or personal grounds.  However if workers are undertaking activities where vaccinations are required to reduce the level of risk from high to a lower level then Head of School approval will be required for that activity to continue.  The Head of School may choose not to allow the activity to proceed, or prevent unvaccinated workers from participating in the interest of the health or safety of staff/students.

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Biological Safety Management - Working with Animals

The purpose of these FAQs is to provide information and guidance to workers and supervisors when working with animals. The FAQs should be read in conjunction with the Biological Safety Management chapter of the HSW Handbook.

(Printable version)

  • What are the legislative requirements when working with animals?

    Animal work should comply with the Australian Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes; or the Veterinary Practice Act 2003 (SA) and Regulations 2017 (SA).

    All work on infected animals should be carried out under the physical containment conditions equivalent to the risk group of the microorganisms present (refer to AS/NZS 2243.3: 2010 Safety in Laboratories Part 3 Microbiological safety and containment).

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  • What hazards can I be exposed to when working with animals?
    The hazards associated with handling animals can be loosely placed in three major categories:
    1. Physical injuries occur from manual handling, kicks, bites and scratches.   Any injuries should be reported as soon as practicable to your supervisor.  Medical advice may be needed if an infected animal inflicted the injury.
    2. Zoonotic diseases are diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans.   Animal tissues as well as live animals can potentially transmit zoonotic diseases.
    3. Allergic reactions associated with breathing or coming into contact with animal dander or body fluids or other allergens. Refer to the Allergies Management information on the HSW Website.
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  • How can I prevent or lower the risks when working with animals?

    Physical injuries can be prevented by using appropriate animal handling techniques such as those taught by qualified vets, Laboratory Animal Services or other proficient or competent individuals.  When handling laboratory animals, gloves should be worn, adequate washing facilities should be provided and relevant immunisations is strongly recommended.

    Whilst Standard Precautions (see question 6) come from the health profession, they can also help to prevent Zoonotic diseases. The principles include:
    • hygienic practices, particularly washing and drying hands before and after animal contact;
    • use of protective barriers when necessary, which may include gloves, gowns, plastic aprons, masks, eye shields or goggles;
    • appropriate handling and disposal of sharps and other contaminated or clinical waste; and
    • appropriate reprocessing of reusable equipment and instruments.

    Allergic reactions can be controlled by reducing skin contact with animal products such as dander, serum and urine. Consider the use of gloves, lab coats, and/or approved particulate respirators with face shields.

    General
    These include not eating, drinking, or applying cosmetics or contact lenses around animals or animal care areas, wearing gloves when handling animals or their tissues, taking care not to accidentally rub the face with contaminated hands or gloves, and hand washing after each animal contact.

  • What other information should I know when working with animals?

    All post mortems on infected animals should be carried out under the physical containment conditions equivalent to the risk group of the microorganisms present. See AS/NZS 2242.3 2010 Safety in Laboratories Part 3 Microbiological safety and containment Section 6 for details).

    During dissections and post-mortem examinations, gloves, aprons (preferably disposable) and safety glasses or goggles should be worn.  It may be also necessary to consider respiratory protection.

    Penetration of organisms through the skin, especially from accidental self-inoculation and contact with ecto-parasites such as fleas (that live on the outside of a host) are a relatively common source of exposure.  Workers can protect themselves against accidental self-inoculation by, substituting manually operated pipettes for needles and syringes, allowing enough time to give injections properly, anaesthetising animals prior to inoculation with infectious agents, and using more than one person to inoculate animals.

    In the event that a person becomes ill with a fever or some other sign of infection, it is important that they let their treating doctor know that they work with animals. Report the incident in accordance with the Incident Reporting and Investigation Handbook Chapter.

  • How do I manage the disposal of animal carcasses/tissue, sharps and other waste?

    See HSW Handbook Chapter Biological Safety Management Appendix E Waste Disposal for information on the disposal of animal carcasses/tissue as well as sharps and other relevant waste.

  • What are Standard Precautions?

    Standard Precautions are the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) adopted term to define appropriate work practices, based on modules of transmission of infectious agents. These precautions are based on the principle that all blood and body substances are potentially infectious. This principle is applied universally to all patients, regardless of their infectious status or perceived risk.

    They include:
    • hygienic practices, particularly washing and drying hands before and after patient contact;
    • use of protective barriers when necessary, which may include gloves, gowns, plastic aprons, masks, eye shields or goggles;
    • appropriate handling and disposal of sharps and other contaminated or clinical waste;
    • use of aseptic technique; and
    • use of environmental controls.
  • What if I need further information on Working with Animals and Biological Safety Management?

    If you require further information, please contact your local HSW Team.

Biological Safety Management - Working with Human Research Subjects and Patients

The purpose of these FAQs is to provide information and guidance to workers and supervisors on biological issues when working with human research subjects and patients, and should be read in conjunction with the Biological Safety Management chapter of the HSW Handbook.

(Printable version)
  • What are the basic biological issues when working with human research subjects and patients?

    Workers may be at risk during the course of their duties and when interacting with human research subjects or patients, due to the possibility of infectious agents being present in the workplace.

    Microorganisms are easily transferred by contact with unwashed hands, soiled equipment or contact with blood and other bodily substances.  Workers should assume that all blood and other body substances are potential sources of infection.  Contaminated skin penetrating equipment (sharps) can transmit these blood-borne viruses to workers who may accidentally pierce themselves. Unhygienic practices and procedures may also transmit other skin and mucous membrane infections e.g. herpes simplex virus and fungal infections such as ringworm or tinea, which are spread by direct skin contact or from contaminated surfaces.

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  • How do I minimise the risk of infection when working with human research subjects and patients?

    To minimise the risk of infection a control program should be implemented.  An infection control program has the following components:

    1. Identification of hazards in accordance with the Hazard Management Handbook Chapter.
    2. Identify who is at risk and from what.
    3. Implement effective work practices and procedures including the use of Standard Precautions to minimise the risk (see Q3).
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  • What are standard precautions when working with human research subjects and patients?

    ‘Standard Precautions’ are the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) adopted term to define appropriate work practices, based on modules of transmission of infectious agents.  These precautions are based on the principle that all blood and body substances are potentially infectious.  This principle is applied universally to all patients, regardless of their infectious status or perceived risk.

    They include:
    • hygienic practices, particularly washing and drying hands before and after patient contact;
    • use of protective barriers when necessary, which may include gloves, gowns, plastic aprons, masks, eye shields or goggles;
    • appropriate handling and disposal of sharps and other contaminated or clinical waste;
    • use of aseptic technique; and
    • use of environmental controls.
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  • What personal hygiene is important when working with human research subjects and patients?

    Hand washing

    Why wash your hands?
    Hand washing is generally considered to be the most important measure in preventing the spread of infection. Hand washing protects both the human research subjects, patients and workers/students.

    When should hand washing be done?
    • Before and after contact with each human research subject or patient.
    • Where multiple procedures are performed on a human research subject or patient, wash hands before and after each procedure.
    • Before resuming a procedure if interrupted.
    • Immediately prior to putting on disposable gloves.
    • Immediately after removing disposable gloves for any reason.
    • After touching the nose, mouth or handling a nasal tissue or handkerchief.
    • Before and after eating or drinking.
    • After going to the toilet.
    • After contact with blood or other body fluids.

    For how long?
    • For routine hand washing, hands should be washed all over with soap for at least 10 to 15 seconds.
    • Before commencing an aseptic procedure, hands should be should be washed all over with soap for at least 1 minute.

    How?
    • Wet hands thoroughly preferably with warm running water and lather with a mild soap. A liquid soap is preferable, although bar soap can be used if kept dry and in good condition.
    • Liquid soap dispensers also need to be maintained by regularly washing and drying all reusable parts. Soap helps remove grease, dirt and microorganisms. Warm water helps remove grease from hands.
      NOTE: An antimicrobial soap is not necessary for routine handwashing.
    • Pay special attention to the backs of hands, wrists and spaces between fingers.
    • Rinse hands thoroughly under running water.
    • Thoroughly dry the hands on a single-use towel or in another way that is not likely to transfer microorganisms to the hands (e.g. hot air hand dryer). The dryness of hands and fingertips is related to the transfer of bacteria – that is, the drier the hands the less likely the hands are to transfer bacteria.
    • Turn off the tap with the used towel if hands-free taps are not available.
    • Alcohol-based hand rubs or gels offer a practical and acceptable alternative to hand washing and can be used provided hands are not dirty. The hand rub or gel must come into contact with all surfaces of the hand and the hands rubbed together until the solution has evaporated.

    Using gloves

    • Gloves must be worn when it is likely that hands will be contaminated with blood or other body fluids, or come into contact with mucous membranes.
    • Single-use gloves are to be worn for skin penetration procedures.  They act as a physical barrier to protect the wearer’s hands from contamination and to prevent the transfer of microorganisms.
    • Single-use gloves are not sterile unless labelled as such and sealed.
    • The use of single-use gloves does not substitute, or eliminate the need for hand washing.  Hands must be washed thoroughly before putting on gloves and again following glove removal.
    • Gloves must be removed and disposed of if the operator leaves the patient for any reason.  Hands must be washed and new gloves must be put on before resuming the procedure, or before starting a new procedure on the same person to prevent cross contamination.  Gloves must not be washed or re-used.
    • Note that some people are allergic to latex gloves.  If a worker develops a rash or skin condition it is recommended that they consult a medical practitioner.  Single-use gloves are also available made of other materials, e.g. neoprene or nitrile.
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  • What design features should the work area have when working with human research subjects and patients?
    Work areas should:
    • be well lit and well ventilated;
    • have adequate storage space for processing equipment and materials;
    • have sufficient bench space to ensure the separation of clean and dirty equipment;
    • facilitate a workflow pattern to prevent recontamination of processed equipment;
    • have equipment positioned and stored safely to minimise the risk of injury.

    In the treatment and processing of biological materials all floors, floor coverings, walls, ceilings, shelves, fittings and other furniture should be constructed of materials suitable for the procedures undertaken and should be smooth, impermeable and easily cleaned.

    It is important that flooring should be of a colour and type that allows for easy identification and removal of sharps should they be dropped.  As a general rule carpets are not recommended, however, if carpet already exists in treatment areas where spillage of blood can be expected to be minimal it may be acceptable to protect carpeted areas with a smooth plastic mat immediately underneath the procedural area.

    Sinks dedicated for the washing of hands should be supplied as close as possible to the area where the procedure is being undertaken.  Hands may become contaminated if the sink being used is itself contaminated, for example, an instrument processing sink.

    It is recommended that hand basins should be provided with hygiene taps that are elbow, wrist, knee, foot or sensor operated. In premises without these facilities, care should be taken to ensure taps and basins are kept clean. Avoid touching taps with gloved hands and use a disposable paper towel to turn taps off.

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  • What are the considerations if using sharps when working with human research subjects and patients?
    Sharps represent a major cause of biological hazard incidents involving potential exposure to blood-borne diseases.
    • Workers must at all times handle sharps with care so as to minimise injury to themselves, to human research subjects and patients and to other persons in the workplace involved in the collection of discarded materials and refuse, e.g. into a sharps bin.
    • The person who has used the sharp is responsible for its immediate safe disposal following use.
    • A clearly labelled, puncture-resistant sharps container should be kept as close as possible to the area where sharps are used. Single-use needles, scalpel blades, razor blades, etc. should not be replaced into their original container or packaging.
    • Needles should not be bent or broken or otherwise manipulated by hand.
    • Sharp instruments should not be passed by hand between workers.
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  • Where can I get information regarding biological emergency procedures, transportation and waste management when working with human research subjects and patients?

Chemical Safety Management - Air and Health Monitoring

The purpose of these FAQs is to guide workers and supervisors in the requirements for monitoring where it is required to ensure no worker at the workplace is exposed to a substance or mixture in an airborne concentration that exceeds the exposure standard.

(Printable version)

  • When do I need to conduct air monitoring?
    Air monitoring should be conducted:
    • If there is reasonable grounds to question that the level of exposure will exceed the exposure standards;
    • If the level or concentration of contaminants is to be determined;
    • To check the effectiveness of control measures, such as ventilation/extraction; or
    • To determine if maintenance or further controls are necessary.
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  • What are the exposure standards for air contaminents?

    These are published concentrations for hazardous chemicals determined by Safe Work Australia which the workplace must ensure are not exceeded (Safe Work Australia’s publication Exposure Standards for Atmospheric Contaminants in the Occupational Environment).

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  • What is health monitoring and when is it required to be conducted?

    Health monitoring is testing the person’s health status because they are either potentially or actually exposed to certain substances.

    Health monitoring must be undertaken if the worker is carrying out ongoing work which may expose the worker to hazardous chemicals and there is significant risk to the worker’s health from exposure to the hazardous chemicals listed in Schedule 14 table 14.1, column 2 and Schedule 10 table 10.1-10.3 (WHS Regulations 2012 (SA)).

    Health monitoring must also be undertaken if a risk assessment identifies that any worker could be exposed to any hazardous chemical with significant risk to the worker’s health, and
    • There are valid ways of detecting the effects on worker’s health; or
    • There is a valid way of determining biological effects; and
    • If the exposure standard has been exceeded.

    If health monitoring is required the worker must be informed before being engaged to undertake the work and before commencing the activity.

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  • Which chemicals potentially require health monitoring because they may cause risk to health?
    • Acrylonitrile
    • Inorganic arsenic
    • Benzene
    • Cadmium
    • Inorganic chromium
    • Creosote
    • Crystalline silica
    • Isocyanates
    • Inorganic mercury
    • 4,4’ Methylene bis (2-chloroaniline) (MOCA)
    • Organophosphate pesticides
    • Pentachlorophenol (PCP)
    • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH)
    • Thallium
    • Vinyl chloride
    • Lead
    • GHS Toxicity category 1A and 1B
    • GHS Carcinogens Category 1A, 1B and Category 2
    • Other hazardous chemicals e.g. Antimony, Beryllium, Carbon disulphide, Cobalt, Cyclophosphamide, Ethyl benzene, Nickel, Styrene, Toluene and Xylene.
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  • What do I do if I am working with any of the substance listed in "Which chemicals potentially require health monitoring because they may cause risk to health?" or any other Category 1A and 1B toxicity (highly toxic), Category 1A, 1B and 2 carcinogens (highly carcinogenic substance)?

    Conduct a risk assessment to determine if there is a significant risk to your health.

    The level of risk to workers from exposure to hazardous chemicals depends on the hazards as well as the frequency, duration and amount of exposure (the dose). To determine the level of risk, it is necessary to draw together the information gathered about the hazardous chemical used and the way it is used in the workplace. This will involve considering:
    1. The nature and severity of the hazard for each hazardous chemical. This information should be available from the label and the safety data sheet (SDS) in most cases.
    2. The degree of exposure of workers, taking account of:
      • Actual processes and practices in the workplace where the chemicals are used.
      • The quantities of chemicals being handled.
      • Work practices and procedures and the way individual workers carry out their daily tasks.
      • Whether existing control measures adequately control exposure.

    The outcome from this assessment is either a significant risk to health (high or very high) or not a significant risk to health (low or medium). If there is a significant risk this means that workers are likely to be exposed at a level that could adversely affect their health and health monitoring is required.

    1. If there is not a significant risk to health then you will not be required to conduct health surveillance.
    2. If there is a significant risk to health the follow the Hazard Management chapter for appropriate approvals and contact the HSW team to assist in implementing a health monitoring system in accordance with the requirements of WHS Regulations 2012 (SA).
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  • Who is required to pay for air and/or health monitoring?

    It is the responsibility of the School to coordinate and pay for air or health monitoring (refer to section 370, 371, 373 and 374 WHS Regulations 2012 (SA) for specific requirements), however where the monitoring relates to a specific research project the School can require the research project to bear the cost.

    Contact the HSW Team for specifics on who can conduct air or health monitoring.

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  • What does the School need to do with the health monitoring report?
    1. Supply a copy to the worker as soon as practicable.
    2. Contact the HSW team if illness or injury is indicated or corrective actions are required. The HSW team will need to report to SafeWork SA if test results indicate contraction of an injury or illness from activities involving hazardous chemicals.
    3. Implement any remedial action recommended by the health monitoring report to prevent further and future illness/injury to workers.
    4. File the report (see "Does the University need to keep monitoring records?" below).
    5. Maintain confidentiality.
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  • Does the University need to keep health monitoring records?

    Yes the University is required to keep a confidential record, the School is responsible for obtaining and storing these records, the most appropriate place to store these records is in the record management office.

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Chemical Safety Management - Cryogenic Substances

The purpose of these FAQs is to guide workers and supervisors in general precautions and emergency responses for cryogenic substances. This information should be read in conjunction with the HSW Handbook Chapter Chemical Safety Management.

(Printable version)

  • Why do cryogenic substances warrant special care?

    A cryogenic substance is extremely cold (usually has a boiling point below –90°C).  Working with cryogenic substances exposes workers to a number of potential hazards including cold-contact burns, frostbite, suffocation, lung disorders and general body cooling.  These liquids can produce large volumes of gas when they vaporise and may create oxygen-deficient conditions.  The vapours themselves may also cause cold-contact burns

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  • What level of information, instruction and training is required for cryogenic substances?

    All workers who are directly involved with cryogenic substances must be fully informed by their supervisor/person in control of the area, of the associated hazards and control measures to be followed. The level of information/instruction is to be in accordance with the Provision of HSW information, instruction and training HSW Handbook chapter (i.e. level 2 instruction). The individual records are to be kept on file (hard or electronic copy).

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  • Is there anything I need to consider before handling and transporting cryogenic substances?
    • Ensure appropriate control measures are put in place by the School/Area including emergency/contingency arrangements.
    • The Supervisor/Person in control of the area is to ensure that all workers who handle cryogenics are provided with the appropriate personal protective equipment.
    • Use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) including insulated gloves, eye protection (face shield) and closed-in shoes during transfer of cryogenic substances. Lab coats that provide total cover are to be worn. Avoid clothing that can trap spilled liquid against the skin. Do not handle dry ice with bare hands. NEVER place gloved hands into liquid nitrogen.
    • Only use containers and trolleys that have been specifically designed for transportation.
    • Minimise boiling and splashing of cryogenic substances during transfer to containers (use Dewar flasks and liquid withdrawal devices).
    • DO NOT travel in lifts when transporting cryogenic substances (even when stored in a Dewar flask).
    • Do not drop the container.
    • Liquid nitrogen and dry ice must not be transported by road in an enclosed vehicle, use a utility or outside cab.
    • NEVER place cryogenic substances in a sealed or sealable container.
    • Biological specimens packed in cryogenic substance, to be transported by road, are required to be packed in accordance with the Australian Code for transport of Dangerous Goods by road or rail, which includes venting holes and cryogenically suitable containers.
    • If chemicals are being transported by post, refer to Australia Post Guidelines
    • If biological samples packed in a cryogenic substance are to be transported by air refer to CASA* Guidelines
    • Mixing liquid oxygen with flammable material greatly increases the flammability risk of the material. Mixing liquid oxygen and grease will result in an explosion or fire.
    • For handling of other types of cryogenic substances refer to the following: Ammonia (refer to Australian Standard 2022); and Chlorine (Australian Standard 2927); For other gases refer to the manufacturer’s instruction for handling
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  • How should I store cryogenic substances?
    • Internal storage is only to be considered after exhaustive investigation has shown that there is no suitable outdoor location. If this is the case, the vessel shall be placed on a level floor as far away from normal work locations as is practicable. The area where cryogenic liquids are stored must be ventilated to prevent the accumulation of gas or vapour.
    • Cryogenic substances must not be stored in an unventilated or small room (e.g. cold room) because of the risk of oxygen depletion and asphyxiation. Oxygen monitoring and other controls may be required in all other rooms. Contact the HSW Team for advice.
    • Only store in a suitable container designed to hold cryogenic substances, i.e. use high quality Dewar flasks, with protective covers- not standard “Thermos” flasks. NEVER use a sealed or sealable container.
    • Pressure relief valves are required on containers since large volumes of gas formed from these liquids may cause explosions if not vented correctly. Regular inspection of these valves is required in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
    • Do not store dry ice or liquid nitrogen in screw-top containers (pressure will build and may cause an explosion due to the lack of venting).
    • Using or storing large quantities in basement laboratories and basement storage areas is not advisable.

    For specific requirements for indoor and outdoor installations (including ventilation) refer to AS 1894 “The storage and handling of non-flammable cryogenic and refrigerated liquids.”

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  • Identification of cryogenic and refrigerated liquids and equipment

    Storage vessels and equipment used for cryogenic and refrigerated liquids must be clearly marked to show the liquid for which the vessel or equipment is designed and used. The marking is to be in accordance with AS 1319 “Safety signs for the occupational environment” and the Guidance note for placarding stores for dangerous goods and specified hazardous substances.

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  • What should you do in the event of an emergency with cryogenic substances?

    First Aid

    • A suitable first aid kit and instructions e.g. Safety Data Sheet (SDS) must be provided/accessible.
    • All staff, who handle cryogenic substances, are to be provided with information in the appropriate first aid procedures as part of their Level 2 instruction (refer to the HSW Handbook Chapter Provision of HSW Information Instruction and Training).
    • In the event of a spill onto the body, quickly remove any clothing that has come into contact with cryogenic liquids, but take care not to remove clothing which is frozen to flesh.
    • Do not rub the skin; in the event of skin contact, gently flush the area with large quantities of room temperature tap water (do not apply hot water or any other form of direct heat).
    • It is important that qualified medical attention be sought as quickly as possible.
    • Refer to AS 1894 The storage and handling of non-flammable cryogenic and refrigerated liquids (1997) for a complete medical treatment guide for cryogenic liquids.

    Spills or leaks

    If a spill with a cryogenic liquid cannot be contained then the area should be evacuated immediately and the Emergency Services contacted. Advise Security (ext 35444), your Warden and follow their instruction/Emergency Procedures for evacuation.

    The potential hazards associated with some cryogenics are:

    • Extreme Cold: Cryogenic liquids and their associated cold vapours and gases can produce effects on the skin similar to a thermal burn. Brief exposures can damage delicate tissues, such as the eyes. Prolonged exposure of the skin can cause a cold burn and frostbite.
    • Asphyxiation: When cryogenic liquids form a gas, the gas is very cold and usually heavier than air; even if the gas is non-toxic, it displaces air. Oxygen deficiency (i.e. asphyxiation) can cause death and is a serious hazard in confined spaces.
    • Toxicity: Each gas can cause specific health effects. See SDSs for information about the toxic hazards of a particular cryogen.
    • Adhesion: Plastic, carbon steel, and rubber can become brittle and break if using them with a cryogenic material.
    • Physical Hazard: Without adequate venting or pressure-relief devices, pressure can build up and cause serious physical hazards including an explosion.
    • Flammability: Flammable gases such as hydrogen, methane, carbon monoxide, and liquefied natural gas can burn or explode so therefor should be kept away from possible ignition sources.
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  • Where do I obtain further information on cryogenics?

    Contact your local HSW Team.

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Chemical Safety Management - Cyanide

The purpose of this information sheet is to guide workers and supervisors in general precautions, storage and emergency responses for cyanides. The information should be read in conjunction with the Chemical Safety Management chapter of the HSW Handbook.

(Printable version)

  • Are there any reference materials I should read before working with cyanides?

    Please refer to the Guide for preventing and responding to cyanide poisoning in the workplace 2013. This guide includes information on the hazards of cyanides, routes of exposure, workplace exposure standards, biological monitoring for cyanides, controlling the risks, storage, disposal, responding in an emergency, first aid and cyanide emergency kit contents.

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  • Why do cyanides warrant special care?
    • Hydrogen cyanide gas and cyanide salts are among the most rapidly acting of all known poisons. Even small concentrations are extremely hazardous. Cyanide salts are odourless when dry and when damp they may have a slight odour of bitter almonds. A person's sense of smell must not be relied on as a warning signal to detect it’s presence as the sense of smell easily fatigues and not everyone can smell it.
    • Hydrogen cyanide gas is highly flammable and in liquid form is both highly volatile and flammable.
    • Exposure of cyanides to strong oxidisers such as nitrates and chlorates may cause fires and explosions.

    Onset of symptoms after exposure is very rapid (within a few minutes). Symptoms and signs of mild cyanide poisoning include headaches, giddiness, nausea and vomiting (if the cyanide has been ingested). The person has difficulty breathing, a sense of suffocation and a feeling of general weakness with heaviness of arms and legs. This may then be followed by seizures, loss of consciousness and cardiac arrest.

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  • What should be considered before starting any experiment with cyanides?
      • Please refer to the Guide for preventing and responding to cyanide poisoning in the workplace 2013 and the Safety Data Sheet.
      • Consider eliminating the use of cyanides.
      • Complete a risk assessment, in accordance with the Hazard Management handbook chapter. (This includes sign off by a supervisor if completed by a HDR student)
        • Complete a safe operating procedure (which includes emergency procedures and the distance to the nearest hospital);
        • Provide proficiency based instruction, that includes the location and provision of antidotes, prior to any work commencing. (Note: Proficiency (for the purposes of the University), is the achievement of a level of demonstrable knowledge, ability or skill acquired through instruction, which enables the operator to complete a high risk activity safely and without supervision. The requirement for a level of proficiency is identified as a control measure on the Risk Assessment. This level of instruction is required prior to workers undertaking an activity and a record is required to be maintained on file and recorded on the Training Plan (equivalent). A proficiency may be mapped against a Safe Operating Procedure, or could be via a log book or series of supervised training sessions/courses.)
        • Check facilities
          • Emergency showers and eye-wash facilities must be available within the immediate work area where cyanide compounds are handled.
          • Cyanides must not be used in an open laboratory. Work with cyanides must be contained in a fume cupboard with fully functional extraction rate (i.e. fully compliant cupboard).
          • Warning signs must be posted around the immediate work area.
        • Personal Protective Equipment
          • Wear impervious gloves (e.g. PVC) at all times when handling cyanides.
          • Wear a protective apron, rubber boots and face shield whenever there is the possibility of being splashed with a cyanide compound.
          • Handle gloves and other protective equipment carefully and safely.
          • Wash equipment immediately after use and store clean items well away from cyanides.
          • Use the appropriate respiratory equipment for the concentration of cyanide dust or gas that may be in the air. This should comply with Australian Standard AS 1716 Respiratory protective devices. If there is any possibility of high concentrations of hydrogen cyanide gas, use self-contained or air-supplied breathing apparatus.
        • Respiratory equipment should be kept in order and ready for use at all times. Do not store the equipment where cyanides are used or stored.

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  • What general rules should be used when handling cyanides?
    • Do not work with cyanides alone or after hours
    • Cyanides must only be handled by a person who has been assessed as proficient (see note).
    • Do not mop up perspiration with either the sleeves of overalls or with fabric which is kept in the areas where cyanides are used or stored.
    • Remove pervious clothing immediately if wet or contaminated. This clothing should be stored safely in closed containers until laundered or disposed of via chemical waste. Under no circumstances should this clothing be taken home.
    • Do not touch the nose, eyes or mouth when handling cyanides.
    • Do not eat, drink or keep food, drinks or utensils in areas where cyanides are in use.
    • Hands and face must be washed well before eating, drinking or smoking and before using toilet facilities.
    • Decontamination of the work area is required on completion of work and any unused cyanide compound must be returned to a locked cupboard.

    (Note: Proficiency (for the purposes of the University), is the achievement of a level of demonstrable knowledge, ability or skill acquired through instruction, which enables the operator to complete a high risk activity safely and without supervision. The requirement for a level of proficiency is identified as a control measure on the Risk Assessment. This level of instruction is required prior to workers undertaking an activity and a record is required to be maintained on file and recorded on the Training Plan (equivalent). A proficiency may be mapped against a Safe Operating Procedure, or could be via a log book or series of supervised training sessions/courses.)

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  • How should I store cyanides?
    • Keep workplaces dry (reaction of cyanides with water can produce the highly toxic and flammable gas hydrogen cyanide).
    • Prevent contact with acids or acid fumes as hydrogen cyanide may be produced.
    • Prevent contact with strong oxidising agents (e.g. nitrates, nitrites, peroxides and chlorates).
    • Small quantities of cyanides should be stored separately in a locked poisons cupboard.
    • Do not store respiratory equipment, clothing or other protective equipment where cyanides are kept.
    • For large quantities please contact the HSW Team for advice.
    • Please also refer to the Guide for preventing and responding to cyanide poisoning in the workplace 2013.
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  • What should you do in the event of an emergency with cyanides?
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  • Where do I obtain further information on working with cyanides?

    If you require further information, please contact a member of the HSW Team.

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Chemical Safety Management - Emergency Safety Shower and Eyewash Testing

The purpose of these FAQs is to guide the University on the testing requirements for emergency safety showers and eyewash facilities.

It is important to note: Emergency eyewash, shower, drench hose and combination units are not substitutes for primary personal protective equipment (e.g. face shield, eye protection, protective clothing). Emergency equipment is a contingency arrangement should there be an accidental exposure to a flying particle or chemical splash/spill.

(Printable version)

  • Which Australian standard outlines the testing requirements for emergency safety showers and eyewash facilities?

    AS 4775 (2007) “Emergency eyewash and shower equipment and testing regimes” sets out the requirements for the regular testing of the University’s Emergency Safety Showers and Eyewash facilities.

    The standard provides information that assists the University in meeting its WHS obligations and to protect the health and safety of students and employees in the event of an emergency.  Regular testing ensures that emergency equipment is operational and the water is clear of contamination in the event that someone has been exposed to hazardous materials which may cause injury to the eyes or body e.g. a chemical spill.

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  • How often are plumbed emergency showers, eyewash's and shower/eyewash combination units to be activated?

    AS 4775 (2007) “Emergency eyewash and shower equipment and testing regimes” requires weekly activation for a period long enough to verify operation and ensure that clean flushing fluid is available. The intent is to ensure that there is a flushing fluid supply at the outlet of the device, to clear the supply line of any sediment build-up that could prevent fluid from being delivered to the outlet of the device and to minimize microbial contamination due to stagnant water. The Faculty Executive Manager/Faculty Executive Director (delegate) or Head of Branch (delegate) are responsible for ensuring the regular testing and activation of equipment in their area(s) of responsibility in accordance with the First Aid Management HSW Handbook chapter..

    In addition to the above, all units are inspected annually under a contractual arrangement managed by Facilities Management (all campuses), to ensure conformance with the annual testing requirements of AS 4775 (2007). A tag is permanently attached to each shower unit, and the test is marked following the successful completion of the inspection.

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  • Can the frequency of the testing of plumbed emergency showers, eyewash’s and shower/eyewash combination units be varied?

    Yes. The frequency of the testing can be varied based on a documented risk assessment (consult with your local HSW Team regarding this process).

    If varied, the frequency of testing is to be authorised by the The Faculty Executive Manager/Faculty Executive Director (delegate) or Head of Branch (delegate) in consultation with workshop/laboratory technical officers and/or the Supervisor/Person in control of the area.

    NOTE: Whatever the frequency of testing, it is essential that a systematic and verifiable testing routine of all safety showers and eyewash stations in your area of responsibility is in place.

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  • What is to be included during a test of plumbed emergency showers, eyewash’s and shower/eyewash combination units?

    In addition to activating the equipment it is recommended that the tester:

    • visually inspect the equipment to ensure that there are no broken parts, pipe damage, leakage etc;
    • ensure that the water flow is effective and continuous;
    • operate the shower for long enough to verify operation and relieve the unit of any rust and other pipe build-up. Flush the unit until the water runs clear;
    • ensure that any plumbed and self-contained eyewash unit, remains activated, without the use of the operator’s hands. In accordance with AS 4775 (2007) “Emergency eyewash and shower equipment and testing regimes” the equipment is to deliver flushing fluid to the eyes for a minimum of 15 minutes. Where the fluid supply to plumbed equipment is time-limited, this is to be clearly indicated and quantified by prominent signage adjacent to the equipment. (Noting that a risk assessment is to be conducted if the equipment is time-limited, to ensure that the 15 minute time-frame is sufficient, based on the nature of the hazardous materials at the location.);
    • ensure each shower has a highly visible emergency sign;
    • ensure that problems identified during the inspection and testing are reported immediately to the Faculty Executive Manager/Faculty Executive Director (delegate) or Head of Branch (delegate) in consultation with the Supervisor/Person in control of the area. The equipment should be tagged out of operation where necessary in accordance with the Tag out and Lock out procedure in the Plant/Equipment safety management Handbook chapter; and
    • ensure that there is unobstructed access to the emergency equipment.

    It is suggested that activation of the equipment should be done by a workshop/laboratory technical officer/person in control of the area.

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  • Are testing records for plumbed emergency shower/eyewash unit required?

    Keeping records of testing helps demonstrate compliance activities are conducted in accordance with the
    AS 4775 (2007) “Emergency eyewash and shower equipment and testing regimes” .
    The person in control of the area should maintain a logbook (or equivalent) of the periodic tests and activation which identifies:

    • Item
    • Location
    • Date tested
    • Any issues
    • Name of tester

    It is suggested that the testing record be located either adjacent to the unit or in a central area where several units are located on the same floor.

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  • Where there are no drains in some areas, how can the water be managed when testing a plumbed emergency shower/eyewash unit?
    Periodic function testing should take into account water and drainage issues associated with location and plumbing restrictions. An emergency shower test sock and water catchment system (e.g. bucket on a trolley, or bin that can then be wheeled to the disposal area) should be used to minimise the creation of water hazards and minimise manual handling.
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  • Are plumbed emergency shower/eyewash units connected to the building/local area emergency alarm system?

    Yes. Each time a plumbed emergency shower/eyewash unit is activated an alarm will activate and alert Campus Security. A Security Officer will be despatched to check on the area.

    To prevent unnecessary Security responses to a test, areas are to contact Security Office on ext 35990 prior to the test. This will enable Campus Security to isolate the alarm in Security office prior to activation.

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  • Where can I find more information on Emergency Safety Shower and Eyewash Testing?
    If you would like more information about Chemical Safety Management chapter of the HSW Handbook please contact your local HSW contact.
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Chemical Safety Management - Fume Cupboards

The purpose of these FAQs is to guide workers and supervisors in general understanding of the use of fume cupboards.

(Printable version)

  • When do I need to use a fume cupboard?
    • All laboratory processes that could create airborne hazards or where the safety data sheet identifies ventilation should be conducted in a fume cupboard.
    • Fume cupboards are engineered and tested to provide adequate protection against airborne/vapour hazards for most processes, if they are used correctly.
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  • If a fume cupboard is required what do I need to consider?
    • Confirm adequate cupboard performance before use (look at the test label) and ensure that before using a fume cupboard it is within test date and is switched on. (contact Campus Services if out of test date)
    • As a rule of thumb, use a cupboard or other local ventilation device when working with any appreciably volatile substance with a TLV of less than 50 ppm (information can be obtained from SDS).
    • Fume cupboards are for worker protection, not for general storage.  Uncluttered cupboards are more effective.
    • Keep cupboards free of ignition sources.
    • Recognise the cupboard’s limitations - use specialised cupboards for perchloric acid, hydrofluoric acid and biohazards.
    • Work at least 15 cm inside the cupboards, don’t block slots at the back.  The larger the item, the further back it needs to be within the fume cupboard to overcome the turbulence created.  Large pieces of equipment reduce air movement; ensure a large air gap around equipment is maintained.  If you are frequently using equipment in a fume cupboard contact Campus Services so that the contractors can map the most efficient place for your equipment at the next testing visit.
    • Minimise traffic past the fume cupboard as this can cause turbulence. Open windows can cause drafts. Turbulence and drafts can cause fumes to escape the cupboard.
    • Keep cupboard closed at all times except when adjustments within the cupboard are being made.
    • Leave the airflow on when it is not in active use if toxic substances are left in it or if it is uncertain whether adequate general laboratory ventilation will be maintained when it is off. In the latter case, place a sign on the fume cupboard indicating that it is to be left on.
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Chemical Safety Management - Gas Cylinders and Compressed Gasses

The purpose of these FAQs is to guide workers and supervisors in general precautions and emergency responses for gas cylinders and compressed gases.

(Printable version)

  • What are the general hazards of compressed gases?
    • The pressure contained in the cylinder: the higher the pressure, the more potential for damage.
    • The expansion of the gas when released: expanding gases can propel other objects and create further hazards.
    • Contents, depending on their nature, can present their own hazards:
      • Flammable/explosive
      • Oxidant
      • Corrosive
      • Toxic
    • The density, dense gases can pool in low-lying areas, entrapping a hazardous gas and/or presenting an asphyxiation risk.
    • Weight and handling risks of the cylinder.
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  • How do I identify the gas cylinder?
    The easiest way of identifying the type of gas cylinder is to:
    • read the gas identification label prior to use.
    • then read the gas safety data sheet prior to using for the first time.

    Never use a gas cylinder that does not have an identification label - return to the supplier immediately if the identification label is missing.

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  • What are the gas regulators and the general rules for using them?
    • Regulators reduce the high pressure in a gas cylinder to a more usable lower pressure and are used in most but not all applications, depending on the type of gas and its use. Regulators are specific to a gas or gases.
    • As with other items of plant, regulators are to be maintained in a safe condition. Servicing intervals are specified by the manufacturer. (Note it may be more cost effective to just replace regulators rather than servicing them).
    • Use the correct regulator for the gas and never use adaptors.
    • Never grease or oil the regulator, valve, or fittings of an oxygen cylinder (as it could result in afire/explosion).
    • Use leak detection fluid after attaching regulators/fittings:
      • Soapy water will suffice in many cases.
      • Proprietary aerosol cans are also available (recommended for oxygen cylinders).
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  • What are the general rules for handling and using gas cylinders?
    The following should be considered when working with gas cylinders:
    • When using, or generating gases, care must be taken that the discharges from fume cupboards or fume extraction systems do not exceed the occupational exposure levels for that substance (refer to safety data sheet), or that the volume does not exceed the exhaust capacity of the fume cupboard.
    • All precautions are to be taken to prevent damage to the cylinder valve - if it detaches the cylinder may become a projectile.
    • Personal Protective Equipment suitable for the type of gas and task must be worn.
    • Cylinders are heavy and awkward to manoeuvre - adopt correct manual handling techniques (e.g. always use a cylinder trolley).
    • The contents of a cylinder must be checked before use - ensure that the gas is the correct one for the job.
    • Cylinder valves must be closed when not in use.
    • Where cylinders are fitted with valve protection the valve should be in place and properly secured.
    • Full cylinders should be arranged so that the oldest stock is used first.
    • Return all cylinders that are not currently required (note there is a monthly rental charge on cylinders).
    • All cylinders (including empties) must be restrained.

    Don’ts

    • Never force improper attachments on to the wrong cylinder.
    • Do not attempt to repair a cylinder, valve or regulator.
    • Never use a flame to locate gas leaks.
    • Do not heat or apply naked flame to a cylinder.
    • Do not attempt to refill a cylinder.
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  • What general rules should be used when storing gas cylinders?

    Storage

    Gas cylinders have specific storage requirements. In general:
    • Gas cylinders must be prevented from falling over using a suitable restraint (see examples below).
    • Oxygen (or other gas) monitoring may need to be installed depending on the size of the room, the gas and the room ventilation. Contact the HSW Team if advice is required.
    • Whilst a toxic gas is in use, the entrance of the laboratory must be clearly signposted.
    • A dedicated gas cylinder storage area shall not be used to store any other materials or used for any other activities.
    • Do not store cylinders in exits or egress routes.
    • Full and empty cylinders should preferably be stored separately.
    • Cylinders stored in the open should be protected against rust and extremes of weather.
    • Cylinders in storage should be checked periodically for general condition and leakage.
    • Flammable gases and Flammable aerosols (DG 2.1), Acute toxic gases (DG 2.3) and Oxidising gases (DG 2.2); should be segregated where possible; a minimum physical separation of 3 metres between these divisions is recommended by Australian Standard 4332-2004 The storage and handling of gases in cylinders.
    • Ensure that the maximum permissible amount in buildings is not exceeded (see Table 1 below).

    Maximum permissible amounts in buildings

    In terms of storage, the total dangerous goods load will be the combination of all cylinders whether empty, full, or in use (a cylinder is defined as in use if it is connected to a system, including standby cylinders).

    Table 1: Maximum aggregate water capacity of gas cylinders per 200 m2 of floor space.

    MAXIMUM QUANTITES OF GASES PERMISSIBLE FOR CLASSIFICATION AS MINOR STORAGE
    Class of gas (GHS) Maximum aggregate water capacity, L
    2.1 (Flammable) 500
    2.2 (Aerosols) 2000
    2.2, with Class 5.1 Subsidiary Risk (Aerosols and Oxidiser) 1000
    2.3 (Corrosive/Acute toxic) 50

    The number of gas cylinders permitted indoors (minor storage) is based on the maximum aggregate water capacity of any cylinders, including empty ones and those in use. This quantity is dependent on the type of gas.
    Note that one G sized cylinder contains 48L.

    Restraints

    • Cylinders must be appropriately restrained to prevent them from falling over. These restraints usually consist of either chains with hooks, or straps with a clip (see below).
    • It should be noted that an appropriately constructed gas cylinder trolley can be used as a form of temporary restraint, for short term experiments.

       

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  • How do I transport gas cylinders?
    • Gas cylinders must not be transported inside enclosed vehicles (including the boot section).
    • Gas cylinders should be transported upright where possible.
    • LPG cylinders (and any others with liquefied gas) must be transported with the relief valve uppermost, e.g. the cylinder’s orientation must be the same as when normally being used.  In the case of forklift gas cylinders, this orientation is normally horizontal.
    • Vehicles transporting ANY amount of Flammable gases and Flammable aerosols (DG 2.1) or Acute toxic gases (DG 2.3) dangerous goods must be placarded appropriately.  Those transporting a total of 250 litres or kg or more of dangerous goods must also be placarded.
    • Gas cylinders should be manually transported using a trolley designed for this task.
    • Cylinders can be moved short distances (from trolley to restraint and visa versa) by churning (defined as rolling cylinders in the upright position on the bottom edge).  Any fixtures such as a regulator should be removed prior to this.  Never roll or drag a cylinder to move it.  Never carry a cylinder by the valve.
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  • How do I dispose of gas cylinders?
    • Never discard pressurised cylinders in the normal waste.
    • Cylinders must be disposed of via the supplier, however if you locate a cylinder to which the supplier is no longer in business, please contact the HSW team for correct disposal methods.
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Chemical Safety Management - Hydrofluoric Acid

The purpose of these FAQs is to guide workers and supervisors in general precautions and emergency management for hydrofluoric acid.

(Printable version)

  • Why does hydrofluoric acid warrant special care?

    Hydrofluoric acid is highly toxic and highly corrosive, even in dilute concentrations, and is extremely hazardous by all routes of exposure. Hydrofluoric acid is highly damaging to skin tissue and bone and is known to cause fatal work injuries from both skin contact and inhalation of vapour.

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  • What should be considered before starting any experiment with hydrofluoric acid?
    • A full risk assessment and safe operating procedure (including first aid and emergency spill procedures), has been developed prior to any work commencing.
    • That anyone using the chemical has been trained and assessed as proficient, in accordance with the Risk Assessment and Safe Operating Procedure (including first aid and emergency spill procedures).
    • That Calcium gluconate gel and tablets (the antidote) are readily available and the expiry date has not expired
      i.e. will be effective if required.
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  • What general rules should be used when handling hydrofluoric acid?
    • Do not work with hydrofluoric acid without well planned and communicated contingency arrangements and not until you are deemed to be proficient at handling hydrofluoric acid by your supervisor.
    • Hydrofluoric acid must not be used in an open laboratory.  Work using hydrofluoric acid must be done in a fume cupboard with fully functional and tested extraction rate, a scrubber and wash down facilities.
    • Avoid a violent reaction, ALWAYS add hydrofluoric acid to water and NEVER water to hydrofluoric acid.
    • Avoid all contact with hydrofluoric acid including inhalation.  Avoid generating and breathing any mist or vapour.
    • Do not eat, drink or keep food, drinks, or utensils in areas where hydrofluoric acid is in use or stored.
    • Wear impervious gloves (Neoprene rubber, nitrile rubber or PVC gloves) at all times when handling hydrofluoric acid.
    • Wear a protective apron, sleeve protectors, rubber boots and face shield or goggles whenever there is the possibility of being splashed with hydrofluoric acid and a respirator if there is any chance of inhaling the vapour.
    • Locations where hydrofluoric acid is used and stored must have a fully tested emergency shower and eye wash facilities.
    • Do not allow clothing which is wet with an acid fluoride to stay in contact with the skin.  Remove pervious clothing immediately if contaminated with hydrofluoric acid.  Any contaminated clothing is to be bagged and disposed of via the waste disposal system.
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  • What should you do in the event of an emergency with hydrofluoric acid?

    ALL EXPOSURES ARE AN EMERGENCY

    Regardless of how minor anyone coming into contact with HF (or suspected to have come into contact) MUST go to the nearest hospital (preferably to the burns unit). The SDS must be taken to the hospital with the worker.

    First aid

    First aid treatment must be commenced immediately it is realised or suspected that contact with hydrofluoric acid has been made.

    • The affected person MUST obtain medical treatment immediately preferably at a burns unit of a major hospital. Call for ambulance immediately by phoning (0)000.  Advise your exact location and contact details.
      Ensure someone is delegated to meet the Ambulance Service at the entrance to the building to direct them.
    • Administer first aid in accordance with procedures until the ambulance arrives.
    • Worksites using hydrofluoric acid MUST have in-date tubes of 2.5-3% calcium gluconate gel and calcium gluconate tablets with clear signage and easily accessible (as close to the work as possible).  It is advisable that the SDS is printed and located with the calcium glutonate gel/tablets for reference by the attending medical professional.
    • If the person does not go to the hospital by ambulance then they must seek medical attention (preferably the burns unit), even if the injury seems slight (take SDS with the patient to medical attention).

    Skin Contact (regardless of how minor)

    • Call for ambulance immediately by phoning (0)000.
    • Remove contaminated clothing using PVC gloves.
    • Immediately wash the burnt area with copious amounts of water and remove any contaminated clothing. Use the sink tap and/or emergency shower (depending of the extent of the contamination).
    • Apply calcium gluconate gel on and around the burn and massage it in with gloved fingers (Neoprene/PVC).  Continue the gel massage every 15 minutes until medical treatment is available.  For large or severe burns, four effervescent calcium gluconate tablets (600mg) should be given by mouth every two hours until the patient is admitted to hospital.
    • Seek medical attention immediately (take SDS with the patient to medical attention).
    • Note that any contaminated clothing is to be disposed of via Cleaning and Waste Collection Request Form.

    Eye Contact

    • Call for ambulance immediately by phoning (0)000.
    • Irrigate the eyes with water or isotonic saline solution immediately and copiously for at least 15 minutes;
    • Seek medical attention immediately (take SDS with the patient to medical attention).

    Inhalation

    • Call for ambulance immediately by phoning (0)000.
    • Where there is a risk to rescuers, the rescuers MUST wear respiratory protection and immediately transfer the patient to an uncontaminated location.
    • Do NOT commence cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and Do NOT induce vomiting.
    • Four effervescent calcium gluconate tablets (600mg) should be given by mouth every two hours (if conscious) until the patient is admitted to hospital.
    • Seek medical attention immediately (take SDS with the patient to medical attention.

    Spills or leaks

    • You must be trained, competent and feel confident when cleaning-up a hydrofluoric acid spill.  If you are not then you MUST get assistance from a trained worker or call in the services of the hazmat division of the fire service.
    • Ensure you also contact Security office ext 35444 and advise of your exact location and nature of emergency.  They will assist to direct the Emergency Services.
    • Do not enter the contaminated area unless wearing protective clothing and full respiratory protection.
    • Move people upwind from the area and cordon it off.
    • Inform the chief warden and/or warden network.
    • Keep clear of liquid and visible fumes.
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Chemical Safety Management - Labelling Transition Arrangements

The purpose of these FAQs is to guide workers and supervisors in the labelling requirements for the period leading up to the introduction of the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) on 31 December 2016.

(Printable version)

Chemical Safety Management - Nanomaterials

The purpose of this information sheet is to guide workers and supervisors in general precautions and emergency responses for nanomaterials. The information should be read in conjunction with the Chemical Safety Management chapter of the HSW Handbook.

(Printable version)

  • What are nanomaterials and why do they warrant special care?
    • A nanomaterial is a material that contains particles in an unbound state or as an aggregate or agglomerate. They can be natural and exist in nature, be manufactured, or may result as a by-product.
    • Engineered nanomaterials are defined as materials purposefully produced with at least one dimension between 1 and 100 nanometres (1 x10-6 mm = 1 nanometre).
    • Nanomaterials can have unique toxicological properties and can be more toxic than their bulk materials. Physiochemical characteristics of particles can influence their effects in biological systems. These characteristics include particle size, shape, surface area, charge, chemical properties, solubility, oxidant generation potential, and degree of agglomeration (build up).

    They warrant special care as:

    • studies in both tissue cultures and laboratory animals have shown that seemingly slight changes to the surface chemistry of nanomaterials can result in significant changes in their toxicity. Subsequently a generic approach to risk assessment is not possible. Note if you are making nanomaterials you have to use a generic approach until you can test the materials toxicity; and
    • nanomaterial research is an emerging field which is currently specifically un regulated. As the field is currently evolving there is no sound scientific research information on hazards associated with nanomaterials and the toxicological effects.
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  • What should be considered before starting any experiment with nanomaterials?

    • Managers/supervisors must review current literature to find out what is known about the nanomaterials being used (or similar/related nanomaterials if designing new nanomaterial), including physical and chemical property data, toxicology, or health-effects data (in accordance with the Chemical Safety Management Handbook Chapter)
    • A risk assessment must be conducted (in accordance with the Hazard Management Handbook chapter) and the Hierarchy of Controls used to minimise hazards based on what is known about the material and or related materials. If you are a student you must obtain approval/sign-off by your Manager/Supervisor on the risk assessment before you undertake the activity.
    • If no information is available, managers/supervisors must take the “as low as reasonably practical” approach to the hazard management process, again employing the Hierarchy of Controls to minimise the potential hazards.
    • If you are using carbon nanotubes please refer to Safe handling and use of carbon nanotubes workplace information sheet (SafeWork Australia) and Classification of carbon nanotubes hazardous chemicals (SafeWork Australia).
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  • What should be considered when conducting a risk assessment on nanomaterials?

    Please refer to the HSW Handbook chapter - Hazard management for information on the process and template.
    The following information will provide you with assistance in completing the process.

    Hazard Identification

    The major hazard associated with nanoparticles is inhalation. Other hazards include ingestion and absorption.
    Start by identifying the type of nanomaterials you will be working with and in what state they will be at the start of the process.

    Identify if they are considered a Category 1 (carcinogenic), Category 2A (probably carcinogenic) or other as per the WHO - IARC determination and identify the tasks which can increase the risk of exposure to nanomaterials such as:

    • Working with nanomaterials in liquid media without adequate protection (e.g. appropriate gloves).
    • Working with nanomaterials in liquid during pouring or mixing operations, or where a high degree of agitation is involved (e.g. risk of producing aerosols/vapour).
    • Generating nanomaterials in non-enclosed systems.
    • Handling (e.g. weighing, blending, spraying) powders of nanomaterials.
    • Maintenance on equipment and processes used to produce or fabricate nanomaterials.
    • Cleaning up of spills and waste material containing nanomaterials.
    • Cleaning of dust collection systems used to capture nanomaterials.
    • Machining, sanding, drilling, or other mechanical disruptions of materials containing nanomaterials where there is a risk that they may be released from the matrix.
    • Although insufficient information exists to predict the fire and explosion risk associated with powders of nanomaterials, nano-scale combustible material could present a higher risk than coarser material with a similar mass concentration, given its increased particle surface area and potentially unique properties.
    • Some nanomaterials may initiate or speed up catalytic reactions depending on their composition and structure that would not otherwise be anticipated based on their chemical composition.

    The Risk Assessment

    When conducting a risk assessment the level of risk for each activity will be affected by:

    • How much material is being used.
    • How often it is being used.
    • What materials are being used.

    Hierarchy of Controls

    Assuming that elimination and substitution is not applicable for your experiments the following controls are to be considered to minimise the risk from the hazards.

    Engineering

    • Nanomaterial aerosols are highly mobile and have gas-like dynamics, therefore ventilation systems such as fume cupboards and biological safety cabinets with HEPA filters should be considered for removing aerosols of nanomaterials from the workplace and environmental emissions.
    • Class III biological safety cabinets will offer workers the highest level of protection but such a level of protection is only required for extremely toxic nanomaterials and class II is usually considered sufficient.
    • Laminar flow cabinets are not appropriate because they blow potentially contaminated air from the sample towards the operator, leading to a higher risk of exposure.
    • Only fully compliant fume cupboards or fully-tested cabinets are to be used with nanomaterials.
    • Room air flow such as negative pressure could be considered to keep nanomaterials isolated in the instance of dust generation.
    • The use of intrinsically safe electrical equipment should be considered to minimise the risk of fire or explosion in the instance of dust generation.
    • Wet cutting of items that may produce nanomaterials.

    UNSW Sydney has detail on all of the above including a decision flow chart and risk control banding checklist that can assist in this instance, please refer to Nanomaterials risk banding checklist on the nanomaterials page at the following link https://safety.unsw.edu.au/nanomaterials.

    Administration

    • Materials to be stored in double sealed containers.
    • Use of absorbent or sticky mats to capture spillage.
    • Wipe down of work surfaces with wet absorbent paper towels.
    • Consider the use of safe operating procedure (SOP) for the use of nanomaterials including the controls identified in the risk assessment and have workers trained.
    • When developing a SOP use good work practices to minimise worker exposures to nanomaterials e.g. cleaning of work areas using HEPA vacuum pickup and wet wiping methods, preventing the consumption of food or beverages in workplaces where nanomaterials are handled, providing hand-washing facilities, and providing facilities for showering and changing clothes.
    • A contingency plan in the event of something going wrong, such as a spill or fire should be in place and all workers trained to respond appropriately.

    Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

    • Clothing: There are still many uncertainties concerning the absorption of nanomaterials through the skin. Therefore workers should wear protective clothing that covers all areas of the skin and protective footwear (e.g. disposable shoe covers or neoprene shoes and lab coats). Disposable clothing is recommended when using or manufacturing nanomaterials. This clothing is to be double bagged and disposed of via Cleaning and Waste Collection Request Form. The use of protective clothing will limit the dermal exposure of workers. Some clothing standards incorporate testing with nanometre-sized particles and therefore provide some indication of the effectiveness of protective clothing.
    • Gloves: It is not yet known to what extent gloves are an effective barrier against nanomaterials, nor which glove material affords most protection. For example, nitrile and polypropylene polymer gloves have a smaller pore size and may provide greater protection than latex gloves. It is recommended at this time that two pairs of gloves should be worn, with extra protection from gloves made from different materials (e.g. nitrile or polypropylene over the top of latex). Furthermore, continued flexing of the gloves during use can lead to cracks and holes that nanomaterials could penetrate, therefore disposable gloves should be changed on a regular basis throughout the day.
    • Safety glasses: also consider using safety goggles refer to the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) and the risk assessment to determine Personal Protective equipment requirements.
    • Respirators: Should only be used as a last resort if other engineering controls are not available. Air-purifying respirators protect workers by removing harmful dusts, fumes, chemical vapours and gases by filtering the contaminated air through either a fibrous membrane or resin. They are only effective if they are properly fitted and workers need to be trained in their use. The respirators used in nanotechnology facilities should comply to the Australian Standard AS/NZS 1716:2012 (Respiratory protective equipment) and more information concerning the use and choice of respirators for a specific workplace can be found in the Australian Standard AS/NZS 1715 2009 (Selection, use and maintenance of respiratory protective devices), which discuss protection against particulate matter. It is believed that nanoparticles are removed from the air by diffusing onto the filtering fibres of the respirator, while large particles (i.e. >300nm) will be physically blocked by the filter fibres. The current advice being provided to the nanotechnology industry by occupational hygiene experts is that certified HEPA respirators will be effective in protecting workers from nanomaterials, e.g. P100 and N100 respirators are expected to remove at least 99.9% of particles.

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  • Is there health surveillance available for nanomaterials?

    Until instrumentation to measure doses is readily available and dose limits have been determined, medical screening of workers potentially exposed to nanomaterials is not yet practical. Research is currently ongoing into toxicology and dose limits, and managers/supervisors using nanomaterials should monitor the research to ensure safest handling of their nanomaterials.

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  • How should I label nanomaterial?

    A label for nanomaterials (when the hazards are known) shall at a minimum:

    • be legible and in English,
    • contain the product identifier (name or number found on the suppliers label or in the SDS),
    • have a pictogram or hazard statement consistent with the chemical, and
    • the full name (or staff/student number) of the worker who made, collected or decanted the nanomaterial.

    A label for nanomaterials (when the hazards are not fully characterised) shall at a minimum:

    • be legible and in English,
    • include a statement of hazard “contains engineered/manufactured nanomaterials. Caution Hazard unknown”, and
    • include the full name (or staff/student number) of the worker who made, collected or decanted the nanomaterial.
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  • How should I record nanomaterials being used?

    Nanomaterials should be included on the chemical register for the area in the same way as any other hazardous chemical is registered and also indicate that it is a nanomaterial.

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  • What should you do in the event of an emergency with nanomaterials?

    Clean up and Spills

    The maintenance and cleaning of nanotechnology facilities during normal operations or after an accidental spill represent scenarios where worker exposure could be significantly increased.

    • It is recommended that facilities are cleaned using only HEPA filter vacuum cleaners that comply with the Australian Standards AS 3544-1988 (Industrial vacuum cleaners for particulates hazardous to health) and AS 4260-1997 (High Efficiency Particulate Air Filters (HEPA) – Classification, Construction and Performance). Household vacuum cleaners should never be used even if they have a HEPA filter installed in them.
    • Alternatively, nanotechnology workplaces can be cleaned using wet-wiping methods. Whichever method is chosen should be conducted in a manner that limits the inhalational and dermal exposure of workers.
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  • How do I dispose of nanomaterials?
    • The fate of nanomaterials released into the environment is not yet known. There are currently no guidelines for the disposal of many nanomaterials but efforts should be taken to contain them and presently they should be handled as hazardous waste.
    • Precautions should be taken when disposing of nanomaterials. At the very least nano-waste should be double-bagged, enclosed in a rigid impermeable container and disposed of via the Cleaning and Waste Collection Request Form.
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  • What are other universities doing to manage the risk of working with nanomaterials?

    Please refer to the UNSW Sydney Nanomaterial risk banding checklist document for some additional information https://safety.unsw.edu.au/nanomaterials.

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  • Where do I obtain further information on nanomaterials?

    If you require further information, please contact a member of the local HSW Team.

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Chemical Safety Management - Peroxidisables and Explosives

The purpose of these FAQs is to guide workers and supervisors in general precautions and emergency responses for peroxidisables and explosives.

(Printable version)

  • What are peroxidisables and why do they warrant special care?
    • A peroxidisable compound is any compound that can easily form peroxides by exposure to atmospheric oxygen and/or UV radiation. Peroxides are unstable chemicals that can easily detonate through minor shock/friction, i.e. they can decompose, ignite or detonate when exposed to friction (e.g. on the threads of a screw-capped container), striking, vibrating, or otherwise agitating.
    • These substances can deteriorate to an explosive compound by drying, contamination, exposure to air and light, or mixing with dust, paper or organics (e.g. ethanol).
    • The shelf-life (time under normal and appropriate storage conditions before occurrence of significant peroxidation products) varies between compounds and conditions of storage.  Some of these compounds can be purchased with an antioxidant stabiliser which retards (but does not prevent) the rate of peroxide formation. Users should purchase stabilised reagents unless the antioxidant interferes with its use.
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  • What precautions do I need to know about when working with peroxidisables?
    • Conduct a risk assessment, and if you are a student you must get sign off from your supervisor before commencing this activity.
    • Plan ahead and if you have any concerns consult your supervisor or an expert before proceeding with the work. Formulate an emergency plan before starting any experiment containing explosive or potentially explosive chemicals.
    • Read the relevant safety data sheet to assess required controls.
    • Inform your supervisor and all the people working in your laboratory each time you commence the work, and place signs on the entrance door.
    • Due to the potential for explosion limit the number of chemical bottles and other breakable items within the immediate vicinity of any bottle containing peroxidisables.
    • Minimise the quantities used in a procedure to a minimum and do not store large quantities.
    • Protect yourself by:
      • working inside a fume cupboard;
      • wearing PPE (including face and eye protection); or
      • remote handling if highly sensitive.
    • If leaving the experiment make sure you signpost the door (with a warning sign and your contact details) so everyone who gains access to the laboratory is informed. Ensure that before leaving the area and experiment they are rendered as safe as practicable.
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  • How should I store peroxidisables?
    • It is strongly suggested that any containers of peroxidisables which have any of the following characteristics be disposed of immediately. (If you are concerned please do not handle and contact the HSW Team for assistance):
      • old or obviously in poor condition, or
      • have visible crystals or solids, or
      • have been opened more than 12 months ago or purchased more than 18 months ago but unopened (even when an inhibitor has been added).
    • Because distillation of the stabilised solvent will remove the stabiliser, the distillate must be stored with care and monitored for peroxide formation.
    • Un-stabilised compounds should not be kept for more than 24 hours.
    • Peroxide-forming compounds should never be stockpiled.  They should be purchased in limited quantities to minimise in-house storage time.
    • Containers of potential peroxide forming compounds must be handled with extreme caution.  The friction from unscrewing the cap of a container of ether that has decomposed can provide enough energy to cause a violent explosion.  Also containers may have a high internal gas pressure, due to decomposition.
    • Date these chemicals when they are received and when they are opened and schedule disposal in the School’s Schedule of Programmable Events or in another system.
    • Peroxide-forming compounds should be clearly identified by additional labelling.
    • These compounds are to be stored in closed containers (preferably in the container furnished by the supplier) away from light and heat.
    • If refrigeration is required only completely spark-proof refrigerators are to be used to store ethers or other volatile peroxide-formers.
    • These chemicals must be securely stored to prevent unauthorised access.
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  • What are explosives and why do they warrant special care?
    • Explosive compounds are classified under Dangerous Goods Class 1 or GHS Explosive Divisions 1.1 – 1.6 and are inherently explosive by shock, fire, friction or other sources of ignition. These compounds can easily cause major injuries to individuals who handle them and anyone working nearby.
    • From the Explosives Act of 1936 and Explosive Regulations 2011 explosive means:
      • (a) gunpowder, nitro-glycerine, all compounds and mixtures containing nitro-glycerine, gun-cotton, blasting powder, fulminate of mercury or of other metal, coloured fires, and every other substance, whether similar to those abovementioned or not, used or manufactured with a view to produce a practical effect by explosion or a pyrotechnic effect; and
      • (b) fog-signals, fireworks, fuses, rockets, percussion caps, detonators, cartridges, ammunition of all descriptions, and every adaptation of preparation of an explosive as defined above; and
      • (c) a model rocket engine for educational programs.
    • For (a) type explosive the quantity must not exceed 3kg without a licence
    • For (b) please refer to the Firearms Safety Management chapter.
    • For (c) the School/Branch must apply for a permit from SafeWork SA.
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  • What precautions do I need to know about when storing and working with explosives?
    • Consult the safety data sheet for storage and handling procedures for explosives.
    • Conduct a written risk assessment which is signed off by your supervisor or subject matter expert prior to undertaking the activity.
    • Ensure that you do not store any more than is necessary for your experiments.
    • These chemicals must be securely stored to prevent unauthorised access.
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  • Can I transport explosives?

    For requirements on transportation of explosives please contact the HSW Team.

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  • How do I dispose of peroxidisables and explosives?

    For requirements on disposal please refer to the contact list on the HSW Website.

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Chemical Safety Management - Understanding Safety Data Sheets

The purpose of these FAQs is to guide workers and supervisors in general understanding of Safety Data Sheets (SDS formally known as MSDS). If you are pregnant or considering conception please also refer to the Worker and reproductive toxicity (female and male fertility, pregnancy and breastfeeding) FAQs.

(Printable version)

  • What hazard information is contained in a Safety Data Sheet (SDS)?

    Hazard Classification
    You will be able to see this on the SDS as a hazard statement (e.g. flammable liquid; may cause cancer, etc).

    The route of entry
    This will indicate the ways in which the chemical may get into your body (so you can control against exposure). Routes can include ingestion, inhalation, skin contact, eye contact and injection.

    Advice for at risk workers
    Specific information for sensitised people, pregnancy, and people with medical conditions.

    Instructions on storage
    This is the section which will indicate how you must store the chemical (e.g. incompatibility, special storage for explosives or peroxidables etc.).

    Physiochemical properties
    Can have a significant effect on the hazard, below are the key properties and some explanations:
    • Boiling Point is the temperature at which liquid boils. It is important in determining the vapour exposure hazard of the substance. Substances with a low boiling point are likely to give off more vapours at any given temperature; if the substance is a flammable liquid there may be a fire hazard due to vapours easily igniting.
    • Vapour pressure is a measure of how much of a substance can accumulate as a vapour in the air above a liquid or solid.  A high vapour pressure usually means more vapour will be given off and potentially reach high concentrations in the air.  This is a potential fire hazard but may cause health problems from breathing the vapour.  If the vapour density is greater than one then it is denser than air and will accumulate in low areas.  There are many instances where distant ignition sources have ignited a vapour trail resulting in serious accidents/incidents when the fire has flashed back to the bulk container.
    • Flash point is the lowest temperature at which a liquid will produce enough vapour to ignite if an ignition source is present. The lower the flash point the greater the potential fire hazard.
    • Fire point and explosive limit is the range of concentrations of a flammable vapour in air, which will burn if ignited. If the vapour air mixture tends to explode then the explosive limits are recorded on the SDS. Concentrations below the limit are too weak to burn or explode and concentrations above the limit are too rich (not enough oxygen).
    • Solubility in water is useful in determining effective fire extinguishing methods and spill clean-up procedures.
    • pH is the measure of acidity and alkalinity. The lower the pH number the stronger the acid; and the higher the pH number the stronger the alkali.
    • Viscosity is a measure of the fluids resistance e.g. thickness.
    • Particle size will affect the route of exposure. Smaller particles may increase the hazard or change the route of exposure.
    • Reactivity is the measure of the chemicals behaviour in which it decomposes; forms new substances; etc.

    The activities (or use situations) that may generate hazardous chemicals
    This section will highlight if your activity will contribute to the hazard.

    Environmental hazards
    This section will outline the environmental hazards. This is useful for spills, disposal etc.

    Hazard ratings
    This gives a summary of the level of flammability, toxicity, body contact, reactivity and chronic. zero = min/nil, one = low, two = moderate, three = high and four = extreme

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Children in the Workplace

The purpose of these FAQs is to provide information and guidance in relation to children (i.e. those under 18 years of age), in the workplace at the University of Adelaide and to meet the requirements of the University's Health and Safety Policy.  The University, has the “Primary duty of care” under the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA) to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the health and safety of any other person, including children are not put at risk from work carried out as part of the conduct of the business or undertaking.

(Printable version)

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Confined Spaces

The following FAQs cover information which will:

  • assist areas to identify if a workspace falls within the definition of a confined space;
  • assist areas to determine basic entry and training requirements;
  • give Schools/Branches guidance and examples on how to manage the hazards (including risk assessment) which are specific to confined space entry; and
  • assist Schools/Branches meet the requirements of the Hazard Management chapter of the HSW Handbook.

If you are required to enter a "Confined Space" the processes outlined in the WHS Legislation (SA) must be followed (i.e. WHS Act 2012 s19, WHS Regulations 2012 s62-77, Code of Practice for Confined Spaces.)

(Printable version)

  • What is a confined space?
    In accordance with the WHS Regulations (2012, s5 - Definitions), a confined space is an enclosed or partially enclosed space that:
    • is not designed or intended primarily to be occupied by a person; and
    • is, or is designed or intended to be, at normal atmospheric pressure while any person is in the space; and
    • is or is likely to be a risk to health and safety from:
    • an atmosphere that does not have a safe oxygen level, or
    • contaminants, including airborne gases, vapours and dusts, that may cause injury from fire or explosion, or
    • harmful concentrations of any airborne contaminants, or
    • engulfment.

    Confined spaces are commonly found in vats, tanks, pits, pipes, ducts, flues, chimneys, silos, containers, pressure vessels, underground sewers, wet or dry wells, shafts, trenches, tunnels or other similar enclosed or partially enclosed structures, when these examples meet the definition of a confined space in the WHS Regulations.

    A confined space does not include:
    • a mine or the workings of a mine
    • places intended for human occupancy and have adequate ventilation, lighting and safe means of entry and exit, such as offices and workshops
    • some enclosed or partially enclosed spaces that at particular times have harmful airborne contaminants but are designed for a person to occupy, for example abrasive blasting or spray painting booths
    • enclosed or partially enclosed spaces that are designed to be occasionally occupied by a person if the space has a readily and conveniently accessible means of entry and exit via a doorway at ground level, for example:
    • a cool store accessed by a LPG forklift to move stock – although the use of a LPG forklift in a cool store can be hazardous, the door at ground level means that once the alarm is raised, escape and rescue can happen quickly; and
    • a fumigated shipping container with a large ground level opening which will facilitate easy escape and rescue.
    Trenches are not considered confined spaces based on the risk of structural collapse alone, but will be confined spaces if they potentially contain concentrations of airborne contaminants that may cause impairment, loss of consciousness or asphyxiation.
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  • What is considered as 'entry' into a confined space?

    Entry is considered to have occurred when a person’s head or upper body enters the space.  A space may become a confined space if work that is to be carried out in the space would generate harmful concentrations of airborne contaminants.

    (Code of Practice for Confined Spaces 1.4)

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  • If entry into a confined space is required, then what do I need to do?
    As a minimum:
    Training must be provided to workers who:
    • enter or work in confined spaces
    • undertake hazard identification or risk assessment in relation to a confined space
    • implement risk control measures
    • issue entry permits
    • act as a standby person or communicate with workers in a confined space
    • monitor conditions while work is being carried out
    • purchase equipment for confined space work
    • design or lay out a work area that includes a confined space.

    The training provided to relevant workers must cover:
    • the nature of all hazards associated with a confined space
    • the need for, and appropriate use of, risk control measures
    • the selection, use, fit, testing and storage of any personal protective equipment
    • the contents of any relevant confined space entry permit
    • emergency procedures.
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  • What are the types of hazards associated with working in a confined space?

    Confined spaces pose dangers because they usually have poor ventilation which allows hazardous atmospheres to develop quickly, especially if the space is small.  The hazards are not always obvious and may change from one entry to the next.

    Examples of the specific hazards you may need to consider are provided below.

    Hazard Examples
    Restricted entry and/or exit
    • A small entrance may make it difficult to rescue a worker (e.g. if injured/ill) or to get equipment in/out of the space safely.
    • If access is via ladder it may be difficult to rescue a worker (e.g. if the opening is high up in a silo).
    Harmful airborne contaminants
    • Build up or release of toxic substances in sewers and pits.
    The task performed in the space
    • Use of paints, adhesives, solvents or cleaning solutions.
    • Welding or brazing with metals capable of producing toxic fumes.
    • Exhaust fumes from engines used in the confined space.
    Entry of natural contaminants such as groundwater and gases from surrounding land, soil or strata
    • Acid groundwater acting on limestone with potential to produce dangerous accumulations of carbon dioxide.
    • Methane released from groundwater and from decay of organic matter.
    Release of airborne contaminants
    • Sludge, slurry or other deposits.
    Manufacturing process
    • Residue left in tanks, vessels etc or remaining on internal surfaces can evaporate into a gas or vapour.
    Unsafe oxygen level
    (less than 19.5% or greater than 23.5%)
    • Oxygen displaced by gases produced during biological processes.
    • Displaced during purging of a confined space with an inert gas.
    • Consumed and therefore depleted inside metal tanks and vessels.
    • Absorbed or reacts with grains, chemicals or soils in sealed silos.
    • Oxygen enriched atmospheres if chemical reactions cause the production of oxygen.
    • Oxygen enriched atmospheres if there is a leak of oxygen from an oxygen tank or fitting while using oxy-acetylene equipment.
    Fire or explosion
    • An ignition source such as a sparking or electrical tool, including from static on a person is introduced into a space containing a flammable atmosphere.
    Engulfment
    • Swallowed up or immersed by sand, liquids, grain, animal feed.
    Uncontrolled introduction of substances
    • Steam, water or other liquids, gases or solids may result in drowning, or being overcome by fumes.
    • Vehicles and LPG forklifts operating close to the opening of the confined space can cause a build-up of exhaust gases including carbon monoxide in the space.
    Biological hazards
    • Contact with micro-organisms, such as viruses, bacteria or fungi may result in infectious diseases, dermatitis or lung conditions such as hypersensitivity pneumonitis.  Sewers, grain silos and manure pits are examples where biological hazards may be present.
    Mechanical hazards
    • Entanglement, crushing, cutting, piercing or shearing of parts of a person’s body if exposed to plant such as augers, agitators, blenders, mixers and stirrers.
    Electrical hazards
    • Electrocution, shocks or burns could arise from cables, transformers, capacitors, relays, exposed terminals and wet surfaces where electrical circuits and electrically powered plant are used.
    Skin contact with hazardous substances
    • Surfaces of the confined space may be contaminated with hazardous substances which could cause a burn, irritation or allergic dermatitis or longer-term systemic effects.
    Manual tasks
    • Hazards arising from manual tasks may be exacerbated by physical constraints associated with working in a confined space.
    Noise
    • Noise generated from the use of plant, the work method or process may be amplified due to reflections off hard surfaces.  Exposure to hazardous noise may result in hearing loss, tinnitus and other non-auditory health effects.  Hazardous noise may also prevent workers hearing warning signals and distract workers from their work.
    Personal protective equipment
    • Hazards may arise from the use of personal protective equipment which restricts movement, grip and mobility.
    Radiation
    • Radioactive sources (ionising and non-ionising), lasers, welding flash, radio frequency and microwaves.
    Hazards outside the confined space
    • Where the confined space has a vertical opening, there is a risk that people could fall in.  Persons at risk include those assisting the confined space entry (e.g. standby person) and pedestrians.
    • Where the confined space entrance is located on footpaths or roads.
    • Where work is being conducted by a third party outside the space but near the opening (e.g. a person conducting hot work adjacent to a confined space that has a flammable atmosphere.)
    Additional physiological and psychological demands
    • Physical ability of the person to conduct the work.
    • Possibility of a person being claustrophobic.
    • Ability to wear the personal protective equipment required to do the work (e.g. respirators).
    Heat
    • Heat stress (e.g. working in a silo which is positioned in full sun on a hot day)
    Mobile confined space
    • Mobile/moveable silos
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  • How do I apply the principles of risk management to confined spaces?

    If an area of work falls within the definition of a “confined space” (i.e. as per "What is a confined space?") a risk assessment must be completed and the risk assessment is to be in accordance with the Hazard Management chapter of the HSW Handbook (which includes the risk assessment tool).

    A number of examples of hazards have been provided in "What are the types of hazards associated with working in a confined space?".  Examples of control measures for associated hazards are provided for your information and consideration in Confined Space Entry - Sample Control Measures.

    A confined space risk assessment template is provided in Confined Space Entry- Hazard Identification Checklist doc pdf

    In accordance with legislative requirements the risk assessment process must be conducted by a competent person before conducting any tasks associated with the confined space.  (WHS Regulations 2012 s66)

    The assessment must be conducted in consultation with workers involved in, or working adjacent, to the confined space.

    Records must be kept in accordance with the Hazard Management handbook chapter.

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  • Do I need to conduct atmospheric testing and monitoring when entering a confined space?

    Yes.  This is a routine part of determining appropriate risk controls.  The testing is carried out by a competent person using a suitable, correctly calibrated gas detector (to be arranged through the School/Branch).

    Initial testing should be done from outside the confined space by inserting a sample probe at appropriate selected access holes, nozzles and openings and at different levels, the top, middle and bottom, as some gases are heavier than air.

    In accordance with the Code of Practice for Confined Spaces if it is not reasonably practicable to ensure the confined space contains a safe oxygen level, or safe levels of airborne contaminants, then appropriate respiratory protective equipment must be provided. The respiratory protective equipment should be provided and worn in situations where there is no exposure standard for a substance, or where the substance is present in an unknown concentration.

    Respiratory protective equipment refers to a range of breathing equipment, including air-supplied and self-contained breathing apparatus. The appropriate respiratory protective equipment should be based on the level and type of contaminants and the work to be done. Whenever there is any doubt about the type of respiratory protective equipment required, a conservative approach should be adopted (for instance, use air-supplied respiratory equipment).

    Further details for atmospheric testing and monitoring can be found in WHS Regulations 2012 s71 and Code of Practice for Confined Spaces section 4.

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  • What is a confined space entry permit?

    The entry permit is a checklist to ensure that all elements of a safe system of work are in place before people are allowed to enter the confined space.

    It also provides:

    • a means of communication between site management, supervisors and those carrying out the work; and
    • authorisation for entry to the confined space is safe to proceed.

    In accordance with WHS Legislation a worker is not allowed to enter a confined space unless a completed and signed confined space entry permit is issued by a competent person and in writing.

    An entry permit is to be issued for each entry.  An example of an entry permit is provided doc pdf

    Schools/Branches can opt to use this template, the template in Code of Practice for Confined Spaces or their own provided the template meets the requirements of the legislation.

    The written permit authority is to be displayed/available in a prominent place (e.g. adjacent to the confined space).

    In accordance with the WHS Regulations (Section 67), the entry permit must include:

    • the confined space to which the permit relates;
    • the names of persons permitted to enter the space;
    • the period of time during which the work in the space will be carried out;
    • measures to control risk associated with the proposed work in the space; and
    • contain space for an acknowledgement that work in the confined space has been completed and that all persons have left the confined space.

    (See Code of Practice for Confined Spaces 5.4)

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  • What are the requirements for contractors entering a confined space?

    Where a contractor is engaged by the University, the person engaging the contractor is required to provide the contractor with information about the hazards associated with that space (if known).  The contractor is required to conduct the risk assessment and complete the confined space entry permit in accordance with legislative requirements.

    The contractor’s entry permit is to be displayed in a prominent place whilst they are conducting the activity.

    The contractor’s confined space records are to be kept on file by the School/Branch (e.g. Induction records, risk assessments/Job Safety Analysis etc.) relating to the project.  See the Contractor Management chapter for further information.

    (Further information for contractors is available from the  Campus Services Maintenance Service Centre at each campus, or phone 8313 4008 or the project manager.)

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  • Do confined spaces need to be identified by signage?

    Confined spaces should at all times be secured against unauthorised entry and, where practicable, permanently signposted.

    Before any work in relation to a confined space starts, signs must be erected at each entrance to the confined space to prevent and warn other persons, not involved in the work, and against entry.  This includes when preparing to work in the space, during work in the space and when packing up on completion of the work.

    Signposting alone should not be relied on to prevent unauthorised entry to a potential confined space. Security devices, for example locks and fixed barriers, should be installed.

    (See Code of Practice for Confined Spaces 5.9)

    The signs should comply with AS 1319.

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  • Is a standby person required when entering a confined space?

    Before a worker enters a confined space, a standby person must be within the vicinity of the space, be assigned to continuously monitor the wellbeing and condition of those inside the space, observe the work being carried out (where practicable) and initiate appropriate emergency procedures when necessary.

    A system of work is to be provided to enable continuous communication with the worker(s) from outside the confined space.

    The standby person should:
    • understand the nature of the hazards inside the particular confined space and be able to recognise signs and symptoms that workers in the confined space may experience
    • remain outside the confined space and do no other work which may interfere with their primary role of monitoring the workers inside the space
    • have all required rescue equipment (for example, safety harnesses, lifting equipment, a lifeline) immediately available
    • have the authority to order workers to exit the space if any hazardous situation arises

    The standby person should never enter the space to attempt rescue and should have the authority to order workers to exit the space if any hazardous situation arises.

    (See Code of Practice for Confined Spaces 5.7)

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  • What communication methods are considered appropriate for confined spaces?

    Communication will depend on the confined space and may be achieved verbally, by radio, by hand signals or by hard wired communications.  Arrangements are to be recorded on the Risk Assessment.

    (See Code of Practice for Confined Spaces 5.7)

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  • What confined spaces are Schools/Branches responsible for?
    Infrastructure Branch Other Schools/Branches
    Are responsible for the management of confined spaces associated with the University’s Infrastructure. 

    Please contact Campus Services Maintenance Service Centre if there is a requirement to enter an identified confined space or your project manager (as applicable).

    Are responsible for any confined space that they have created or acquired. 

    Please contact your School/Branch
    Health and Safety Officer for further information.

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  • What confined spaces records are Schools/Branches required to keep?
    In accordance with legislative requirements, the School/Branch responsible for the space (i.e. as identified above) is required to keep, either electronically or in hard copy:
    • Risk assessments, safe operating procedures and permits for the spaces and activities in accordance with the Hazard Management handbook chapter
    • Training and competency records in accordance with the TNA
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  • Where can I get more information about confined spaces?
    • WHS Legislation
    • Approved Code of Practice for Confined Spaces
    • Australian Standards
      • AS 2865 Confined spaces
      • AS/NZS 1715 and AS/NZS 1716 Respiratory protective devices

      For further information, the following Australian Standards are relevant to this activity:
      • AS/NZS 1891 Safety harnesses lines and lifting equipment
      • AS/NZS 3000, 3100 and AS/NZS 3190, AS/NZS 3191 Electrical and portable electrical equipment
      • AS/NZS 60079 series where an electrical apparatus is to be used in an explosive gas atmosphere
      • AS/NZS 61779 when using electrical equipment for the detection and measurement of flammable gases
      • AS 1319 Safety signs for the occupational environment
      • AS 4024 Safety of machinery

      Australian Standards can be accessed through Techstreet
      .

    Training providers for Confined Spaces
    Please refer to the HSW website and HSW Training Plan

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Disability - Information for Staff

The University of Adelaide supports staff with a disability.

Drugs and Alcohol Related Incidents

The purpose of these FAQs is to provide guidance on the management of drug and alcohol related incidents during University related activities.  This information supplements the Incident reporting and investigation chapter of the HSW Handbook.

(Printable version)

Employee Assistant Program (EAP) FAQs

The University of Adelaide supports staff and their families by providing access to an EAP.

See the University's EAP webpage for printable resources.

  • What is the Employee Assistance Program (EAP)?
    The EAP is a short-term, solutions focussed counselling, coaching and mentoring service provided by a team of Psychologists within CHG.  The program is designed to help you explore and implement strategies to address issues which may be having an impact on you at work and/or at home, including:
    • Interpersonal conflict (workplace/home)
    • Grief / Trauma counselling
    • Dealing with difficult personalities
    • Fatigue and perceived inability to cope with work demands
    • Dealing with change
    • Building resilience and managing stress
    • Anger management
    • Alcohol and substance dependence
    • Relationship and family problems
    • Emotional and mental health issues e.g. anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.
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  • How might the EAP help me with workplace concerns?

    The approach used in EAP counselling is solutions focussed.  The psychologist will encourage you to talk about your concerns with a view to problem solving and developing strategies for successful outcomes.  The role of the psychologist is to listen and help to identify and work through the specific issues, teach coping strategies and explore available solutions.  The objective is to empower you to address your workplace concerns, sometimes with the assistance of the organisational channels available to you within the University, should you wish to use them.

    Please be aware that the EAP is not:
    • An advocacy service
    • Your financial advisor
    • A certifier of time off work/sick leave
    • For long-term specialist support.
    You will need to arrange for other support/service providers outside of the EAP for any of the above.
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  • How might the EAP help me during organisational change?
    In relation to organisational change, the EAP can help you explore personal strategies to build resilience and adaptability.  They can assist you in exploring available pathways in relation to:
    • Managing known and unknown change
    • Coping with change, including the processes and timeframes
    • Family communication and support 
    • Dealing with a range of emotions
    • Making difficult decisions
    • Building confidence and emotional preparation for interview (note the counsellor may assist with the pragmatics of job applications interviews and follow-up).
    • Career counselling (including scoping of realistic options and advice on strategic resume preparation).
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  • Who can use the EAP?

    Any employee of the University and their immediate family can access the service.

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  • How much does the EAP service cost and is there a limit?

    The service is free of charge to University of Adelaide employees and their immediate family. You can access up to three sessions free of charge each year.

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  • How can I access the EAP?

    Services can be provided face-to-face or via telephone.

    During business hours, general appointments can be made through contacting CHG: After hours, for emergency psychological assistance, CHG can be contacted by calling 0418 883 855
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  • Where is the EAP?

    There are three locations where staff can book face-to-face appointments:

    CHG Consultancy Services
    103 Henley Beach Road
    Mile End SA 5031

    CHG Clinic Gillman
    136 Eastern Parade
    Gillman SA 5013

    CHG Clinic Elizabeth Vale
    44 John Rice Avenue
    Elizabeth Vale SA 5112

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  • How do I get to my EAP appointment?

    Parking is available at each site.

    For public transport options go to Adelaide Metro.

    If you will still have difficulty travelling to the rooms a taxi option is available (transport only from campus to appointment and back to campus). Please advise CHG when making your appointment if you require access to this free service.

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  • How confidential is the EAP?

    The University’s EAP service is confidential.  Information regarding visits or any other details will not be relayed to other parties without your prior approval.  Statistical data is prepared quarterly regarding usage, but this information does not include individual identifying information.

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  • How should I prepare for my EAP appointment?
    It might be useful for you to spend some time before your appointment considering:
    • Why you are seeking assistance
    • What you hope to get out of your appointment.

    This will help the psychologist determine the best way to assist you and to also provide appropriate educational and referral information if required. You may wish to bring a support person e.g. family, friend or work colleague.

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  • What should I expect during an EAP appointment?
    • The psychologist to be prepared to discuss any concerns that you raise.
    • The psychologist to write notes as a record that will be appropriately and confidentially stored.
    • The psychologist to provide strategies to assist with your concerns.
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  • What if I need longer-term or specialised support from EAP?

    The EAP is designed to provide short-term, solutions focussed assistance.  If it is identified that longer term counselling or specialist assistance is required (i.e. more than 3 visits p.a.), the psychologist will suggest the appropriate referral and to help put you in contact with the service identified as best for you.

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Events Safety Management

The purpose of these FAQs is to provide information and guidance on how events related to the University of Adelaide should be planned and managed in accordance with the Hazard Management chapter of the HSW Handbook.

(Printable version)

  • What activities do the Events Safety Management FAQs apply to?
    Event safety management is applicable where an event is being staged that:
    • changes the environment/venue (e.g. addition of temporary structures); or
    • is using the environment/venue in a different way than how it was designed to be used; or
    • introduces a foreseeable safety hazard(s) due to the nature of the event/activity/function.

    Examples of when events safety management should be applied.
    • Temporary structures are being erected on University grounds (e.g. marquees, jumping castles, stages).
    • A meeting/talk/demonstration is being held where there is the potential for a violent situation due to the nature of the attendees/speaker.
    • An event is being held where noise from the event could impact occupants of adjacent buildings (e.g. open air concerts, large crowd).
    • A science demonstration that involves the generation of fire and smoke is being held in a lecture theatre or other venue (e.g. Chemistry Spectacular, Science Alive).
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  • How do I book an event?

    On-campus events

    You should complete the Event booking process in consultation with Facilities bookings or phone (831) 35131 ensuring that you have considered the venue to be appropriate for your event (safe and suitable for the activity) prior to booking.  This includes arrangements for booking events outdoors on University grounds (e.g. Barr Smith Lawns, Taib Mahmud Court).

    It is suggested that you also contact your Events/Marketing Co-ordinator for additional information on booking requirements for events planned at the Waite or Roseworthy Campus.

    off campus events – external host

    You should follow the booking process and safety requirements of the external organisation hosting the event.  Note that the University of Adelaide HSW Handbook requirements regarding hazard management still apply (see 'What do I need to do when planning safety for an event?').

    off campus events run and hosted by the University (e.g. bus tour)

    You should follow the booking process and safety requirements of the external provider (e.g. the bus company).  Note that the University of Adelaide HSW Handbook requirements regarding hazard management still apply (see 'What do I need to do when planning safety for an event?').

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  • What do I need to do when planning safety for an event?
    • Consider what is required to conduct the event safely and to meet the requirements of the Hazard Management chapter (i.e. undertake appropriate hazard identification, assessment and control).
      It is advisable (and may save considerable time) to identify if the event has been conducted previously and if it has:
    • gather the previous Risk Assessment/Safety Management Plan;
    • check for any debrief notes/recommendations (if available);
    • discuss with the previous event co-ordinator if there were any issues, incidents/injuries, specific control measures used to ensure the event was conducted safely.
    • A Hazard Management Event Safety Checklist doc pdf are provided to assist. 
    • Please note:  If the event is once-off and doesn’t require the co-ordination of a number of tasks or activities then the Short Form Risk Assessment Template doc pdf within the Hazard Management chapter may be a quicker option than the Hazard Management Event Safety Checklist and Event Safety Management Plan/Risk Assessment.

    For guidance on how to complete an Event Safety Management Plan/Risk Assessment, refer to the examples of control measures for specific hazards in the Event Safety Management Plan/Risk Assessment example.

    If the event involves utilisation of University grounds 
    (e.g. for erection of marquees, access to electrical or plumbing services.) 
    Contact the relevant Campus Services as follows.
    • North Terrace: (831) 34008
    • Waite: (831) 37217
    • Roseworthy: (831) 37937
    • Thebarton:  (831) 34471

    If contractors have been engaged
    (e.g. in the planning, setting up, running or cleaning up of the event)
    This includes:
    • ensuring that a copy of any specific safety documentation required for the contractor’s activity (e.g. Safe Work Method Statement and/or Safety Management Plan) is provided to you by the contractor and kept on file with your events documentation.
    • an induction if the contractor(s) will be conducting activities without a University representative(s) being present.
      An Induction Template doc pdf is provided to assist.
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  • What do I need to do on the day of an event?

    Prior to commencement

    You should conduct a walk-through of the venue/site with stakeholders where applicable to:
    • check for any additional hazards which may have been introduced during set-up.  If this has occurred these should be added to the Safety Management Plan/Risk Assessment and control measures implemented as applicable;
    • check all control measures identified on the Safety Management Plan/Risk Assessment have been implemented; and
    • brief and induct any workers who will be working at the event.

    Induction

    It is important that any person(s) undertaking work at the event (including volunteers and contractors) is/are inducted to ensure that they understand key pieces of information such as:
    • the hazards and control measures they may need to be aware of and implement;
    • what to do in an emergency;
    • how to access amenities and first aid treatment;
    • how to report an incident ; and
    • the reporting lines for the event.

    In order to capture the induction you can have workers sign the Event Safety Management Plan/Risk Assessment doc pdf or complete the Induction Template doc pdf; or complete a School/Branch contractor induction.

    During the event

    You should monitor that activities are being managed in accordance with the Event Safety Management Plan/Risk Assessment.

    If an incident/injury is reported:

    Immediately following the event

    You should ensure that the event site is left in a safe and neat condition.  Where an event is such that a major clean up or removal of structures/lights/power/waste is unable to occur on the day you should ensure that you have the site booked for the following day or by some agreement with the site booking officer.

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  • What do I need to do after an event?

    It is beneficial to arrange for an event debrief, especially if there is a possibility that the same/similar event will be arranged at some time in the future.  The debrief will identify what worked/didn't’t work and provide recommendations for improvement.

    An Event Safety Management Debrief Template doc pdf is provided to assist.

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  • What records will I need to keep in relation to an event?

    You should ensure there is a system for maintaining documentation (e.g. using HP Records Manager or School/Branch Records Management system) relating to the event in accordance with the relevant chapter of the HSW Handbook.

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  • If I am an event coordinator do I need training to plan and run an event safely?

    Your HSW training needs are determined by your supervisor/School/Branch with consideration to your role and responsibilities.  Where your supervisor/School/Branch has determined that it is important for you to gain an understanding of the safety requirements for Events Management, contact your HSW Manager.

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  • Are there any rules governing alcohol at events?

    The service of alcohol in South Australia is regulated by the State Government under the Liquor Licencing Act (1997) and the Liquor Licencing Regulations (2012).  The University of Adelaide has an Alcohol Management and Use Policy  to assist staff with understanding what their responsibilities are should they plan to serve alcohol at an event. The Alcohol Management and Use Policy requires the completion of an Alcohol Management and Safety checklist if you are planning to serve alcohol at a function/event.  NOTE: You should check with the venue bookings officer to determine if the venue is covered under an existing liquor licence and any licensing restrictions that apply.   If the venue is not covered by an existing licence then you may need to apply to the State Government regulator for a limited licence for your event.

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  • Do I need to consider insurance in relation to my event?

    The University has insurances that cover the broad range of activities that the University is likely to undertake.  Where the event is staged by any individual or group that is not part of the University it may not be covered by the University’s insurance and you should check with Legal and Risk.

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  • Is there any guidance available around the number of toilet facilities required at an event?
  • Are there other University related documents/resources I should be aware of in relation to events?
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Fair Treatment Contact Officer

The purpose of this Information sheet is to clarify what Fair Treatment Contact Officers (FTCOs) are, why they are important and what they do.  Should you find that further explanation or clarification is required please raise or discuss the matter with your HR Advisor (HRA) or Fair Treatment Contact Officer (FTCO).

(Printable version)

  • What are FTCOs?

    FTCOs are staff who are appointed and trained by HR to assist staff with any enquiries about discrimination, sexual harassment or bullying.  Students seeking support should contact an Education Welfare Officer.  The FTCO is an entirely voluntary role.

    FTCOs are trained in the various University polices, procedures and guidelines which set out the expected behaviours at the University, including:

    The HSW Handbook chapter Preventing and Responding to Workplace Bullying.

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  • Why are FTCOs important?
    FTCOs play a vital role for the University because they:
    • Can provide, distribute and explain information in a confidential and independant manner
    • Provide a voluntary service to staff, volunteers and the University community
    • Contribute to the University goals of a safe, healthy and harmonious workplace
    • Provide a peer contact point for staff that is aware of the University work environment and its orgainsational factors.
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  • Attributes required to be a FTCO?
    Prior to being appointed to the role, the FCTO must show they have:
    • A commitment to EEO, diversity principles and the need to address bullying behaviours from the workplace
    • The ability to liase effectively with people at all levels of the University whilst acting descreetly, objectively, impartially and maintining confidentiality
    • The capacity to be accessible to staff when required.
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  • What will a FTCO do?
    FTCOs will:
    • Listen to you if you feel you have been discriminated against, sexually harassed or bullied
    • Help you clarify the types of behaviour you are concerned about
    • Offer and explain the difference between formal and informal options for dealing with your concerns
    • Maintain confidentiality
    • Perform their role should questions or matters needing clarification arise during a complaints process
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  • What won’t a FTCO do?
    • Discuss your case with anyone without your permission.
    • Advocate on your behalf or become involved in informal or formal resolution processes
    • Act to resolve or investigate your complaint
    • Take over your case or try to push you to take any particular action
    • Make any finding or determination that you have been discriminated against, sexually harassed or bullied

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  • How does the FTCO role fit into the workplace?

    The role of the FTCO is a voluntary role and requires the ongoing approval of the staff members manager/supervisor.

    FTCO’s may receive enquiries from within or outside their own work area.  They may be called upon at short notice, if available, to deal with people who are in an emotional or distressed state.  The demands placed on a FTCO may vary but generally involve:
    • meeting with an individual or group for an hour;
    • providing clarification on reasonable behaviour; and/or
    • informing the individual of the various options to resolve their concerns.

    Ongoing professional development, support and training is provided to a FTCO (subject to the ongoing approval of their supervisor) to ensure they are equipped to handle the requirements of this voluntary role.

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  • Is contact with an FTCO confidential?

    Yes, unless you disclose an unlawful act or the health and safety of someone is at serious risk.

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  • What information will the FTCO collect?

    A FTCO will collect de-identified information to inform the University of specific training and development needs. Your FTCO should show you the form at the beginning of your meeting.

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First Aid

The purpose of these FAQs is to assist Schools/Branches to review and assess first aid requirements in accordance with the First Aid chapter.

(Printable version)

  • What do I need to consider when assessing first aid requirements?
    Each School/Branch is to consider the following:
    • The nature of the work being carried out at the workplace.
      Certain work environments have greater risks of injury and illness due to the nature of work being carried out. The First Aid Handbook chapter provides a definition on areas considered high risk and low risk.
    • The nature of the hazards at the workplace.
      A check of the Hazard Listing (e.g. Static Risk Assessments) and incident/injury reports or review of Safety Data Sheets (SDS) may assist with identifying common workplace hazards and first aid requirements in the School/Branch. 
    • Could there be potential harm from:
      • manual tasks (strains);
      • working at height (slips, trips, falls causing factures, bruises, lacerations, dislocations, concussion);
      • machinery and equipment (being hit by moving vehicles, or being caught by moving parts of machinery causing fractures, amputation, bruises, lacerations, dislocations);
      • hazardous chemicals (handling or storing hazardous chemicals that are toxic or corrosive that may be inhaled, contact skin or eyes, cause poisoning, chemical burns or irritation);
      • extreme temperatures (exposure to hot surfaces and materials, heat stress, fatigue, hypothermia);
      • radiation (welding arc flashes, lasers, ionizing radiation which could cause burns);
      • biological (infection, allergic reactions)  See the Biological Handbook chapter for additional information;
      • animals (bites, stings, kicks, scratches).
    • The size, location and nature of the workplace.
    • The distance between different work areas and the response times for emergency services.
      (Note: If conducting activities off campus then the location and remoteness are to be incorporated on the risk assessment for the activity including effective communication.)
    • The number and composition of the workers at the workplace.
      In addition to employees, the University has contractors, students and volunteers on campus and therefore the number of persons on campus varies day-to-day.  The emergency first aid provisions in each School/Branch needs to factor this into the assessment to provide for an appropriate response at the local level.  It may also be necessary to consider particular needs of workers who have a disability or a known health concern.
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  • What first aid equipment is required?

    First Aid Kits

    The first aid kit should provide basic equipment for administering first aid and then, if required by a risk assessment, include additional contents (e.g. extra quantities or items.)  "What do I need to consider when assessing first aid requirements?" may assist in determining what first aid equipment is required.

    Defibrillators

    Defibrillators are available at Waite and Roseworthy Campus and are stored in the Security Office.  Security staff are trained in their use and are responsible for ongoing maintenance.  At North Terrace Campus, an automatic defibrillator is held by the University Health Practice.

    Eye wash and shower equipment

    Eye wash and shower equipment may be permanently fixed or portable, depending on the workplace. 
    This equipment is to be be provided where there is is a risk of hazardous chemicals or infectious substances which could cause eye injuries.

    Immediate access to a shower should also be provided where there is a risk of:

    • Exposure to hazardous chemicals resulting in skin absorption or contamination from infectious substances; or
    • Serious burns to a large area of the face or body (including chemical burns that are deep, in sensitive areas or greater than a 20 cent piece.)

    Shower facilities can consist of:

    • An appropriate deluge facility.
    • A permanently rigged hand-held shower hose.
    • A portable plastic or rubber shower hose that is designed to be easily attached to a tap spout.

    Portable, self-contained eye wash or shower units have their own flushing fluid which needs to be refilled or replaced after use.  Further guidance is available in AS 4775 – Emergency eyewash and shower equipment.

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  • Do first aid kits need to be of a particular design?
    First aid kits can be any size, shape or type to suit your workplace, but each kit should:
    • be large enough to contain all the necessary items;
    • be immediately identifiable with a white cross on green background that is prominently displayed on the outside;
    • contain a list of the contents for that kit; and
    • be made of material that will protect the contents from dust, moisture and contamination.
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  • Where should first aid kits be located?

    In the event of a serious injury or illness, quick access to the kit is vital.  Access should also be ensured in security-controlled workplaces.  There should be additional first aid kits where there is a high risk of injury/illness e.g. in the science laboratory.

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  • Who is responsible for restocking and maintaining first aid kits?
    Each School/Branch is to nominate who is to maintain the first aid kit (usually a first aider) and should:
    • monitor access to the first aid kit and ensure any items used are replaced as soon as practicable after use;
    • undertake regular checks (at least once every 12 months) to ensure the kit contains a complete set of the required items (an inventory list in the kit should be signed and dated after each check, or an equivalent record of the check held e.g. if an external provider is engaged); and
    • ensure that items are in good working order, have not deteriorated and are within their expiry dates and sterile products are sealed and have not been tampered with.
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  • Are first aid signs required?

    Yes.  First aid signs are to be displayed and will assist in easily locating first aid equipment.

    The signs may be constructed to suit individual requirements but should comply with AS 1319: 1994 – Safety Signs for the Occupational Environment.

    Examples of First Aid Signs:


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  • How are workers informed of First Aid procedures?

    School/Branch/local area inductions require the provision of information on the first aid and emergency procedures in the area of work.  This includes the location of first aid kits and who is/are the first aiders in the area and where they are located/can be contacted.  It should also include emergency information should the first aider not be accessible e.g. to contact Security Office which is available 24 hrs x 7 days per week.

    See the Emergency Management Handbook chapter for additional information on Medical Emergencies (Code Blue) and/or the Emergency Colour Chart displayed in your area of work.

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  • When should first aid requirements be reviewed and who should conduct the review?

    As a minimum an annual review is required in accordance with the First Aid Handbook chapter.
    The Head of School/Branch (or delegate) is responsible for ensuring a review is conducted.
    A review may also be conducted following an incident or a first aid emergency contingency exercise.

    First aid requirements should be reviewed in consultation with workers to ensure they remain adequate and effective e.g. first aiders, Health and Safety Representatives (if applicable), Health and Safety Officers and any other people who have responsibilities for first aid.  The results of the review could also be tabled at the Health and Safety Committee for review.

    A First Aid Assessment Template doc pdf is provided to assist in the review if required.

    Alternatively additional information is provided in the First Aid in the Workplace Code of Practice in Appendix B.

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  • What can we do with expired first aid supplies?
    Expired first aid supplies can be sent, via internal mail, to:
    Practice Manager
    University of Adelaide; Roseworthy Campus
    Companion Animal Health Centre
    Building E.40
    Mudla Wirra Road
    Roseworthy 5371

    Items that Companion Animal Health Centre can use are:
    • Bandages (all types)
    • Wound Dressings
    • Adhesive Dressing Tape
    • Antiseptic (individual wipes)
    • Wound Closures
    • Butterfly Clips
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Hazardous Manual Tasks

The purpose of these FAQs is to provide information and guidance on how to manage hazardous manual tasks during University related activities and should be read in conjunction with the Hazard Management chapter of the HSW Handbook.

(Printable version)

  • What is a hazardous manual task?
    A hazardous manual task, as defined in the WHS Regulations, means a task that requires a person to lift, lower, push, pull, carry or otherwise move, hold or restrain any person, animal or thing involving one or more of the following:
    • Repetitive or sustained force
    • High or sudden force
    • Repetitive movement over a period of time
    • Sustained or awkward posture
    • Exposure to vibration.

    Any of the above factors could directly stress the body and result in an injury.  The most common injury from manual tasks is a musculoskeletal disorder.

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  • What is a musculoskeletal disorder?
    A musculoskeletal disorder (MSD), as defined in the Hazardous Manual Tasks Code of Practice, means an injury to, or a disease of, the musculoskeletal system, whether occurring suddenly or over time. It can be a back injury, a sprained or strained muscle, ligament and tendon, degeneration of a joint or bone and nerve damage.

    Musculoskeletal disorders occur in two ways:

    1. gradual wear and tear to joints, ligaments, muscles and inter-vertebral discs caused by repeated or continuous use of the same body parts, including static body positions
    2. sudden damage caused by strenuous activity, or unexpected movements such as when loads being handled move or change position suddenly.

    Injuries can also occur due to a combination of these two mechanisms.

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  • How can the risk of a musculoskeletal disorder resulting from a hazardous manual task be reduced?
    Before undertaking the task, identify if the task could cause an injury.

    Consider:

    • what the task is and how it is performed;
    • the load /object to be moved (e.g. it’s weight, shape, size);
    • if the work environment could impact on the safe completion of the task.
      • Extremely cold environment (which may affect gripping, reduce sensitivity in cold hands or from wearing gloves)
      • Extremely high temperatures (which may also affect gripping, perspiration on the hands, radiant heat)
      • Humid environment (which may increase discomfort and fatigue, damp/wet objects)
      • Wind (increased force required to handle large objects in windy conditions)
      • Slippery and uneven floor surfaces (which may affect stability of the load and/or your balance/footing)
      • Obstructions (which may be from poor housekeeping, may lead to leaning over or around an object to complete a task)
      • Lighting (which may lead to awkward or sustained posture to improve vision or avoid glare).
    • If the task requires:

      • Repetitive or sustained force (e.g. Using force repeatedly or continually over a period of time to move or support an object.)
      • High or sudden force (e.g. Exertion is required. The task is physically demanding. There is jerky or unexpected movements while handling an item or load. The body must suddenly adapt to the changing force.)
      • Repetitive movement over a period of time (e.g. Using the same parts of the body to repeat similar movements over a period of time.)
      • Sustained or awkward posture (e.g. Where part or the whole body is kept in the same position for a prolonged period and/or the posture is unbalanced and/or there are extremes of bending/twisting/squatting/working with arms overhead/kneeling.)
      • Exposure to vibration (e.g. Operating equipment where the vibration is transferred to the hand and arm, repetitive shock loads of some tools, sitting in a heavy vehicle for long periods.)
    • The suitability of the tools/equipment that you are using to complete the activity (if applicable) e.g. are they fit for purpose?

    Where you have identified one or more of the abovementioned risk factors then you should complete a formal risk assessment in accordance with the Hazard Management Handbook Chapter. This will enable you to minimise the risk and implement appropriate control measures in order to complete the task safely.

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  • Can I risk assess similar Hazardous Manual Tasks at the same time?

    If there are a number of similar hazardous manual tasks, they may be assessed together as a group instead of assessing each task individually.  e.g. activities requiring handling of animals.

    The Hazard Management chapter of the HSW Handbook provide additional information on “control banding”.

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  • How do I control the risk of a Hazardous Manual Task?

    The WHS Regulations and Code of Practice for Hazardous manual tasks, require that the risk be eliminated or
    minimised by working through the hierarchy of control..

    This may require a single control measure or a combination of two or more different controls.

    See specific examples of Risk Control Measures which relate to Hazardous Manual Tasks.

    The Risk assessment process will enable the calculation of a Residual Risk Rating (i.e. after the controls are in place).

    If there is a residual risk of “high” or “very high” then the activity/plant/chemical is to be referred for the appropriate level of authorisation in accordance with the Hazard Management to ensure that every avenue for minimisation of the risk has been considered and that they authorise for the activity to continue

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  • How are control measures implemented for Hazardous Manual Tasks?

    The Supervisor responsible for the implementation of the task, should consult with workers involved in the manual task including their health and safety representative(s) (where relevant) regarding the control measures identified on the risk assessment.

    As a guide, if the residual risk is assessed as:
    • Low risk – information on the control measures is provided during induction.
    • Medium risk – information on the control measures is provided during induction.
    • High and Very High risk – information on the control measures is provided during induction and additional instruction/proficiency against the Safe Operating Procedure (or equivalent) is to be provided before the worker completes the activity of their own (i.e. unsupervised).

    (Additional information is also provided in the HSW Handbook chapter Provision of HSW information, instruction and training)

    Supervisors are to ensure all completed risk assessments are available to the workers who conduct the activity in either electronic or hard copy and that workers in their area(s) follow the control measures and safe work procedures.

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  • What happens if there is an incident/injury due to a Hazardous Manual Task?

    Any worker who suffers from a work related incident/injury is to report the incident to their Supervisor as soon as possible (e.g. before leaving work) in accordance with the Report a Safety Issue chapter of the HSW Handbook.

    As part of the investigation, the Supervisor is to review the risk assessment and control measures to ensure the measures are adequate in consultation with the relevant workers.  Where controls are not sufficient, they will take appropriate corrective action, where required, to prevent a recurrence.

    The incidents and any corrective actions are recorded in UniSafe to ensure that any trends can be identified and any corrective actions recorded are completed.

    If you have a work-related musculoskeletal injury

    Refer to the Injury Management HSW Handbook chapter, which provides information on the Workers compensation and rehabilitation process.

    If you have a musculoskeletal injury (work or non-work related)

    Information is available from the Injury Management Handbook website. (i.e. Caring for you knee sprain, low back pain, shoulder pain, soft tissue injury.)

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  • Where can I find more information on hazardous manual tasks?

    If you would like more information about hazardous manual tasks please refer to:

    There is also an on-line Ergonomics and Manual Handling information session available which provides basic manual handling principles and guidance. https://www.adelaide.edu.au/hr/hsw/training/.


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Hot Work

The purpose of these FAQs is to guide the University on how to conduct hot work activities safely and provide guidance to meet the requirements of the University’s Hazard Management chapter, the Code of Practice for Welding Processes and Australian Standard 1674.1-1997 Safety in welding and allied processes - Fire precautions (AS 1674).

(Printable version)

  • What is Hot Work?

    Hot work is any activity that includes grinding, welding, thermal or oxygen cutting or heating, and other related heat-producing or spark-producing operations, for example welding or other sources of ignition near a hazard.

    For the purposes of This information outdoor activities such as 4 wheel driving and harvesting are not Hot Work.  For these activities please refer to the Hazard Management chapter and follow the processes outlined for managing the risks.

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  • Do I need to conduct a risk assessment before commencing Hot Work activities?
    All hot work activities require that a risk assessment is conducted in accordance with the University’s Hazard Management process.  A checklist of requirements needs to be completed to ensure that:
    • no hot work is undertaken in a hazardous area;
    • all combustible/flammable substances are removed from and around the hot work area or can be adequately protected;
    • the area is properly ventilated;
    • all tags, warning signs and the permit to undertake hot work are prominently displayed; and
    • fire/smoke detection systems have been isolated (if applicable).
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  • What qualifications and training is required to conduct Hot Work?

    All staff who conduct hot work need to be identified on the School/Branch/Area Training Needs Analysis and Training Plan and must be qualified (e.g. Welder certification, Engineering qualification) or are proficient (see definitions) before undertaking any hot work activity.

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  • What do I need to do to perform Hot Work activities?
    All workers must:
    • ensure they are competent and qualified to carry out the work required;
    • assist the Responsible Officer (see 'Who is a Responsible Officer and what are their responsibilities in relation to hot work activities?') for the activity in:
      • conducting the site inspection and completion of the Hot Work Permit doc pdf to work;
      • ensuring that all necessary controls are in place (as identified by the risk assessment); and
      • enforcing appropriate precautions to limit access by unauthorised persons (including Lock-out and Tag-out systems, see Plant/ Equipment Safety Management);
    • check that the required equipment is in place in the work area and in a suitable condition for use (including fire resistant shielding and flash screens if appropriate);
    • use personal protective equipment and other equipment as required and consistent with the manufacturers’ procedures/recommendations and training; and
    • ensure they are trained in the use of fire extinguishers.

    All contractors must also:
    • have a Hot Work and Permit to Work system in place which meets the requirements of AS 1674; and
    • provide a copy of the completed Permit to Work to the University staff member who engaged their services together with all hazard management documentation (e.g. Job Safety Analysis).
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  • What are the requirements for performing Hot Work in welding bays?
    Work undertaken in University areas that are specifically designed for hot work such as engineering workshop welding bays must be monitored to ensure that:
    • where hot work constitutes a fire or explosion hazard, the requirements of AS1674 are observed;
    • any flammable and combustible liquids are stored in accordance with Australian Standard 1940 - The storage and handling of flammable and combustible liquids; and
    • fire extinguishers are provided in accordance with Section 5 of AS1674 (i.e. be appropriate for the particular type of fire hazard, be located within 10 m of the work area., comply with the relevant Australian Standard, be adequately maintained, be used in accordance with the recommendations of the manufacturer or supplier of the equipment).

    For more information please see AS 2444-2001 Portable fire extinguishers and fire blankets - Selection and location  and AS 1940-2004 The storage and handling of flammable and combustible liquids

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  • What is a total Fire Ban Day?

    A Total Fire Ban Day may be imposed by the Fire Service at any time of the year restricting the hot work activites, and other activities, you undertake which may result in igniting a fire.

    For details about what you can and cannot do during a fire ban please see the CFS Website.  Restrictions vary across the state – visit CFS for more details.

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  • Are there any requirements for performing Hot Work in confined spaces?

    Hot work in confined spaces shall be performed in accordance with WHS Regulations 62-77 the Code of Practice for Confined Spaces, Australian Standard 2865 “Confined Space” and AS 1674. An additional Permit to enter a Confined Space is also required.

    For further information and guidance on requirements for Confined Space entry, please refer to the Confined Space FAQs or HSW Team.

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  • What is a Hot Work Fire Watcher and when is one required?

    A fire watcher will observe the hot work area to detect and prevent the spread of any fire produced by the hot work process. The fire watcher should be a qualified person proficient in the operation of fire extinguishing equipment and conversant with the local area emergency procedures.

    If hot work is to be conducted within 15 metres of any combustible material, a permit must have fire watch procedures in place, including a nominated fire watcher regardless of protection provided.

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  • What are a Hot Work Fire Watcher's responsibilities?
    • Do not leave the job unless properly relieved by an authorised person.
    • Ensure that an appropriate extinguisher is located within 10m of the work area and is used (if required) in accordance with the recommendations of the manufacturer or supplier of the equipment.
    • Use Personal Protective Equipment (e.g. eye protection to protect against flashes where work involves arc welding, cutting or arc gouging).
    • Inspect adjoining compartments, if heat transfer is possible.
    • Maintain a continuous fire watch over the hot work, paying special attention to any changes in weather conditions (such as increased wind), and whether any actions have been taken that may lead to a hazardous situation in the hot-work area.
    • Take immediate action to combat any outbreak of fire that may occur and alert the Responsible Officer if not the Fire Watcher.
    • Maintain fire watch for at least 30 minutes after the completion of the hot work. 
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  • Who is a Responsible Officer and what are their responsibilities in relation to hot work activities?

    A Responsible Officer is a person who has a satisfactory knowledge of the fire, explosion and toxicity hazards associated with hot work in hazardous areas and who is adequately trained and experienced in the testing procedures and precautions necessary for the elimination of any risk involved.  A Responsible Officer must be a University of Adelaide staff member.

    Before hot work is undertaken the Responsible Officer is required to:
    • conduct a risk assessment of planned hot work activities following the University’s Hazard Management process in consultation with the operators;
    • complete the checklist of requirements doc pdf to ensure:
      • no hot work is undertaken in a hazardous area;
      • all combustible/flammable substances are removed from and around the hot work area or can be adequately protected;
      • the area is properly ventilated;
      • all tags, warning signs and the permit to undertake hot work are prominently displayed;
      • fire and emergency systems are in place; and
      • fire/smoke detection systems have been isolated (if applicable)
    • issue a permit number;
    • identify and attach any further permits that may be required e.g. Confined Space Entry, CFS permit;
    • determine if a fire watcher is required;
      Note - If hot work is to be conducted within 15m of any combustible material, the permit must have fire watch procedures in place, including a nominated fire watcher, regardless of protection provided.
    • sign the hot work permit when all criteria specified on the permit has been met; and
    • ensure that each person associated with hot work is conversant with the precautions to be taken as specified on the hot work permit and with the safety requirements of the site.

    During hot work the Responsible Officer is required to:
    • supervise the hot work from commencement to completion;
    • ensure that only authorised operators enter the hot work site;
    • ensure that hot work is not conducted outside the area specified on the hot work permit;
    • monitor changes in wind direction and any other potential hazards where applicable;
    • immediately stop the work and withdraw the hot work permit, if a hazardous situation is observed or in the event of an emergency situation;
    • remain onsite for the duration of the hot work activity; and
    • amend the current hot work permit in the event that:
      • the hot work is to extend beyond the currency of the permit; or
      • ceases for a period of more than 2 hours; or
      • the work location changes.
    • sign/initial all changes on the permit.

    On completion of hot work the Responsible Officer is required to:
    • dispose of any contaminants (including cleaning fluids/materials in preparation for the hot work and after the hot work has been completed) following the University Chemical Safety Management process;
    • inspect the site to ensure that no smouldering materials remain and the site is safe;
    • sign the permit to accept that close out requirements have been completed and no further work is authorised;
    • ensure that fire protection systems have been re-activated (where applicable); and
    • maintain a copy of the closed permit on file together with the risk assessment in accordance with the School/Branch Health and Safety records management system (e.g. with the Health and Safety Officer or delegate).
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  • What action should be taken in the event of a fire emergency during hot work?

    In the event of a fire emergency all activities should cease immediately and all equipment turned off.  If it is safe to do so, the fire should be extinguished and any combustibles which could escalate the emergency should be removed.  Operators should alert the Responsible Officer as soon as possible.  The Responsible Officer should ensure that a watch is maintained in the area of the fire until it is considered that re-ignition is not possible. They should also ensure that no further work is carried out until effective fire equipment is available for use (e.g. Additional extinguishers obtained).

    If the fire cannot be extinguished immediately, the Responsible Officer should ensure that the Fire Service are notified (0) 000, in addition to Security (ext 35444) and notify the HSW Team.

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  • How do I report an Hot Work incident?

    Ensure circumstances contributing to the fire and the results from any subsequent investigation are recorded in accordance with the University’s Incident Near Miss Reporting and Investigation process.

    In the event of a fire, notify the HSW Team as soon as practicable.

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Incident Reporting and Investigation

The purpose of these FAQs is to provide information and guidance on incident reporting and investigation and should be read in conjunction with the Incident Reporting and Investigation chapter of the HSW Handbook.

(Printable version)

  • Should I report all incidents/safety issues in the workplace?

    Yes.  It is important that all incidents/safety issues are reported as this enables the circumstances to be reviewed and investigated as appropriate.

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  • What is an incident/safety issue?

    An incident is an event that causes or could cause harm (injury, illness or damage) to persons, plant material or the environment including a “near miss”.

    A safety issue includes a Hazard Notification whereby an uncontrolled hazardous situation is identified which could cause harm.  (e.g. ceiling tiles hanging loose or an electricity failure due to a faulty toaster.)

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  • Who should I notify in the event of an incident or urgent safety issue?

    You should notify the issue to your immediate supervisor or person in control of the activity/area in the first instance if it relates to an activity you are undertaking or is in your area of work.

    If your Supervisor/Manager or person in control is not available and the safety issue is urgent, you should pass the details on to your Health, Safety and Wellbeing Contact.

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  • How do I report an incident/safety issue?

    You can lodge a report and optional photo of the incident/issue directly via the University’s on-line reporting System (UniSafe) using the UniSafe mobile app.  Alternatively you can report the incident/issue via the UniSafe website.

  • What should I do if someone is injured?

    The first step is always to ensure the person involved receives appropriate medical attention, and to ensure the area is safe for others.  If the incident/issue is in your area of work, this should occur in consultation with the Supervisor/person responsible for the area/activity.

    What happens if there is a serious injury (e.g. requiring immediate treatment as an in-patient in a hospital) or dangerous incident (e.g. a person is exposed to a serious risk of injury from an immediate or imminent exposure to an incident/safety issue, regardless of whether they are injured or not)?

    Immediately after the person involved has been transported for treatment (e.g. by ambulance) and/or the area made safe (including preservation and securing of the site), the Manager/Supervisor should immediately notify the Senior HSW Advisor or Associate Director, HSW.

    The University is required by the WHS legislation to notify SafeWork SA of certain serious incidents.  The definition of what is considered to be a notifiable incident is included in the Incident reporting and investigation chapter of the HSW Handbook.  (Safe work Australia also provide an Incident Notification Information Sheet which can assist in determining the mandatory reporting requirements and also provides a number of different examples of what it does and doesn’t include.)

    The Associate Director, HSW/Senior HSW Advisor will determine if the incident falls within the definition and will need the following factual information from the relevant area in the first instance.

    • Where and when.
    • What work was being performed at the time of the incident.
    • What happened.
    • What plant/equipment was being used at the time.
    • What caused the incident/injury.
    • Who was involved and their contact details.
    • The details of the injuries and if they required immediate treatment in hospital where and if admitted (if applicable).

    For noting: It is important to note, that In addition to immediate treatment as an in-patient in hospital and an obvious serious injury/or illness, medical treatment within 48 hours of exposure to a substance is also a notifiable incident.

    A substance includes exposure to:

      • chemicals;
      • airborne contaminants; and
      • exposure to human and/or animal blood and body substances.

    Medical treatment also includes any treatment provided by a doctor for exposures where prophylactic “medical treatment” has been provided within 48 hours of exposure.  This includes post exposure treatment prophylaxis for HIV, lyssavirus, tetanus etc following a needlestick or exposure to human or animal blood/body substances.

    Therefore Managers/Supervisors need to be cognizant of the fact that there is an extended 48 hr period for some incidents which will require monitoring and reporting where required.

    Following the incident/injury report, the investigation will require a comprehensive report which includes in addition to the above:

      • What was identified during the investigation as contributing factors (i.e. causes);
      • Copies of relevant risk assessments and safe operating procedures (if applicable);
      • Copies of any instruction/training records (if applicable);
      • What corrective action is planned (these should address the contributing factors);
      • What corrective action has been completed to prevent a recurrence (including revised risk assessments and safe operating procedures (if applicable).

    SafeWork SA may/may not attend on site.  If the University is advised that they will be attending, under normal circumstances, representatives from the HSW Team and relevant School/Branch/Area would be present.

    The post incident investigation should be completed in accordance with the HSW Handbook chapter Incident reporting and investigation.  Updates and provision of documents to SafeWork SA may be required as part of their investigation.

  • What should I do next?

    If you have lodged a formal report, your local HSWO or the relevant HSWO (if a different area), will review the incident details provided and may ask some additional questions.  Further full investigation of the incident/safety issue may occur, depending on the nature of the incident/issue and level of risk.

    For further information

    Should you require any information please contact your HSW contact as a priority, as failing to report a notifiable incident is an offence under the WHS Act and penalties apply.

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Infectious and Communicable Diseases

The purpose of these FAQs is to provide assistance to individuals and Schools/Branches on what steps to take when dealing with a communicable or infectious disease. This information does not cover working with infectious material, for information on this please refer to the relevant risk assessment/Safe Operating Procedures, Biological Safety Management and Australian Standard 2243 (2010) Safety in Laboratories Part 3: Microbiological Safety and Containment.

(Printable version)

Injury Management - Mental Health Advice and Support

To provide Managers/Supervisors, staff and students with some practical guidance on how to support a staff member or student who may need assistance in relation to a mental health illness.

(Printable version)

  • What resources are available to Managers/Supervisors, staff and students should advice and/or support be required in relation to mental health illness?

    The University is committed to providing ongoing support to staff and students with a mental illness and provides a variety of pathways to access information, advice and direct assistance, as each person’s needs are different.

    A comprehensive website “Mental Health Awareness” has been built to provide the University community with support and resources ranging from:
    • direct, immediate intervention and emergency support for urgent issues;
    • online materials aimed at improving and developing the capacity of individuals;
    • practical tookits (i.e. Mental Health Toolkit for Supervisors) on how to support a staff member who may need assistance coping at work;
    • information on how to access free counselling services through either Student life counselling services or the Employee Assistance Program (for staff and their immediate family);
    • disability support for staff and students with a permanent or temporary medical issue through the provision of reasonable workplace adjustments;
    • access to a number of positive psychology strategies through the “Thrive” webpage which looks at how positive emotion, improving engagement, building relationships, looking after your body will assist people to be more resilient, enjoy life more and reach their full potential;
    • online training modules for all staff members, which clarifies the why, when and how to act when you are concerned about a student’s mental health. Topics include suicide risks and safety, responding to students in distress or those who show concerning or challenging behaviours;
    • a wellbeing framework which looks at opportunities and options under four key areas (1) Healthy mind: (2) Healthy bodies; (3) Healthy places: and (4) Healthy culture;
    • an Injury Management, rehabilitation and workers compensation service and processes which support staff who have a work or non-work related injury or illness. The processes support employees with a mental health illness and set out arrangements to enable them to stay or return to work; and
    • information on wellbeing events, activities and resources including tips, university wellbeing promotions and links to external websites including Beyond Blue, RU OK, Lifeline, Conversations Matter and New Access.

    The support arrangements and resources provided combine both individual and organisational strategies. They encourage openness, raise awareness and reiterate that everyone has a role to play in creating a mentally healthy workplace.

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  • For further information on mental health advice and support, who do I contact?

    Staff: HSW Injury Management and Wellbeing Advisor – 831 35904

    Students: Student Counselling Services – 831 35663

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Injury Management - Rehabilitation for Non-Work-Related Injuries or Illness

Most staff are able to return back to work to their normal duties after a non-work related injury or illness, however, in some circumstances additional support may assist in promoting recovery and a safe return to work.  This information sheet provides some general guidance regarding the support available for a staff member experiencing a non-work-related injury or illness which impacts on their capacity for work.

(Printable version)

Injury Management - Work Related Injuries/Illness

The purpose of these FAQs is to provide answers to frequently asked questions related to Workers Compensation and Injury Management processes at The University of Adelaide.

(Printable version)

  • How do I lodge a claim for Workers Compensation?

    When lodging a claim for workers compensation, a Workers Compensation Claim Form must be completed, signed and returned to the Injury Management and Wellbeing Advisor, Human Resources, together with an accompanying Work Capacity Certificate and any other relevant documentation.  Please contact the University’s Injury Management and Wellbeing Advisor  on extension ph: 8313 5904 if you require assistance.
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  • What are my rights and responsibilities in the Injury Management process?
    Rights:
    • You can expect early and timely intervention by the University in providing recovery and return to work services
    • You can expect the University to actively manage your injury and claim and provide services in a manner consistent with the requirements of the Return to Work Act
    • You can expect the University to cooperate in assisting your recovery and return to work and to reasonably support you in receiving any benefit available under the Return to Work Act
    • To be treated fairly and with integrity, respect and courtesy
    • To choose your own doctor
    • To be provided with assistance in the making of a claim, and where required, information as to where you can access advice, advocacy and support
    • To be provided, where possible, services and information in your preferred language and format, including interpreters and to have your cultural beliefs and values treated with sensitivity and respect
    • To consent to the release and exchange of information between the University, your doctor and treatment providers.
    • To have all documentation relating to your work injury maintained in a confidential manner
    • To be consulted in the development of your suitable duties / recovery and return to work plans
    • To request a review of a decision, where applicable
    • To be supported by another person and to be represented by a union, advocate or lawyer
    • To be able to provide feedback and to access the complaints handling process.

    Your responsibilities are outlined in the Injury Management chapter of the HSW Handbook

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  • Why do I need a Work Capacity Certificate from my doctor?
    This is the documentation the University’s Workers Compensation Claims Manager requires in order to determine and manage your claim.  If accepted the certificates support your entitlement to workers compensation benefits for:
    • time off work that your doctor believes is appropriate for your recovery.
    • reasonable medical treatment your doctor thinks is appropriate for your recovery (e.g. physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, pharmaceutical, surgery, rehabilitation etc.)
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  • I have to travel to attend therapy, medical appointments, etc in order to obtain treatment for my injury/illness. Are travel expenses compensable under workers compensation?

    Yes, reasonable travel expenses are compensable.  You should keep a written record identifying the dates on which you travel, where you travelled from and to and how far you travelled.  Each travel claim may require evidence of attendance at the appointment, usually in the form of a medical account or medical certificate.  The University’s Injury Management and Wellbeing Advisor  will provide you with the reimbursement form on request.  It should be noted that any travel via taxi requires approval by the Claims Manager.  Please contact the University’s Injury Management and Wellbeing Advisor to discuss your request in the first instance on  ph: 8313 5904.

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  • One of my treatment providers sent an account to the University, but it has not been paid. Why?
    If you have an accepted claim you are entitled to the reasonable costs of medical treatment but please note that workers compensation will not pay for or reimburse:
    • treatment or services unrelated to your work-related injury or illness
    • treatment from a person who isn’t appropriately registered, qualified or authorised by Return to Work SA to provide the service.

    If a medical expense is not approved by the Claims Manager you will receive a letter advising of this, however, it is suggested that before you attend appointments for treatment with someone other than your treating doctor, that you contact the Claims Manager or Injury Management and Wellbeing Advisor  to confirm that the treatment and payment will be covered.

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  • I have an accepted workers compensation claim, but my treating doctor asked me to pay the account. What do I do now?

    All accounts, paid or unpaid should be forwarded to the Injury Management and Wellbeing Advisor, Human Resources.  If you have paid the account and it is for approved treatment, the Claims Manager will arrange to reimburse you.

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  • How long does it take to be reimbursed for medical expenses?

    Employees are advised during the initial meeting with the Injury Management and Wellbeing Advisor regarding timeframes for reimbursement of approved medical expenses.  Dependant on the timing of approval in relation to the finance payment cycle, reimbursements generally take between two and four weeks.

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  • I have an accepted workers compensation claim and am not happy with my doctor's advice. What should I do?

    Initially, you should talk to your doctor and express your concerns. If you do not feel comfortable with this approach the Injury Management and Wellbeing Advisor can, with your permission, contact your doctor to try and resolve any problems.  If you are not happy with your doctor's advice and treatment program, you have the right to choose another treating doctor.

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  • I have an accepted workers compensation claim and have been cleared to work full hours, but I still need to attend medical appointments. When should I schedule the appointments?

    There is an expectation that whenever possible, appointments should be made for times outside of working hours.  However if this is not possible, you should consult with your supervisor to determine a mutually suitable arrangement.  For example, starting work a little later or finishing a little earlier when the session is within working hours.  If your course of treatment could last some weeks, sessions can be scheduled in advance, ensuring appropriate times.

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  • What do I do if I disagree with the Claim Manager's decision to reject my workers compensation claim?

    It is recommended that you talk with the Claims Manager or the Associate Director, HSW

    If you remain dissatisfied with the decision you can:
    • lodge your concern or complaint using a University Complaint Report Form.  Further information is provided in the University’s Workers Compensation Complaints Process outlined in the Injury Management chapter Appendix A ; or
    • lodge a Notice of Dispute in the SA Employment Tribunal.  This organisation provides workers, employers and the Claims Manager with a service that facilitates the resolution of workers compensation disputes by involving all parties in an informal process to achieve a fair agreement.  The Claims Manager, Injury Management and Wellbeing Advisor or your Union can assist you with this process. 

    You have the right to legal representation at any time because of an unresolved dispute.  You may choose to be supported through the SA Union’s Workers Compensation Service – Contact SA Unions on 8279 2220 for information.  You don’t need to be a union member to use this service.

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  • I do not like the way the Claims Manager is managing my workers compensation claim. Can I choose another Claims Manager?

    The Claims Manager is engaged under a contract by the University to manage and administer the University’s claims, therefore you cannot choose another Claims Manager.

    However, please be aware that all key decisions in relation to your claim (e.g. determinations, reviews, investigations) are made in accordance with the RTW Act and Regulations and Self-Insurance Standards for Self-Insured Employers, in consultation with the University of Adelaide’s Injury Management Team comprising of:
    • Associate Director, HSW
    • Manager, HSW Policy and Injury Management
    • Injury Management and Wellbeing Advisor.

    If you have any concerns in relation to the way your claim is being managed, please discuss your concerns with the Associate Director, HSW or Manager, HSW Policy and Injury Management.

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  • I have an accepted workers compensation claim and have been referred for an independent medical examination by the Claims Manager. Do I have to go and what is it?

    Sometimes it is necessary to have an independent review of medical information to improve your chances of recovery.  The Claims Manager will make the appointment and let you know the details.  You will need to bring copies of relevant tests, and you need to attend the appointment.  It should be noted that failure to attend an appointment could prejudice your claim for compensation and in particular could result in the discontinuance or suspension of any entitlement you may have to income maintenance payments.  If you can’t attend for a good reason, please contact the Claims Manager as soon as possible.  (Please note that the specialist who conducts the assessment will send a copy of their report to both you and the Claims Manager).

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  • I have an open workers compensation claim. Can my weekly payments (income maintenance) be stopped?

    If you don’t co-operate with your treating doctor, refuse to participate in your rehabilitation or return to work plan, or participate in a way that frustrates the process, your weekly payments may be stopped.

    For example if you:
    • Refuse to follow the requirements set out in your Return to Work plan
    • Refuse to undertake a suitable job or unreasonably quit suitable employment
    • Move interstate, overseas or to an isolated area without the Claims Manager’s consent
    • Do not provide current WorkCapacity Certificates
    • Do not attend medical and rehabilitation appointments as arranged by the Claims Manager.

    The Claims Manager is required by law to give you formal notice of the intention to cease payments.

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  • What is a 'Seriously Injured Worker' in the context of the Return to Work Act (SA) 2014?

    Seriously injured workers are defined as having a work injury that has resulted in a permanent impairment and the degree of impairment has been assessed as 30% or more.

    If you sustain a serious injury at work the University will provide you with:
    • Income support until retirement age
    • 100% notional weekly earnings in the first year
    • 80% notional weekly earnings for subsequent years
    • Lifetime treatment, care and support services.

    Once determined as a seriously injured worker your needs will be assessed by the University’s Claims Manager in consultation with you and your treating medical practitioners. Services will then be provided in accordance with this assessment and your entitlements.

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  • How do I know if I am a Seriously Injured Worker?

    If your injury is likely to be classified as serious, the University’s Claims Manager  will refer you for a whole person impairment assessment (by an accredited impairment assessor) when there is evidence that your injury has stabilised. If the University’s Claims Manager does not refer you and you think that you may require an assessment, you may request one.

    While you are waiting for your injury to stabilise, you may apply to the University to make an interim decision to classify your injury as serious until such time as you are able to undergo a permanent impairment assessment.

    Requests for an assessment or interim assessment as a seriously injured worker can be made by contacting the University’s Claims Manager or Injury Management and Wellbeing Advisor

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  • My treating medical practitioner is recommending a particular course of treatment or equipment (eg physiotherapy, surgery etc). How are these types of services/equipment approved by the University?
    If you have an approved claim and require a particular course of treatment, procedure or equipment (eg course of physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, gym program, surgery etc), the relevant treating practitioner is required to notify the University’s Claims Manager and request approval in advance of that treatment or procedure. This requirement is set out in Section 22 of the Return to Work Regulations 2015 and requires and application that includes:
    • supporting medical evidence
    • details of the claim (including your name,contact details, dob, claim number, injury details (including date and nature of injury), details of the service or equipment forming the basis of the application and details of the reason for making the application.

    Applications for pre-approved treatment or equipment should be made out to the University’s Claims Manager.  Assistance can be provided by the University’s Injury Management and Wellbeing Advisor

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  • In the course of my work related injury some of my property was damaged. Can I be reimbursed?

    If you have an approved claim and, in consequence of the trauma out of which the injury arose, damage occurred to any therapeutic appliances, clothes, or  personal effects you are entitled, subject to limitations prescribed by the Return to Work Regulations (Section 25), to be compensated for  the full amount of the damage (note that this does not extend to damage to a motor vehicle).  The Injury Management and Wellbeing Advisor can assist you with making an application to the University’s Claims Manager for consideration of reimbursement for this damage.

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  • I am currently receiving income maintenance payments and have a Recovery and Return to Work Plan but would like to take some annual leave from the University. Do I need to notify the Claims Manager?

    Yes.  If you are currently receiving income maintenance and have a Recovery and Return to Work Plan in place you need to complete a Consent to Discontinuance of Compensation by way of Income Maintenance form.  This form can be obtained by contacting the Injury Management and Wellbeing Advisor, Human Resources.

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  • Can I go overseas if I'm currently receiving income maintenance?
    Yes, but if you intend to be absent from Australia for a period in excess of 28 days (work or non-work-related) you must notify the Claims Manager or the Injury Management and Wellbeing Advisor, at least 28 days before leaving Australia.  As part of this notification you must provide the following details:
    • The date on which you intend to leave Australia
    • The date on which you intend to return or an estimated duration of absence
    • Details of the places you will be while absent from Australia
    • Contact information
    • Details of any treatment that you intend to receive, or details of any arrangements for treatment that you have made while absent from Australia
    • Details of any employment you intend to undertake or seek while absent from Australia
    • Details of any consultation in relation to the proposed absence that you have undertaken with the University or any other employer (including information as to the outcome of that conversation.

    If the intended absence is for the purposes of annual leave, you must also complete a Consent to Discontinuance of Compensation by way of Income Maintenance form.  This form can be obtained by contacting the Injury Management and Wellbeing Advisor, Human Resources.

    If it is considered that your absence may impair the prospects of the your recovery or return to work, the Claims Manager may, after giving at least 14 days notice, suspend or reduce the weekly payments.

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  • Are there any time limits to workers compensation entitlements?

    If you are going to make a claim for workers compensation you should endeavour to do so as soon as practicable after your injury but it must be made within six months.  Information about how to make a claim can be found in the Injury Management chapter  of the HSW Handbook. The University’s Injury Management and Wellbeing Advisor  can also provide assistance.

    If you suffer an injury which is compensable and are not assessed as being a Seriously Injured Worker (see "What is a 'Seriously Injured Worker' in the context of the Return to Work Act (SA) 2014?"), you may be eligible for:
    • income support to cover your wages for up to two years
    • reasonable and necessary medical expenses:
      • If you have a weekly payment entitlement, medical expenses are able to be paid for a continuous period of 12 months after weekly payments cease.
      • If your claim is for medical expenses only you are entitled to reasonable medical expenses for a continuous period of 12 months from the date of injury.

    The 12 month limitation does not apply to:
    • Seriously injured workers, or
    • Therapeutic appliances required to maintain your capacity.

    Reasonably necessary costs include:
    • The cost of medical services
    • The cost of hospitalization and all associated medical, surgical and nursing services
    • The cost of approved recovery/return to work services
    • The cost of travelling, or being transported to and from any place for the purpose of receiving medical services, hospitalisation or approved recovery/return to work
    • Accommodation
    • Nursing or personal attendance
    • The cost of the provision, maintenance, replacement or repairs of therapeutic appliances
    • The cost of medicines and other material purchased on the prescription or recommendation of a medical expert.
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  • My entitlement to medical expenses is coming to an end. I'm ok now, but my doctor says I'll need surgery in the future. Is this covered?

    Before your entitlement to medical expenses comes to an end you can apply for pre-approval with the Claims Manager for any future surgery that is medically recommended. The reasonable medical costs associated with pre-approved surgery will be covered, along with up to thirteen weeks of income maintenance.  Contact the University’s Injury Management and Wellbeing Advisor  for assistance.

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  • Who can I contact if I have any other questions about work related injuries and illness?

    Any member of the University’s Injury Management Team can be contacted:

    Person Role Contact Number
    Chris Lynch Claims Manager 8210 2800
    Louise Dunn Injury Management and Wellbeing Advisor 8313 5904
    Deb Coulls Manager, HR Policy and Injury Management 8313 0174
    Gerald Buttfield Associate Director, HSW 8313 6079
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Laboratory and Workshop Safety

The purpose of these FAQs is to ensure that there is a consistent approach to basic laboratory and workshop safety, to minimise the risk of injury/illness and to meet the requirements of the Hazard Management chapter of the HSW Handbook.

(Printable version)

  • What should workers do before undertaking a hazardous process or using hazardous laboratory/workshop equipment?
    Prior to undertaking a hazardous process or using laboratory or workshop equipment the worker is to:
    • review or develop any paperwork associated with the task.  This could involve a review of any existing Risk Assessments (RA), safety data sheets (SDS) and Safe Operating Procedures (SOP), if applicable. Or if not already held, completing a risk assessment.  (Refer to your Manager/Supervisor or refer to the Hazard Management chapter of the HSW Handbook for further information on how to conduct a risk assessment).
    • be provided with instruction/training in accordance with the risk assessment.  Training/instruction should include any relevant contingency arrangements i.e. the use of any essential safety equipment, recommended by the SDS, including spill kits, emergency eyewash/shower and who to contact in an emergency situation (e.g. Security, Emergency Services);
    • implement the control measures identified in the risk assessment and follow Safe Operating Procedures (if applicable); and
    • gain approval from the relevant Manager/Supervisor if working alone and out of hours or unsupervised.
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  • In order to minimise the risk of injury, what type of clothing is suitable or not suitable for a laboratory/workshop?
    Suitable Unsuitable
    Sturdy closed in footwear (e.g. boots, runners, closed shoes). Bare feet, thongs, opened heeled shoes, sandals or any shoes which exposes parts of the foot to direct exposure to hazardous chemicals.  Any shoes where an injury would result if an object is dropped on them.
    Clothing which cannot be entangled in plant/equipment or pose any other foreseeable hazard. Unsecured loose clothing or items which may become entangled or pose a hazard. Items such as jewellery, lanyards and ties.
    Clothing that covers your skin is required to be worn when using chemicals. Any clothing which allows direct exposure to the skin from a hazardous chemical.
    Using hair ties to restrain long hair. Unsecured loose hair which may become entangled or pose a hazard.
    Personal protective equipment (PPE) in accordance with the SOP/RA and the laboratory/workshop rules as covered in induction and/or is signposted. Lack of or damaged PPE or to ignore PPE requirements of the SOP/RA or the rules of the laboratory/workshop.
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  • To minimise the risk of injury, what type of general housekeeping and hygiene practices are expected in laboratories/workshops?
    If working in or visiting any laboratories/workshops, please keep in mind that general housekeeping and hygiene practices are necessary, including:
    • to keep aisle and exits free from obstructions and floors tidy and dry;
    • to clean up any spillages immediately, in accordance with the safety data sheet (chemicals) and any Safe Operating Procedures where relevant;
    • to keep benches clean and free from contaminants (e.g. chemicals), sharps and apparatus that are not being used;
    • to keep the interior of fume cupboards and nearby areas clean and clear;
    • to keep access to all emergency equipment e.g. fire extinguishers, first aid kits, chemical spill kits, emergency shower and eye washes free from obstruction;
    • to cover any open skin wound(s);
    • to remove your gloves before touching door handles or light switches;
    • to clean work areas and equipment thoroughly after use;
    • to wash your hands after completion of all work and on leaving the laboratory;
    • never to eat, drink or apply cosmetics, except where they are part of the research/teaching being undertaken;
    • never to store food and/or drink in laboratories/workshops unless it is for use in research/teaching.  Where this is the case, then it must be specifically labelled as such.
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  • Are there any other general safety requirements for a laboratory/workshop to minimise the risk of injury?
    The following rules are to be implemented in all laboratories/workshops:
    • access to laboratories/workshops must be restricted to authorised personnel, please lock the door when leaving the area unattended;
    • personal effects should be stored away from laboratory/workshop work areas;
    • do not dispose of hazardous materials down the drain or in general waste, all waste must be disposed of in accordance with Safety Data Sheets (SDS), University requirements or specific school laboratory rules;
    • do not pipette by mouth, sniff or taste chemicals;
    • do not exceed fume cupboard limits of liquids;
    • do not crowd the fume cupboard with non-essential equipment and chemical containers (as this decreases the effectiveness of the fume cupboards operations);
    • turn off all equipment not in use (where appropriate) and extinguish any open flames when not required for the work being undertaken; and
    • if an experiment is required to left running overnight it must be labelled (name and out of hours contact number).
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  • Where can I go for further information about laboratory and workshop safety?

    HSW Handbook, Hazard Management, Personal Protective Equipment, Emergency Management, Plant/Equipment Safety Management, Chemical Safety Management, Radiation Safety Management and Biological Safety Management sections within this handbook (see Standard 3).

    Australian Standards Log-in using your “a” number and password and then enter the details of the standard in the search field.)

    AS/NZS 2243.1 (2005) Safety in laboratories – Planning and operational aspects
    AS/NZS 2243.2 (2006) Safety in laboratories – Chemical aspects
    AS/NZS 2243.3 (2010) Safety in laboratories – Microbiological safety and containment
    AS/NZS 2243.4 (2018) Safety in laboratories – Ionizing radiations
    AS/NZS 2243.5 (2004) Safety in laboratories – Non-ionizing radiations – Electromagnetic, sound & ultrasound
    AS/NZS 2243.6 (2010) Safety in laboratories – Plant and equipment aspects
    AS/NZS 2243.8 (2014) Safety in laboratories – Fume cupboards
    AS/NZS 2243.9 (2009) Safety in laboratories – Recirculating fume cabinets
    AS/NZS 2243.10 (2004) Safety in laboratories – Storage of chemicals
    AS 4125.1 (2009) Sound laboratory practice in food and water microbiology laboratories – Premises, safety, sample management, regulatory compliance and record management.
    AS 4775 (2007) Emergency eye-wash and shower equipment

    Should you be unable to access any of the abovementioned standards or require further information, please contact the HSW Team.

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Off Campus Activity (including Field Work)

The purpose of these FAQs is to provide information and guidance on how off-campus activities (including but not limited to field trips) related to the University of Adelaide should be planned and managed in accordance with the Hazard Management Chapter of the HSW Handbook.

(Printable version)

  • What activities do the Off Campus Activity (including Field Work) FAQ apply to?
    Off campus activities are University related activities that occur away from a normal University of Adelaide workplace and therefore:
    • are remote to the normal supervisory structure of the University
    • are distant from the University’s emergency management network
    • may involve interaction with worksites and/or infrastructure not owned and maintained by the University
    • requires due consideration of the likely hazards of the site/sites of the activity and how these will be managed.

    Off campus activity includes any activity where either:
    • students attend at or are taken to a location that is not at a University campus or a regular University workplace as part of their curriculum, or
    • workers are attending at or are taken to a location that is not on a University campus or a regular University workplace in the course of their work activity.

    This information has not been designed to apply to the following:
    • Overseas and interstate travel to conferences or visits to other Universities would not normally be considered off campus activity.  The University has specific policy related to travel safety.
    • Where the University of Adelaide has staff collocated in the facilities of another organisation (e.g. major hospitals, SAHMRI, SARDI, etc).  (Note:  Advice on dealing with collocated workplaces can be provided by your local HSW Contact.)
    • Student work placements.
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  • Do all off campus activities require hazard management?

    The consideration and identification of potential hazards should occur at the planning stage of all activities (including off campus activities), but if no hazards can be identified the process should stop there and no further action is required.  
    For example a visit a metropolitan art gallery, museum or law court where it is highly unlikely that foreseeable hazards will exist.  Activities like these should be considered inherently safe and it should occur with no further hazard management.

    Conversely an off campus activity at a metropolitan National Park or on the coastline (e.g. Belair, Morialta, Hallett Cove) where it is foreseeable that hazards may exist and you would be responsible for the first response to any medical emergency would require further hazard consideration and management of identified hazards.

    Refer to Appendix A “Off-Campus Safety Management - Decision Tool” to assist you to determine if a Risk Assessment is required.

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  • What do I need to consider when planning an off campus activity?

    Hazard Management is the key focus from a safety perspective where the activity involves any safety hazards or risks.  A hazard management tool (Appendix B doc pdf) has been provided to assist you to identify hazards, and then assess and control the foreseeable risks.  The Hazard Management Handbook chapter also outlines requirements and responsibilities.

    It is advisable (and may save considerable time) to discuss with your colleagues whether  this or a similar activity has been conducted previously.  If it has, you should be able to review previous safety documentation including debrief notes/recommendations and or previous incidents.  Alternatively you may be able to talk with the person who previously coordinated the activity to ascertain if there were any issues, incidents/injuries, or specific control measures used to ensure the event was conducted safely.

    Planning an off campus activity will by its nature usually need additional focus on three key issues:
    • Transportation – how will workers and students get safely to and from the activity?
    • First aid and emergency contingencies – what access is there to first aid and emergency services?
    • Communications – what communications tools are available and what are the key emergency contacts?
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  • What do I need to consider prior to or on commencement of an off campus activity?
    When the off campus activity involves an identified hazard/s:
    • Check that any safety equipment (or other items identified as controls in a risk assessment or safety management plan) is available and in working order. (e.g. first aid kits, communications devices)
    • Brief and induct any workers who will be working at/on the activity.
    It is important all people involved in the activity (including students, volunteers and contractors) are inducted to an appropriate level to ensure they understand key pieces of information such as:
    • the hazards (if any) they may need to be aware of
    • how to access amenities and first aid, and
    • the emergency procedures for the event.

    Provision of information - Induction

    An Induction checklist (Appendix C doc pdf) has been provided to assist you with induction.  Alternatively Schools/Branches may create a hand-out/flier or send an email to participants, which includes the relevant safety information for that off-campus activity.

    It is recommended that the supervisor for the activity refers to the HSW Handbook chapter Provision of HSW information, instruction and training, to determine what system for induction is to be put in place and when individual induction records are required to be kept on file. (e.g. where the activity requires the use of, or exposure to Hazardous Chemicals; or the activity has been risk assessed as “high” residual risk, or a level of proficiency/competency is required in order to complete the activity safely.)

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  • What should I do if there is an accident or incident during an off campus activity?
    Ensure the accident or incident is reported to the person supervising the activity so that they can ensure that:
    • appropriate action can be taken;
    • serious incidents/injuries can be advised to the School/Branch as soon as possible.

    The School/Branch should notify:
    • the HSW Team immediately on becoming aware of any injury or incident that may be notifiable under the WHS regulations (e.g. treatment as an inpatient in hospital for a serious head, eye, spinal injury, chemical exposure or a dangerous occurrence, such as an uncontrolled spill or leak of a substance, an uncontrolled explosion or an electric shock.)
    • the Legal and Risk Insurance Officer (ext 34539 as soon as practicable) where the issue might result in an insurance claim. (e.g. vehicle accident, or cover for losses experienced while on authorised travel.)
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  • What might I need to consider doing after an off campus activity?

    It is important to report any incidents, accidents or near misses that occurred during the off campus activity in accordance with the HSW Handbook Chapter – Report a safety incident or issue.

    It is often useful for larger off campus activities to arrange a debrief after the completion of the activity to record any findings/recommendations that may assist with planning the same or similar activities into the future.  Ideally recommendations are recorded and attached to other documentation related to the activity such as the risk assessment.  This will make running the same or similar activities easier in future and provide information that may be required for local reporting purposes.  A debrief template (Appendix D doc pdf) has been provided to assist where a debrief is considered appropriate.

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  • What safety records would be expected to be created in relation to an off campus activity?

    The following records would be created in accordance with the relevant chapters of the HSW Handbook:

    Record HSW Handbook Chapter
    Incident and Hazard Reports (where one was reported) Report a safety issue or incident
    Risk assessment (where a hazard is identified) Hazard Management
    Induction records (where required) Provision of information, instruction and training
    Note: There may be other documentation related to the specific nature of the off campus activity e.g. Boating, Diving, Firearms, Plant, Chemical, Contractors, etc.
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  • What might I need to consider in relation to the provision of food during an off campus activity?

    Where an off campus activity involves individual or group self-catering (e.g. camping) consideration should be given to food safety including but not limited to appropriate storage, refrigeration and hygiene.  The Food Act 2001 (SA) may apply where food is being supplied and cooked by workers of the University and should be consulted if you intend to cater to workers or others (students) during an off campus activity.  It is recommended that where the off campus activity involves catering to a group of people consideration be given to enabling meals to be purchased from a venue (i.e. café, pub, take-away or dine in restaurant) or by hiring a catering service.

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  • What might I need to consider in relation to alcohol consumption at an off campus activity?
    Alcohol can exacerbate existing hazards and may introduce other issues that will need to be managed in relation to an off campus activity.  Serious consideration should be given to setting and monitoring clear rules related to alcohol consumption during off campus activities.  If alcohol consumption is permitted during an off campus activity (including outside of normal working hours) consideration must be given to:
    • The University’s Alcohol Management and Use Policy
    • ensuring operators of plant (inc. vehicles) will not be affected, impaired or fatigued such as to cause a hazard
    • ensuring at least one individual is able to act (including provision of first aid and being able to drive) in an emergency situation
    • strategies to avoid the excessive intake of alcohol that may lead to the students or workers being a risk to themselves or others.

    It should be noted that the service of alcohol in South Australia is regulated by the state government under the Liquor Licencing Act (1997).  The University of Adelaide has an Alcohol Management and Use Policy to assist the University community to understand what their responsibilities are should they plan to serve alcohol in relation to any activity.  If the venue for the off campus activity is not covered by an existing liquor licence and it is intended to serve or supply alcohol you may need to apply to the state government regulator for a limited licence for your off campus activity (https://www.cbs.sa.gov.au/licensing-and-registration/liquor/).

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  • What might I need to consider in relation to transportation to and from an off campus activity?
    Good vehicle safety practices should be adhered to at all times whether on or off-road.  See Vehicle Safety Management FAQs.
    • No person should ever be permitted to travel in the open tray of a utility or trailer. 
    • When loading a vehicle prior to off campus travel it is important to secure any items that could become a projectile in a vehicle accident.
    • Fatigue has been identified as a factor in a number of vehicle incidents during the return trip from an off campus activity.  Long periods of driving or substantial drives at the end of a long working day should be avoided.   Serious consideration must be given to ensuring drivers are well rested and in a fit state to drive.

    Allowing undergraduate students to drive themselves to and from field camps is generally discouraged as it reduces your ability to control the hazards associated with the travel.

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  • Is training required for staff involved in off campus activities?

    In some circumstances various types of training might be useful prior to undertaking off campus activities.  In particular training related to the use of communications equipment, vehicles or first aid may be important as controls to mitigate particular risks.  Where training is provided it should be recorded in accordance with the HSW Handbook Chapter Training Plan.  If you are unsure discuss the types of training that might be useful with your supervisor or your Health, Safety and Wellbeing Officer.

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  • Are there other University related documents/resources I should be aware of relating to Off Campus Activity?
  • Where can I find more information on Off Campus Activities?

    If you would like more information please contact your local HSW contact.

Personal Protective Equipment - Eye Protection

The purpose of these FAQs is to provide information on personal protective equipment (PPE) which may be required to minimise an eye risk at work.
Specific requirements may be outlined in the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations 2012 (SA) and Approved Codes of Practice.  The references to the standards and resources have been included in these FAQs.
This information should be read in conjunction with the Hazard Management Handbook chapter.
Personal Protective Equipment is the least effective control measure.  This is because users have to remember to wear it, and it does nothing to minimise the underlying hazard.  For these reasons, higher level controls must first be considered.

(Printable version)

  • When should eye protection be considered as a control measure?

    Where a risk of injury or illness still remains after all other control measures have been applied, a School/Branch may be able to further minimise the remaining risk, by the provision and use of suitable PPE to prevent damage to the eyes. Refer WHS Regulations 2012 (SA) [36].

    Generally this would be applied as a result of:
    • the School/Branch mandating the use of eye protection upon entry to the area as a general precaution such as in a workshop or laboratory, based on a reasonable assessment of the hazards in the area. 
    • a risk assessment for a task or process.

    Where eye protection is mandatory prior to entering an area, appropriate signage complying with AS 1319 (1994) “Safety signs for the occupational environment” must be displayed. Examples of approved signage:

    Where eye protection has been mandated, there is a responsibility to ensure it is being worn. This responsibility applies to the person who has made the mandate and their delegates e.g. Head of School/Branch and Supervisors.

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  • Can I use my prescription glasses as eye protection?

    Standard prescription glasses e.g. reading glasses are not considered suitable for eye protection as they do not provide any side protection. Standard prescription glasses may be worn when also wearing safety glasses which have been designed to fit over the top of prescription glasses.

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  • What are some examples of hazards that require eye protection?

    Please refer to Table 1 and Table 2 for a list of hazardous activities and options to control the hazards arising from them.

    Table 1

    Hazardous activities and recommended eye protectors
    (extract from AS/NZS 1336 Eye and face protection - Guidelines)
    Typical processes giving rise to eye hazards Hazard (of the process) Typical methods of controlling hazards Suitable type of eye protectors (See Table 2)
    Workshop and Trade Work
    Manual chipping, riveting, spalling, hammering, handling wire and brick cutting Flying fragments and objects with low velocity or low mass Fixed or mobile screens Low impact
    Note: Medium impact (marked I) and high impact (marked V) will give greater protection
    Machine disc cutting of materials, scaling, grinding and machining metals, certain wood working operations, stone dressing Small flying particles with medium velocity or medium mass Fixed or mobile screens, exhaust systems, dust extractors, water Medium impact (marked I)
    Note: High impact (marked V) will give greater protection
    Use of explosive powered tools High velocity particles Fixed or mobile screens High impact (marked V)
    Timber sanding, textile trades, some chemical works, leather buffing Airborne dusts For indoor work - exhaust systems, dust extractors, suction conveyors
    For outdoor work - damping down of work area, sealing of dusty surfaces, use of large fixed or mobile screens
    Dust resistant (marked D) gas resistant (marked G)
    Pickling baths, metal cleaning, plating, handling corrosives Liquid splash of harmful liquids and corrosives Screens, catchments, splashguards, overflows, tilting apparatus and splash trays

     

     

    Splash resistant (marked C)
    Chemical processes, spray painting, aerosols Hazardous gases or vapours Enclosures and exhaust systems, screens, catchments Gas resistant (marked G)
    Chemical processes, spray painting, aerosols Hazardous liquid splashes Splashguards, overflows, tilting apparatus and splash trays Splash resistant (marked C)
    Welding, cutting, brazing, furnace work Visible, Ultra Violet and Infra Red radiation Fixed or mobile screens Marked in accordance with AS/NZS 1338 Parts 1, 2 or 3 as appropriate.
    Welding goggles or welding helmets with rearward facing indirect ventilation
    Manual chipping, riveting, spalling, hammering, handling wire and brick cutting Flying fragments and objects with low velocity or low mass Fixed or mobile screens Low impact
    Note: Medium impact (marked I) and high impact (marked V) will give greater protection
    Machine disc cutting of materials, scaling, grinding and machining metals, certain wood working operations, stone dressing Small flying particles with medium velocity or medium mass Fixed or mobile screens, exhaust systems, dust extractors, water Medium impact (marked I)
    Note: High impact (marked V) will give greater protection
    Use of explosive powered tools High velocity particles Fixed or mobile screens High impact (marked V)

    Table 2

    Recommended eye protectors to control residual risk

    Identification of eye protector and eye protector marking See AS/NZS 1337) Type of eye protector Purpose and application of eye protection
    Low Impact
    Low impact Safety spectacles, including side shields to provide additional protection Frontal protection to the eyes from low energy flying fragments and objects. Tinted lenses will provide a degree of protection from glare. Metal frames not suitable for electrical hazards.
    Wide vision goggles, with direct ventilation Frontal protection to the eyes from low energy flying fragments and objects. Tinted lenses will provide a degree of protection from glare. Metal frames not suitable for electrical hazards. Some types may be worn over prescription spectacles.
    Face shield, including neck guard to provide additional protection Protection provided to eyes, face, forehead and front of neck from low energy flying fragments and small particles. Tinted lenses will provide a degree of protection from glare.
    Low impact [marked C - splash resistant - optional] [marked D - dust resistant - optional] Wide vision goggles, with indirect ventilation Frontal protection to the eyes from low energy flying fragments and objects. Tinted lenses will provide a degree of protection from glare. Metal frames not suitable for electrical hazards. Splash or dust protection where marked.
    Hood and helmet incorporating an eye shield or face shield 'All round' protection to the eyes, head and neck from flying fragments and small particles. Respiratory protection may be provided (see AS/NZS 1715 and AS/NZS 1716). Splash or dust protection where marked.
    Medium Impact
    Medium impact [marked I - medium impact resistant] Wide vision safety spectacles incorporating side protection Frontal and side protection to the eyes from medium energy flying particles. Tinted lenses will provide a degree of protection from glare.
    Wide vision goggles, with direct and indirect ventilation All round' protection to the eyes from medium energy flying particles. Tinted lenses will provide a degree of protection from glare.
    Face shield, including neck guard to provide additional protection Provide protection to the eyes, face, forehead and front of neck from medium energy flying particles. Tinted lenses will provide a degree of protection from glare.
    Hood and helmet incorporating an eye shield or face shield 'All round' protection to the eyes, head and neck from medium energy flying particles. Tinted lenses will provide a degree of protection from glare.
    High Impact
    High impact [marked V - high impact resistant] Face shield, including neck guard to provide additional protection Provide protection to the eyes, face, forehead and front of neck from medium energy flying particles. Tinted lenses will provide a degree of protection from glare. Also from high energy flying fragments and small particles.
    Specific Substances
    Molten metal [marked M - molten metal resistant] Face shield and wire mesh screens with plastic lenses, including neck guard to provide additional
    protection
    Provide protection to the eyes, face, forehead and front of neck from medium energy flying particles. Tinted lenses will provide a degree of protection from glare. Also providing protection from molten metal and hot solids.
    Splashes [marked C - splash resistant] Wide vision goggles, with indirect ventilation Frontal protection to the eyes from low energy flying fragments and objects. Tinted lenses will provide a degree of protection from glare. Metal frames not suitable for electrical hazards. Splash or dust protection where marked and also providing protection from harmful liquids.
    Face shield or hood Protection provided to eyes, face, forehead and front of neck from low energy flying fragments and small particles. Tinted lenses will provide a degree of protection from glare.
    OR
    'All round' protection to the eyes, head and neck from flying fragments and small particles. Respiratory protection may be provided (see AS/NZS 1715 and AS/NZS 1716). Splash or dust protection where marked, and also providing protection from harmful liquids and splashing materials.
    Dust [marked D -dust resistant] Goggles, all types, with indirect ventilation Frontal protection to the eyes from low energy flying fragments and objects. Tinted lenses will provide a degree of protection from glare. Metal frames not suitable for electrical hazards. Splash or dust protection where marked and also providing protection against dust particles and aerosols.
    Gas [marked G - gas resistant] Goggles, all types, without ventilation Frontal protection to the eyes from low energy flying fragments and objects. Tinted lenses will provide a degree of protection from glare. Metal frames not suitable for electrical hazards. Splash or dust protection where marked and also providing protection against harmful gases and vapours.
    Specific Substances
    Non-ionising radiation [marked with Shade No.]

    Safety spectacles with filter lenses and opaque side shields

    Depending on filter used will provide protection, e.g. for welders' assistants against ultraviolet or infrared radiation.
    (a) AS 1338.1, Table 2.2 for gas welding filters (up to shade 3).
    (b) AS 1338.2 for ultraviolet filters.
    (c) AS 1338.3 for infrared filters.

    Non-ionising radiation [marked with Shade No.] Goggle, opaque frames, with indirect ventilation Depending on filter used will provide protection for gas welding and ultraviolet or infrared radiation. For recommended filters, see
    (a) AS 1338.1, Table 2.2 for gas welding filters
    (b) AS 1338.2 for ultraviolet filters
    (c) AS 1338.3 for infrared filters
    Welding helmets all types and hand shields Depending on filter used will provide protection for arc welding. For recommended filters, see AS 1338.1 for Arc welding filters.
    Laser Safety spectacles or goggles, incorporating optical filters See AS/NZS IEC 60825.14 Safety of laser products – part 14: a user’s guide.
    Ionising radiation (Beta only) Safety spectacles made of polycarbonate or other plastic Plastic lens will provide significant absorption of beta radiation. See AS 2243.4 Safety in Laboratories, part 4, Ionizing Radiations
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  • What instruction may be needed for eye protection?

    Workers may need to be instructed by their Manager/Supervisor or by the person directing the work, on the nature of the work and how to implement the control measures.  The instruction includes the selection of eye protection of a suitable size, fit and comfort for the individual, prior to commencing the task/activity.

    Instruction could be provided either:
    • during the local induction if the task/activity is conducted on a regular basis; or
    • prior to conducting the activity if it is a new task/activity.  
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  • What are the maintenance requirements for eye protection?

    Where workers are required to wear eye protection, the School/Branch is required under WHS Regulation 44 to ensure that the equipment is maintained, repaired and/or replaced so that it continues to minimise the risk to the worker who uses it. This includes ensuring that the PPE is clean and hygienic.

    Where a maintenance regime for any PPE exists, refer to the Schedule of Programmable Events chapter.  A pre-use inspection should always be conducted to ensure that the PPE is in good working order.

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  • Where can I obtain further information about eye protection?

Personal Protective Equipment - Hand Protection

The purpose of these FAQs is to provide information on personal protective equipment (PPE) which may be required to minimise a hand risk at work.
Specific requirements may be outlined in the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations 2012 (SA) and Approved Codes of Practice.  The references to the standards and resources have been included in these FAQs.
This information should be read in conjunction with the Hazard Management Handbook chapter.
Personal Protective Equipment is the least effective control measure.  This is because users have to remember to wear it, and it does nothing to minimise the underlying hazard.  For these reasons, higher level controls must first be considered.

(Printable version)

Personal Protective Equipment - Head and Face Protection

The purpose of these FAQs is to provide information on personal protective equipment (PPE) which may be required to minimise an head or face risk at work.
Specific requirements may be outlined in the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations 2012 (SA) and Approved Codes of Practice.  The references to the standards and resources have been included in these FAQs.
This information should be read in conjunction with the Hazard Management Handbook chapter.
Personal Protective Equipment is the least effective control measure.  This is because users have to remember to wear it, and it does nothing to minimise the underlying hazard.  For these reasons, higher level controls must first be considered.

(Printable version)

  • When should head and/or face protection be considered as a control measure?

    Where a risk of injury or illness still remains after all other control measures have been applied, a School/Branch may be able to further minimise the remaining risk, by the provision and use of suitable PPE to prevent damage to the head and/or face. Refer WHS Regulations 2012 (SA) [36].

    Generally this would be applied as a result of:
    • the School/Branch mandating the use of head and/or face protection upon entry to the area as a general precaution such as in a workshop or laboratory, based on a reasonable assessment of the hazards in the area.
    • a risk assessment for a task or process, e.g. the use of hazardous chemicals where specific PPE would be prescribed to manage the hazard e.g. type of goggles, face shield, hood or helmet, screens or exhaust systems.  This risk assessment should take into account the environment that the worker is in e.g. communicating with others in the area who may also need to wear PPE.

    Typically head protection would be considered as a control measure where there is a risk of a person:
    • being struck on the head by a falling object;
    • striking his/her head against a fixed object; or
    • making head contact with electrical hazards.

    Typically  face protection would be considered as a control measure where a person may be at risk of coming into contact with:
    • hazardous chemicals, infectious substances, gasses or vapours (e.g. being splashed);
    • flying objects (e.g. where tools or machines may cause particles or debris to fly);
    • UV radiation (e.g. from welding or excessive exposure to direct sunlight);
    • excessive heat.

    Where head and/or face protection is mandatory in an area, appropriate signage complying with AS 1319 (1994) “Safety signs for the occupational environment” must be displayed. Examples of approved signage:

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  • What types of head and/or face protection are available?

    From AS/NZS 1800:1998 “Occupational protective helmets – Selection, care and use”

    • Type 1—Industrial: This type of helmet was formerly known as the industrial safety helmet.
      It is suitable for work in the construction industry and engineering.
    • Type 2 — High temperature workplaces.
    • Type 3 — Bushfire fighting.

    NOTE:  Different optional or additional design and performance requirements are specified in AS/NZS 1801 (1997) “Occupational protective helmets”.  They may be specifically requested by a user, e.g. a Type 1 helmet intended to be worn by people engaged in underground mining may have retro-reflective marking and use specific accessories (see AS/NZS 1800:1998- Appendix A).

    In some cases, the helmet is not intended to be used by itself but only together with other personal protective equipment, such as with a face shield and a powered air purifying respirator.  In order for the respirator to comply with AS/NZS 1716 “Respiratory protective devices” and the face shields to comply with AS/NZS 1337 “Personal eye protection”, all components of the system should be used together. The manufacturer’s instructions should be followed, especially as to the compatibility of spare parts.

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  • What are the best techniques for care of safety helmets?

    From AS/NZS 1800:1998 “Occupational protective helmets – Selection, care and use”

    • Follow the manufacturer's cleaning and maintenance instructions.
    • Destroy any helmets that receive any significant impact, damage or deterioration to the shell.  
      (Attention is drawn to the fact that helmets complying with AS/NZS 1801 (1997) “Occupational protective helmets” are required to contain a safety warning regarding damage due to impact and deterioration.)
    • Discard any helmets with excessive discolouration of the shell colour, weathering of the surface which may indicate a loss of strength, with splitting or cracking of the material.
    • Mark the helmet with the date of issue to the wearer.
    • Note: field tests have shown helmet shells generally have a life of at least three years from the time of issue. Components of harnesses (webbing support inside the helmet) may deteriorate more rapidly in service and harnesses should, therefore, be replaced at intervals not longer than two years.  For helmets that are used infrequently and stored away from sunlight, dirt and temperature extremes, this guideline/recommendation may not be applicable.
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  • What should I avoid doing to safety helmets to improve their longevity?
    The following practices are considered detrimental to the safe working life and performance of the helmet and should be avoided:
    • Storage or placement of helmets near any window, particularly the rear window of motor vehicles through which excessive heat can be generated.  NOTE: Helmets placed on the rear window ledge of motor vehicles may also become dangerous missiles in the event of an accident or when sudden braking occurs.
    • The helmet may be damaged and rendered ineffective by petroleum and petroleum products, cleaning agents, paints or adhesives and similar products, without the damage being visible to the user.  Before any application of adhesive tape, advice should be sought to ensure that the tape adhesive will not degrade the shell material.  Generally, self-adhesive pads or stickers have been found not to affect the shell material adversely.
    • Aerosol sprays, such as insect repellents, may also damage and render the helmet ineffective without the damage being visible to the user.
    • Alteration, distortion or damage to the shell, e.g. splits and cracks, or to the harness, especially if such alteration reduces the clearance between the shell and the wearer’s head (Note – harness refers to the complete assembly by which the helmet is maintained in position on the head).
    • The use of safety helmets for any other purpose than that for which they are designed, e.g. as seats, liquid receptacles or wheel chocks.
    • The practice of carrying any object inside the helmet when it is being worn, e.g. cigarette lighters, matches, pens or disposable respirators.
    • The use of a harness (webbing support inside the helmet) other than that specified by the manufacturer, i.e. another make or model.
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  • Can I alter a safety helmet?
    Any unauthorised alterations to helmets, e.g. drilling of holes in helmets, should not be made, as such alterations:

    Accordingly, where alterations to a helmet are contemplated, advice should be sought from the manufacturer.

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  • What instruction may be needed for head and face protection?

    Where a risk assessment control measure includes the requirement to wear or use head and/or face protection, it is important that workers are instructed by their Manager/Supervisor or the person who is directing the work, on the nature of the work and how to implement the control measures. Instructions should also include the selection of a suitable size, fit and comfort for the individual, prior to commencing the activity.

    Instruction could be provided either:
    • during the local induction if the task/activity is conducted on a regular basis; or
    • prior to conducting the activity if it is a new task/activity.  
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  • Who is responsible for the maintenance requirements for head and face protection?

    Where workers are required to wear head and/or face protection, the School/Branch is required under WHS Regulation 44 to ensure that the equipment is maintained, repaired and/or replaced so that it continues to minimise the risk to the worker who uses it. This includes ensuring that the PPE is clean and hygienic.

    Where a maintenance regime for any PPE exists, refer to the Schedule of Programmable Events chapter.  A pre-use inspection should always be conducted to ensure that the PPE is in good working order.

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  • Where can I obtain further information about head and face protection?
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Personal Protective Equipment - Hearing Protection

The purpose of these FAQs is to provide information on personal protective equipment (PPE) which may be required to minimise a hearing risk at work.
Specific requirements may be outlined in the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations 2012 (SA) and Approved Codes of Practice.  The references to the standards and resources have been included in these FAQs.
This information should be read in conjunction with the Hazard Management Handbook chapter.
Personal Protective Equipment is the least effective control measure.  This is because users have to remember to wear it, and it does nothing to minimise the underlying hazard.  For these reasons, higher level controls must first be considered.

(Printable version)

  • When should hearing protection be considered as a control measure?

    Where a risk of injury or illness still remains after all other control measures have been applied, a School/Branch may be able to further minimise the remaining risk, by the provision and use of suitable PPE to prevent damage to hearing. Refer WHS Regulations 2012 (SA) [36].

    Generally this would be applied as a result of:
    • the School/Branch mandating the use of hearing protection upon entry to the area as a general precaution such as in a workshop or laboratory, based on a reasonable assessment of the hazards in the area. 
    • a risk assessment for a task or process, e.g. the use of hazardous chemicals where specific PPE would be prescribed to manage the hazard e.g. type of goggles, gloves, face shield, hood or helmet, screens or exhaust systems.  This risk assessment should take into account the environment that the worker is in e.g. communicating with others in the area who may also need to wear PPE.

    Where hearing protection is mandatory in an area, appropriate signage complying with AS 1319 (1994) “Safety signs for the occupational environment” must be displayed. Examples of approved signage:

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  • When is audiometric testing required?

    Where workers are frequently required to wear hearing protection as an identified control, audiometric testing will be required. See the Noise and Sound Safety Management chapter for more information.

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  • Are there noise volume limits?
    Yes. In accordance with the WHS Regulations 2012 (SA)  [56] the exposure standards to noise, measured in decibels (dB), are as follows:
    • Limit of 85dB(A) over an 8 hour working day;
      (Exposures will vary based on the location and activity, however as a guide consider that the limit of 85dB(A) over 8 hrs is also the equivalent of a continuous exposure of 88dB(A) over 4 hours, 91 dB(A) over 2 hours, 94dB(A) over 1 hr, 97dB(A) over 30 minutes, 100dB(A) over 15 minutes.); and
    • Peak of 140dB(C) sound pressure. (The impulse noise should not exceed 140dB(C) at any instant in time).

    If you believe that you are approaching these levels, please refer to the Noise and Sound Safety Management chapter.

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  • What types of hearing protection are available?

    Earplugs

    Earplugs are available in three types:
    • Disposable, which are for single use and the cheapest option.
    • Pre-shaped, which cover or insert into the auditory canal. These are reusable and washable.
    • Custom moulded earplugs, which are made-to-measure and are the most effective.

    Disposable and Pre-shaped
    Advantages of disposable and pre-shaped earplugs:
    • Easily available and fit most users.
    • No additional load on the head (such as with earmuffs).
    • More comfortable in a warm environment than earmuffs.
    • Minimal or no interference with other PPE.
    • Directional hearing is not affected.

    Disadvantages of disposable and pre-shaped earplugs:
    • Level of protection is very dependent on correct fitting.
    • Can come loose slowly, so regular re-fitting is needed.
    • Can be uncomfortable due to the pressure in the ear canal.
    • Limited choice in noise reduction levels.
    • Proper function can be dependent on ear canal geometry.

    Custom-moulded earplugs
    Advantages of custom-moulded earplugs:
    • Maximal wearing comfort.
    • Easy and safe to fit.
    • Provide a high level of protection.
    • Availability of materials to achieve the best level of noise reduction and sound perception.
    • Practical in dirty environments.

    Disadvantages of custom-moulded earplugs:
    • Require a production time before they are available for use.
    • Are specific to a person.

    Disposable earplugs

    Pre-shaped earplugs

    Custom-moulded earplug

    Earmuffs

    Earmuffs enclose the ear and seal to the head with soft cushions. An acoustic foam inside provides the majority of the noise reduction. A head band connects the cups and provides the necessary sealing force. This band can be over the head, neck, or chin, and can also be part of a helmet. Advantages:
    • Simple to use.
    • Easily available and fit most users.
    • Minimises auditory canal problems (no insertion of objects, and protection from dirt ingress).
    • Effective reduction of high frequency sounds.
    • Available in a range of specifications to achieve the most appropriate level of frequency and noise level attenuation.

    Disadvantages:
    • Adds weight and pressure to the head.
    • Uncomfortable in warm climates or work areas.
    • Less effective with low frequency noises.
    • Loss of "directional hearing".
    • Some compatibility issues with other PPE such as safety glasses.
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  • What effects can noise have at the workplace?
    • Auditory effects of noise (e.g. tinnitus or hearing loss);
    • Prolonged constriction of blood vessels;
    • Increased stress levels; and
    • Reduced performance in work requiring thought and sustained intellectual effort. 
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  • What should I do if I have concerns about noise exposure?

    In the first instance, please refer to the Noise and Sound Safety Management chapter. If there are any concerns about noise exposure in the University, your supervisor/manager or Health and Safety Officer should be contacted to organise a noise level assessment of the area.

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  • What should I consider when selecting hearing protection?
    The following factors should be considered when choosing hearing protection:
    • the level of noise reduction required;
    • the working conditions (heat, dust etc);
    • suitability of the hearing protection with the task;
    • the clamping force (of earmuff cushions) where relevant; and/or
    • suitability for use with other forms of PPE.
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  • What instruction may be needed for hearing protection?

    Where a risk assessment control measure includes the requirement to wear or use hearing protection, it is important that workers are instructed by their Manager/Supervisor or the person who is directing the work, on the nature of the work and how to implement the control measures.  This will also include the selection of a suitable size, fit and comfort for the individual, prior to commencing the activity.

    Instruction could be provided either:
    • during the local induction if the task/activity is conducted on a regular basis; or
    • prior to conducting the activity if it is a new task/activity.  
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  • What are the maintenance requirements for hearing protection?

    Where workers are required to wear hearing protection, the School/Branch is required under WHS Regulation 44 to ensure that the equipment is maintained, repaired and/or replaced so that it continues to minimise the risk to the worker who uses it. This includes ensuring that the PPE is clean and hygienic.

    Where a maintenance regime for any PPE exists, refer to the Schedule of Programmable Events chapter.  A pre-use inspection should always be conducted to ensure that the PPE is in good working order.

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  • Where can I obtain further information about hearing protection?

Personal Protective Equipment - Protective Clothing and Footwear

The purpose of these FAQs is to provide information on personal protective equipment (PPE) which may be required to minimise a risk at work.
Specific requirements may be outlined in the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations 2012 (SA) and Approved Codes of Practice.  The references to the standards and resources have been included in these FAQs.
This information should be read in conjunction with the Hazard Management Handbook chapter.
Personal Protective Equipment is the least effective control measure.  This is because users have to remember to wear it, and it does nothing to minimise the underlying hazard.  For these reasons, higher level controls must first be considered.

(Printable version)

  • When should protective clothing and footwear be considered as a control measure?

    Where a risk of injury or illness still remains after all other control measures have been applied, a School/Branch may be able to further minimise the remaining risk, by the provision and use of suitable PPE to prevent damage to the body. Refer WHS Regulations 2012 (SA) [36].

    Generally this would be applied as a result of:
    • the School/Branch mandating the use of specific clothing and footwear upon entry to the area as a general precaution such as in a workshop or laboratory, based on a reasonable assessment of the hazards in the area.
    • a risk assessment for a task or process, e.g. the use of hazardous chemicals where specific PPE would be prescribed to manage the hazard e.g. type of goggles, gloves, face shield, hood or helmet, screens or exhaust systems.  This risk assessment should take into account the environment that the worker is in e.g. communicating with others in the area who may also need to wear PPE.

    Where protective clothing and/or footwear is mandatory in an area, appropriate signage complying with AS 1319 (1994) “Safety signs for the occupational environment” must be displayed. Example of approved signage:

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  • What types of protective clothing are available?
    The choice of protective clothing will depend on several factors, including the substances being worked with and the task performed. Protective clothing can be loosely categorised as providing protection from:
    • hazardous chemicals;
    • heat and cold;
    • harmful radiation (excluding ionising radiation);
    • mechanical hazards, and
    • biological hazards (e.g. blood).

    The protective clothing must not create an additional hazard (e.g. dust coats worn near rotating machinery).

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  • What instruction may be needed for protective clothing?

    Where a risk assessment control measure includes the requirement to wear or use protective clothing, it is important that workers are instructed by their Manager/Supervisor or the person who is directing the work, on the nature of the work and how to implement the control measures.  This will also include the selection of a suitable size, fit and comfort for the individual, prior to commencing the activity.  This instruction could be provided during the local induction if the task/activity is conducted on a regular basis or prior to conducting the activity if it is a new task/activity.

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  • What are the maintenance requirements for protective clothing?

    Where workers are required to wear protective clothing, the School/Branch is required under WHS Regulation 44 to ensure that the equipment is maintained, repaired and/or replaced so that it continues to minimise the risk to the worker who uses it. This includes ensuring that the protective clothing is clean and hygienic.

    Where a maintenance regime for any PPE exists, refer to HSW Chapter Schedule of Programmable Events.  A pre-use inspection should always be conducted to ensure that the protective clothing and footwear is in good working order.

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  • What are the storage requirements of protective clothing?

    Protective clothing and footwear should be stored to ensure it remains effective and in good order. It should be stored separately from other items, e.g. in a plastic bag.

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  • What should I do if I contaminate my protective clothing/lab coat?

    Any contaminated protective clothing and/or foot wear should be immediately sealed in a plastic bag e.g. autoclave bag, to isolate the contamination. Contact your supervisor to discuss the possibility of decontamination. If decontamination cannot be conducted, please dispose of the clothing as waste (of the type of substance it has been contaminated by).

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  • When should protective clothing be worn?
    In general, protective footwear should be worn to reduce injuries to feet resulting from:
    • contact with falling, rolling or cutting objects;
    • penetration through the sole or uppers;
    • degloving (epidermis pulled away from the feet);
    • explosions and electrical hazards;
    • contact with hazardous chemicals, heat and molten metals; and
    • slipping.

    Refer to AS/NZS 2210.1 “Occupational protective footwear – Guide to selection, care and use

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  • Where can I obtain further information about protective clothing?
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Personal Protective Equipment - Respiratory Protection

The purpose of these FAQs is to assist users with the selection use and maintenance of suitable respiratory protection equipment and to protect against substances which could enter the body through the respiratory system.
Specific requirements may be outlined in the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations 2012 (SA) and Approved Codes of Practice.  The references to the standards and resources have been included in these FAQs.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is the least effective control measure as it does nothing to minimise the underlying hazard. PPE relies on human behaviour and supervision. For these reasons, you need to do a risk assessment to identify higher level control measures before relying on PPE.


This information should be read in conjunction with the Hazard Management Handbook chapter.
(Printable version)

  • When should Respiratory Protection Equipment (RPE) be considered as a control measure?

    Where a risk of injury or illness still remains after all other control measures have been applied, the Supervisor/Person in control of the area/activity may be able to further minimise the remaining risk, by the provision and use of suitable RPE to prevent damage to the respiratory tract and system. Refer WHS Regulations 2012 (SA) [36].

    Respiratory protection is required where it is reasonably foreseeable that the operator could be exposed to a substance, agent or contaminant after all other practicable controls have been implemented.  Respiratory protection (or Respiratory Protection Equipment, RPE) should only be used as a short-term control measure.  Where possible a fume cupboard or other extraction device should be used to minimise the need for RPE

    In special situations:
    • the Faculty/Division/Area may mandate the use of breathing protection upon entry to the area as a general precaution such as in a workshop or laboratory, based on a reasonable assessment of the hazards in the area.
    • as a part of the emergency contingency measures, RPE may be required if the substance is spilt outside of a containment area (e.g. fume cupboard, glove box etc). This would allow clean up with no exposure to the individual.
      Note: Where there is a life-threatening risk to any workers or others in the area (i.e. immediate health effects) in the event of a spill, the Emergency Services (MFS) should be contacted in lieu of using RPE, by dialling (0) 000. This should be determined, recorded and communicated to workers when completing the risk assessment for the activity or when they are provided information/instruction by the Supervisor during their induction.

    Where breathing protection is mandatory in an area, appropriate signage complying with AS 1319 (1994) “Safety signs for the occupational environment” must be displayed. Examples of approved signage:

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  • What types of Respiratory Protection Equipment (RPE) are available?
    Breathing protection can be categorised into two types:
    • Air-purifying devices
      These are designed to filter contaminated air before it is inhaled by personnel.  They exist as either disposable respirators or non-disposable respirators with disposable filters.
    • Air-supplied devices
      These deliver clean air from an independent supply to the wearer.  Air-supplied respirators are often used for toxic or oxygen-deficient atmospheres and confined spaces.
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  • What are the selection, use and maintenance requirements of Respiratory Protection Equipment (RPE)?

    Where RPE is required to be worn, a respiratory protection program must be established by the Faculty/Division/Area per AS/NZS 1715: Selection, Use and Maintenance of Respiratory Protective Equipment.

    The program includes procedures specific to your worksite intended to prevent you from inhaling harmful contaminants in your workplace. The program requires the development of procedures for the following:

    • Appointment of a program administrator;
    • Selection of RPE;
    • Medical screening of users of RPE;
    • Information, instruction and training;
    • The issue of RPE;
    • The fitting of equipment;
    • Wearing of RPE;
    • Disposal of equipment;
    • Record keeping;
    • Program evaluation.

    For specific requirements please refer to Standard AS/NZS 1715.

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  • What is the role of the Supervisor/Person in control of the area/activity when Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) is a control measure?
    The Supervisor/Personal in control is to ensure:
    • that the appropriate RPE is used and worn by the worker;that the workers are provided with the appropriate level of information, instruction and training (as applicable) in the use, maintenance and storage of the RPE;
    • that the RPE is used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions;
    • that the RPE does not interfere with any medical conditions of the worker using it and is a suitable size and fit;
    • that appropriate signs are used to remind workers where it must be worn;
    • that the RPE is periodically assessed to ensure it is and continues to be effective;
    • that the RPE is maintained, repaired or replaced and stored correctly (It is clean, hygienic and in good working order) so that it continues to minimise risk to the worker.

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  • What is the role of the worker when Respiratory Protection Equipment (RPE) is required to be worn?
    Workers are required to:
    • use or wear the equipment in accordance with any information/instruction provided by their Supervisor/Person in control of the area/activity or by a registered training organisation where a competency is required; and
    • to report if there is any damage or defect relating to the equipment.

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  • What should I do if Respiratory Protection Equipment (RPE) affects communication?

    If the use or wearing of equipment affects communication, it is important that appropriate steps are taken to ensure that the situation does not create additional risk to the operator.  This should be considered in the risk assessment of the activity.  (Refer to the HSW Handbook Chapter Hazard Management chapter for further information on this process.)

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  • Can Respiratory Protection Equipment (RPE) be shared by workers?

    The sharing of equipment presents a hygiene risk and therefore RPE should be provided for exclusive use or sterilised after each use.

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  • What instruction may be needed for Respiratory Protection Equipment (RPE)?

    Where a risk assessment control measure includes the requirement to wear or use RPE, it is important that workers are instructed by their Supervisor or the person who is directing the work, on the nature of the work, how to correctly fit the RPE and the limitations of the RPE. This will also include suitable selection, fit and comfort for the individual, prior to commencing the activity. This instruction could be provided during the local induction if the task/activity is conducted on a regular basis or prior to conducting the activity if it is a new task/activity. The frequency of training will depend on the complexity of the activity and the level of risk.

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  • What are the storage requirements for Respiratory Protection Equipment (RPE)?
    Users should consult manufacturers’ instructions, particularly with regard to storage recommendations. Considerations should be made for prevention of:
    • Damage & distortion to face pieces.
    • Contact with foreign particles, atmospheres and substances which could cause deterioration.
    • Contamination, particularly for breathing equipment used to supply air to a person.
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  • Where can I obtain further information about Respiratory Protection Equipment (RPE)?
  • Where can I find more information on Respiratory Protection?

    If you would like more information about the Personal Protective Equipment chapter of the HSW Handbook please contact your local HSW contact.

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Plant/Equipment Safety Management - Acquisition, Installation and Commissioning

The purpose of this information sheet is to provide guidance to workers and supervisors when they are purchasing new, used or are hiring items of plant/equipment. Please refer to Vehicle Safety Management Information Sheet if you are purchasing a vehicle and the Plant/Equipment Safety Management HSW Handbook Chapter for overarching responsibilities.

(Printable version)

  • Why do I need to consider safety when purchasing or hiring plant/equipment?
    • Many injuries and illnesses associated with plant/equipment occur due to a failure to select the right equipment for the job. Therefore before you purchase, you need to check that it is suitable for the intended use, including the infrastructure and environment where it will be used and the workers who will be using it.
    • There is an opportunity for many of the hazards to be addressed before introducing the plant/equipment into your workplace, that is, in the planning and purchasing/hiring stages.  For example, purchasing machinery that is designed and built to produce low noise levels is more effective than providing workers with personal hearing protectors.  This also avoids costly modifications to plant/equipment after it is purchased/hired.
    • There is a Work Health and Safety legislative requirement.  The Approved Code of Practice “Managing risks of plant in the workplace” sets out the specific requirements for controlling the risks from purchasing and hiring plant to disposal.
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  • What do I need to consider during the purchase/hiring, installation and commissioning of plant/equipment?

    Before purchasing, hiring or leasing, installing and commissioning plant/equipment, you need to determine:

    • the hazards and risks associated with the installation, operation, inspection, maintenance, repair, transport, storage and dismantling of the plant/equipment;
    • the control measures needed to minimise these hazards and risks;
    • the manufacturer’s recommendations in relation to the frequency and type of inspection and maintenance needed;
    • any special skills required for people who operating the equipment or carry out inspection and maintenance;
    • any special conditions or equipment required to protect the health and safety of people carrying out activities such as installation, operation and maintenance; and
    • any alterations or modifications to be made to the plant/equipment.

    This also applies to the purchase of second-hand plant/equipment.

    A Plant/Equipment acquisition, installation and Commissioning checklist is provided. The questions and prompts will guide you in your thinking.

    It is also recommended that you refer to the:

    • Approved Code of Practice “Managing risks of plant in the workplace”, especially if you are purchasing/hiring hazardous plant/equipment; and
    • HSW Handbook chapter Plant/Equipment Safety Management which also provides additional University requirements.

    If you are purchasing a vehicle, please refer to the HSW information Sheet Vehicle Safety Management).

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  • What are the obligations if the School/Branch supplies or leases plant/equipment to another organisation/person?

    If you supply/lease plant/equipment to someone, as the “hirer” or “lessor” you have the same legal obligations as any supplier/lessor of plant/equipment under the WHS Regulations.

    For example the following is to be provided:

    • Information about how to use the plant/equipment safely
    • Design and item registration requirements (if applicable)
    • Inspection, maintenance requirements.

    You will also be required to maintain records of inspections and maintenance carried out.

    Refer to the Safe Work Australia website “Guide for importing and supplying safe plant” and the Code of Practice: Managing risks of plant in the workplace for additional information on your legal requirements.

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  • Where do I obtain further information on the purchase, hiring, installation and commissioning of plant/equipment?

    If you require further information, please contact a member of the local HSW Team.

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Plant/Equipment Safety Management - Electrical Testing

The purpose of these FAQs is to provide guidance to workers and supervisors on best practice options or questions which may arise from the changes to the WHS Regulations (SA) 2012.

(Printable version)

  • What do you need to electrically test?
    Please refer to the Electrical Safety Testing Decision Trees when applying the categories below. Electrical equipment needs to be tested when it is supplied through an electrical socket outlet (i.e. not hard wired) and it has one or more of the elements below:
    • Is used in an environment which is likely to result in damage to the equipment or a reduction in its expected life span (e.g. exposure to moisture, heat, vibration, mechanical damage, corrosive chemicals or dust). 
    • Can be damaged by regular flexing (crushing or crimping) of the cables (see "I am not sure what the difference between kinking/coiling/wrapping and crushing/crimping a cord is?").
    • Can be damaged by abuse (rough handling).
    • Is second-hand.
    • Is hired/leased (Note that leasing does not include office equipment)
    • Is medical electrical equipment; medical electrical systems and non-medical electrical equipment used in the patient environments (including dental clinics).
    • Has been modified or repaired.
    • Where your building/floor does not have fixed RCD protection (please speak to your Faculty/Divisional HSW Manager)
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  • What if my School/Branch Head wants to test all electrical items?

    It is a Head of School/Branch (or delegate) decision. The decision trees and the testing frequencies in 'What are the electrical testing frequencies?' gives the minimum testing requirements; however if you wish to conduct more testing you can.

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  • What if my School/Branch Head wants to test electrical items but at a reduced frequency?

    If your School/Branch Head wishes to test less often than the testing frequencies outlined in Table 1, then you will be required to conduct a risk assessment.  The residual risk rating must be medium or low.

    Please contact your HSW Faculty/Divisional Manager for assistance.

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  • I have only a few items which require electrical testing and my electrical provider will not test them. What can I do?

    A contractor via Campus Services can be engaged to test these items for you at a cost to your School/Branch.  You will need to have an account code and book this test using a Campus Services request form.  You will be responsible for all of the documentation and for follow up testing.

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  • I have electrical testing items but according to the decision trees they do not require electrical testing. Do I need an electrical plant register?

    No you do not need to keep a register for electrical testing.  If you have one off testing requirements (i.e. personal equipment) then the tag indicating the test date or keeping the testing results on file is sufficient.

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  • What are the electrical testing frequencies?

    The University for the majority of items is following AS3760 (2010) In service safety inspection and testing of electrical equipment for all equipment identified in "What do you need to electrically test?". Please refer to table 1 and table 2 for electrical testing frequencies.
    Please read the below tables in conjunction with the decision trees to ensure you are not over testing.

    Table 1 - Electrical equipment
    Environment or type of equipment Frequency of testing
    Workshops (places of manufacture, assembly, maintenance or fabrication) 6 months.
    • Flexing1 of the cord in normal use.
    • Exposure to abuse (rough handling).
    • Hostile2 environment.
    Every 12 months.
    None of the environmental conditions below:
    • Flexing1 of the cord in normal use.
    • Exposure to abuse (rough handling).
    • Hostile2 environment1.
    None unless they are being repaired, serviced, hired or are second-hand (see below and decision trees).
    Medical electrical equipment; medical electrical systems and non-medical electrical equipment used in the patient environments (including dental clinics). Electrical testing (and other testing) will be conducted in accordance with AS3551 Technical management programmes for medical devices. The frequency of testing will be determined at the time of acceptance and is determined by the supplier or manufacturer.
    Hired medical equipment will be tested before introducing into service and the ongoing frequency is decided by agreement with the hirer and hiree.
    Hire3\Equipment. Before introducing into service.
    Repaired and serviced equipment. After the repair or service4 refer to AS 5762 In-service safety inspection and testing – repaired electrical equipment.
    Second-hand equipment. Before introducing into service.
    Item which has been involved in an incident/accident (exposed to water, damage, chemicals etc) Before the item is returned to service
    If the item required regular testing (see decision trees) then apply the frequency as stated above.
    1. Flexing is this circumstance means crushing/crimping not kinking/coiling/wrapping (see "I am not sure what the difference between kinking/coiling/wrapping and crushing/crimping a cord is?" for more details).
    2. A hostile environment is an environment which is likely to result in damage to the equipment or a reduction in its expected life span (e.g. exposure to moisture, heat, vibration, mechanical damage, corrosive chemicals or dust).
    3. The test should be conducted by the person hiring the equipment to the University.
    4. This test is required to be conducted by the company or individual who repaired/serviced the equipment.

    Table 2 is outlining the requirements for RCD testing, please note that RCDs are required to be tested regardless of the environment, however the environment does impact on frequency of testing.

    Table 2 - Residual Current devices (RCD)
    Environment Type of RCD Frequency of testing
    • Flexing1 of the cord in normal use.
    • Exposure to abuse (rough handling).
    • Hostile2 environment.
    Portable RCDs
    • Tested by the incorporated self-test function.
    • Tested by the trip current and trip time test.
    • Every 3 months.
    • Every 12 months.
    Fixed RCDs (Campus Services only)
    • Tested by the incorporated self-test function.
    • Tested by the trip current and trip time test.
    • Every 6 months.
    • Every 12 months.
    None of the environmental conditions below:
    • Flexing1 of the cord in normal use.
    • Exposure to abuse (rough handling).
    • Hostile2 environment.

    Portable RCDs

    • Tested by the incorporated self-test function.
    • Tested by the trip current and trip time test.
    • Every 3 months.
    • Every 2 years.
    Fixed RCDs (Campus Services only)
    • Tested by the incorporated self-test function.
    • Tested by the trip current and trip time test.
    • Every 6 months.
    • Every 2 years.
    1. Flexing is this circumstance means crushing/crimping not kinking/coiling/wrapping (see "I am not sure what the difference between kinking/coiling/wrapping and crushing/crimping a cord is?" for more details)
    2. A hostile environment is an environment which is likely to result in damage to the equipment or a reduction in its expected life span (e.g. exposure to moisture, heat, vibration, mechanical damage, corrosive chemicals or dust).
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  • Do I need to test new electrical equipment?

    Brand new equipment that has never been put to use (i.e. other than second-hand equipment) does not have to be tested before first use.

    New equipment must be inspected for any obvious damage from transport before it is put into services.

    New Residual Current Devices should be tested by pressing the trip test button to ensure the RCD is effective.

    NB - If equipment requires ongoing testing (see decision trees) then add it to the next testing schedule.

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  • I am not sure what the difference between kinking/coiling/wrapping and crushing/crimping a cord is?

    Kinking, coiling and wrapping are words which describes the actions that a person uses when packing up a cord for a laptop computer or a portable projector; it is a folding or coiling action and does not normally result in internal damage to the cord.

    Crushing and crimping are words which describes when physical damage is likely to occur to the cord e.g. when the cord is stuck in a door, exposed to traffic e.g. car or in a walkway; cut etc.

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  • What if a worker brings in personal electrical items from home?

    If it is for a one off event then these items will not require testing, however if your building does not have RCD protection then you will be required to use a portable RCD that has been tested.

    If it is an item which will remain at work for any period of time, then it will be treated as second hand and therefore is to be tested before it is put into service.  The only exceptions to this are personal mobile devices (e.g. lap tops, phone chargers, electronic chargers for IPADs, tablets etc) which will not require testing.

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  • What do I need to look for during my workplace inspections in regard to plant/equipment?

    You will need to check the tags of items which are required to be electrically tested to see if the test tag is in date.

    Where damage is likely to occur to a cord, and it is accessible, you will need to check the cord during your workplace inspection.  If there is damage to the cord then the item must be removed from service (tagged out) and either repaired or disposed of.  These items must be electrically tested if they are brought back into service.

    Do not be concerned about items which have old tags (unless the items are required to be tested).

    Leave any old tags on items which do not require testing.

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  • We have just had an accident involving an electrical item. What do I do?

    If it is a notifiable incident (i.e. an electric shock), then contact your Faculty/Divisional HSW manager and follow their instructions (see the Incident, Near Miss Reporting and Investigation chapter).

    If it is not a notifiable incident then:
    • Tag out the item.
    • You need to decide to either (1) repair /service the item; or (2) dispose; or (3) check the item for electrical damage.
    • Repairing/servicing will require in-house or external expertise.  Check with the person who repairs it that the item has been electrically tested before it is reintroduced back into service.
    • Disposal will require you to cut the cord and then dispose.  (For more complex equipment contact your Faculty/Divisional HSW manager for advice).
    • Checking will require a qualified person to electrically test the item before it is put back into service.
      • Attach any electrical testing records to the incident.
      • When appropriate during this process remove the “tag-out” tag.
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  • What electrical testing rules apply to leased electrical equipment?
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Plant/Equipment Safety Management - Vehicle Safety Management

The purpose of these FAQs is to clarify what is and isn’t considered to be a vehicle for work and to provide guidance on the safe operation of vehicles at work.
Please also refer to the HSW Handbook Chapter Plant/Equipment Safety Management when reading these FAQs.

(Printable version)

  • In a University context, what are considered to be vehicles?
    A vehicle includes, but is not limited to:
    • Cars
    • Buses
    • Trucks
    • Aircraft
    • Trailers
    • Motor bikes and quad bikes
    • Modified vehicles
    • Experimental vehicles
    • Forklifts
    • Hire vehicles used for University purposes
    • Remote-controlled vehicles
    • Boats and other watercraft or vessels (please also refer to the HSW Handbook Chapter Boating Operations)
    • Mobile agricultural equipment.
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  • What uses of vehicles are not considered University work use, with regard to safety management?
    Private use of cars that are included in a staff member’s salary package.
    Use of a private vehicle for travel to and from your usual place of work.
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  • What are the licensing requirements for vehicle operations with regard to safety management?

    Please refer to the HSW Handbook Chapter Plant/Equipment Safety Management Appendix E for all vehicle licencing requirements.

    In accordance with the HSW Handbook Chapter Plant/Equipment Safety Management (3.7.10.3), if a worker is required to drive for work purposes they must notify their Supervisor/Manager as soon as practicable if:
    • Their licence expires and is not renewed
    • Their licence is suspended or restricted
    • They are disqualified from operating a vehicle.

    Workers with a learner’s permit, provisional, probationary, interstate or foreign licence, or who are driving heavy vehicles, must carry their licence whenever driving or operating a vehicle as specified in the Motor Vehicles Act. Note: that holders of a full South Australian driver’s licence are not required to carry it when driving cars and other light vehicles.

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  • Will vehicle safety requirements be different if I am driving anywhere other than South Australia?

    It is likely that the road rules and/or licence requirements will be different interstate and overseas. As the person driving the vehicle it is your responsibility to understand the rules of the road in the state or country you are driving in. Please refer to the local motor vehicle legislation or road rules.

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  • What are the safety-related training requirements for vehicle operations?

    A worker may need extra training (beyond the training to their drivers licence) depending on the vehicle, the driving frequency and driving conditions.  Examples of training which may be required/useful are off-road (4 wheel) driving, advanced driving, etc.

    The vehicle driver/operator is to inform their Manager/Supervisor if they are not familiar with the type of vehicle (e.g. manual vs automatic, 4 wheel drive, towing).  Records of these training sessions are to be maintained as per HSW Handbook Chapter Training Plan.

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  • What are the registration requirements for safe vehicle operations?

    All vehicles and trailers used on public roads must be registered. The following link should assist in determining the registration requirements SA Government, or contact the appropriate government department to determine registration requirements.return to top

  • What are the maintenance requirements with regard to safety?

    All vehicles must be regularly maintained and serviced in accordance with manufacturer’s/designer’s specification (includes any specifications for vehicles designed or modified by the University of Adelaide) to ensure continued safe operation and efficiency (as per HSW Handbook Chapter Plant/Equipment Safety Management).

    Truck and bus maintenance must comply with the National Transport Commission Roadworthiness Guidelines.

    Refer to the University's Motor Vehicle Procedures for more information.

    All maintenance and servicing records for each vehicle will be retained for the life of the equipment.

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  • What are the vehicle safety requirements for aviation activities (including unmanned aircraft/drones)?

    The Civil Aviation Safety Regulations (CASRs) stipulate the requirements for aviation activities.

    Drones (unmanned aircraft) are covered under the HSW Handbook chapter Drone Safety Management and it should be noted that the chapter has specific requirements for any drone use with respect to University activities.

    Any aviation activities should take into account disruption to flight paths and if applicable have the approval of the local air traffic control.

    Rockets require special import permits and have specific rules regarding the purchasing and storage of fuel. If you are planning an activity that involves the use of rockets you should consult with rocketry experts, SafeWork SA and your local HSW Team.

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  • What are the safety requirements specific to experimental vehicles & testing of vehicles?

    When a vehicle is modified, the person or organisation that undertakes these modifications becomes the designer and/or manufacturer and is subject to the duties imposed upon them in the WHS Regulations.

    Testing of vehicles should include a documented test procedure and a risk assessment. The risk assessment should include any maintenance and servicing specifications.

    Consideration should be given by the supervisor as to whether driver/operator training needs to be provided for vehicles which are modified or non-standard, including those that do not require a standard driver’s licence. Records of training sessions are to be maintained as per HSW Handbook Chapter Training Plan.

    If experimental vehicles are to be driven on public roads, the vehicles will require registration..return to top

  • What safety considerations should be made when purchasing and selecting vehicles?

    When considering purchase of a vehicle, consider the intended use, and number of passengers and the safety features that are available.  A Vehicle Pre Commissioning Checklist (Appendix A) is available to assist in these processes.

    If in doubt, contact your local HSW contact.

    All safety discussions, consultation, risk assessments and other considerations in the decision making process for purchasing a vehicle should be documented and retained for at least the duration of ownership of the vehicle.

    When a University vehicle is not available or suitable for a task, it is preferable to use a hire vehicle rather than a personal vehicle.

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  • What safety considerations should be made for vehicle emergencies?

    The consideration and identification of potential vehicle emergencies (e.g. hazards) and the control measures required to manage the risk should occur at the planning stage of all activities (including off campus activities) in accordance with the HSW Handbook chapter Hazard Management. Additional guidance is also provided in the Off-Campus activity (including field work) frequently asked questions.

    The staff member undertaking the risk assessment (where required) should consider whether the following controls would be useful in mitigating the consequences of some of the hazards in an emergency:
    • first aid;
    • fire extinguishers; and
    • communication
    in the event of an emergency.

    If you have an accident, the Motor Vehicle Claim Procedure form (which is required to be kept in the glovebox off all University vehicles) is to be completed at the scene of the accident.  Follow the prompts provided on the procedure in relation to reporting requirements.

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  • What are some common safety concerns when operating a University vehicle?

    Operation of vehicles can present various hazards. Below are some of the hazards associated with vehicle operation. These hazards are not exhaustive and the principles of Hazard management should be applied in accordance with the HSW Handbook Chapter Hazard Management.

    Examples of common hazards

    Use of a mobile phone
    Under the Road Traffic Act, a mobile phone may only be used to make or receive a phone call (defined to exclude email, text or video messages) if the phone is either:

    • secured in a mounting affixed to the vehicle - the mounting must be commercially designed and manufactured for the purpose and attached as the manufacturer intended; or
    • remotely operated - the phone must not be held by or resting on the body (driver’s pocket or pouch excluded) and there must be no touching of the keypad.  This is aimed at blue tooth technology, and earpieces and headsets (which themselves may be touched).

    If a driver wishes to make or receive a call, including dialing a number, and needs to touch the phone (including its keypad) in order to do so, the phone must be mounted.

    If the phone is used via blue tooth or a headset or earphones without touching it, the phone may be located anywhere in the vehicle, including in the driver’s pocket or a pouch they are wearing. The driver may touch the ear piece or headset to operate the phone.

    A driver’s freedom to use a mobile phone to make or receive calls or any other function of any type if the car is parked (but not stationary in a traffic queue or at lights) is not affected.

    Can the driver use a hand held phone on loudspeaker?

    The driver may only use a mobile phone on loudspeaker if it is:

    • secured in a mounting that is commercially designed and manufactured and affixed to the vehicle in the manner intended by the manufacturer; or
    • if the phone is remotely operated, for example voice activated blue tooth or similar technology or through an earpiece or headset, and the phone is not held by or resting on any part of the body and there is no use of the keypad of the phone.
    Vibration (especially agricultural vehicles and driving off road)

    Operation of vehicles may expose the worker to vibration. Hand-Arm Vibration (HAV) and Whole Body Vibration (WBV) at certain levels can result in adverse health effects.  For more information on these hazards, exposure standards and control measures please refer to the Safework Australia website and guidance materials.

    Roll over of open cabin vehicles

    In accordance with Work Health & Safety Regulations 2012 (SA) [214, 215 & 216], vehicles with open cabins must include installation of roll-over protective structures (ROPS). While it is anticipated that any new vehicles purchased will be supplied with ROPS, vehicles with open cabins already owned by the University must be reviewed and ROPS installed where necessary. For open cabin vehicles purchased prior to 1981, installation was due by 1st of January 2014.

    General Hazards

    Other hazards associated with vehicle operation could include exposure to chemical fumes from exhaust, being struck by a moving vehicle, chemical transport, fire risk when driving on paddocks, manual handling during loading of items into vehicles, contact with a stationary object, collision with wildlife, entanglement in moving parts, exposure to noise, slips/trips/falls, caught between moving parts, and struck by falling objects and unrestrained cargo.

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  • What safety considerations should be made in regard to driver/operator fatigue?

    Supervisors and Managers should take fatigue management into account when scheduling vehicle operations.  A decision tree has been added below to assist Supervisors/Managers in fatigue management. Refer to the HSW Handbook Chapters Plant/Equipment Safety Management (Appendix G), Hazard Management, for further information.

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Preventing and Responding to Workplace Bullying and Harassment

The purpose of this Information sheet is to clarify what is/is not workplace bullying and what support and guidance is available to workers.  Should you find that further explanation or clarification is required please raise or discuss the matter with your Manager/Supervisor or Fair Treatment Contact Officer (FTCO).

(Printable version)

  • What behaviours are expected at the University in regard to workplace bullying and harassment?
    The University has a number of policies, procedures and guidelines which set out the expected behaviours at the University. return to top
  • What is workplace bullying?
    What is workplace bullying?
    For behaviour to be identified as workplace bullying it must be
    • Repeated
      A pattern of behaviour must be able to be identified.  It must be more than once; and
    • Unreasonable
      the behaviour must be considered unreasonable given the circumstances; and
    • Create a risk to health and safety
      it must be likely that exposure to the behaviour in question is likely to create a risk of injury or harm

    Depending on the circumstances bullying is considered misconduct or serious misconduct at the University.

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  • What are some examples of behaviour that might be considered bullying?

    As a guide the following behaviours might be considered bullying if repeated as they are viewed as unreasonable and likely to create a risk to health and safety towards a worker or a group of workers.

    • Abusive, insulting or offensive language or comments
    • Unjustified criticism or complaints
    • Continuously and deliberately excluding someone from workplace activities
    • Withholding information that is vital for effective work performance
    • Setting unreasonable timelines or constantly changing deadlines
    • Setting tasks that are unreasonably below or beyond a person’s skill level
    • Denying access to information, supervision, consultation or resources such that it is detrimental to the worker
    • Spreading misinformation or malicious rumours
    • Changing work arrangements, such as rosters and leave, to deliberately inconvenience a particular worker or workers
    • Excessive scrutiny at work
    Note: behaviour online, using social networks, can also be considered bullying behaviour. return to top
  • What is the difference between bullying, harassment and discrimination?

    Discrimination and harassment occurs when someone is treated less favourably than others because they have a particular characteristic or belong to a particular group of people. For example, discrimination and harassment can occur on grounds of:

    Age
    Parental or carer status
    Disability
    Gender identity
    Industrial activity
    Identity of Spouse
    Political belief or activity
    Physical features
    Race
    Religious belief or activity
    Sex or sexuality
    Marital status
    Pregnancy or breastfeeding

    Sexual harassment is also associated with unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours or other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature.

    Discrimination and sexual harassment in employment is unlawful under anti-discrimination, equal employment opportunity, workplace relations and human rights laws.  It is possible for a person to be bullied, sexually harassed and discriminated against at the same time.  However, a person who is harassed or discriminated against can only be bullying if the behaviour is repeated.. return to top

  • What is NOT bullying?

    A number of behaviours/actions are clearly established as not bullying.

    These relate to the day to day management tasks and actions required to ensure operational requirements are met.

    Provided these tasks and actions are carried out in a reasonable way (i.e.are not combined with other unreasonable behaviours) the following cannot be considered bullying:
    • Day to day direction of duty
    • Actions and tasks required by Planning, Development Review (PDR)
    • Actions, tasks and decisions made as part of a “major change” process
    • Promotion and selection
    • Management of poor performance
    • Misconduct or serious misconduct.
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  • Who does the HSW Handbook chapter on Preventing and responding to workplace bullying and harassment apply to?

    The responsibilities and duties assigned by the Handbook Chapter apply to workers of the University as defined by the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act 2012 (SA).  This would cover staff, contractors, volunteers, titleholders and labour hire workers.

    Students should refer to the Student Grievance Resolution process should they believe they are being bullied and harassed at the University.

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  • What can I do if I think I am being bullied or harassed?

    There are a number of things you can do.  Above all it’s important that you tell someone.

    In the event you believe you, or a group of workers, may have been subject to workplace bullying or harassing behaviours, you have two options:
    Option 1:
    Discuss the behaviour with your immediate Supervisor/ Manager (or your Supervisor’s line Manager where applicable)

    or

    Option 2:
    Contact a Fair Treatment Contact Officer (FTCO) for information on this process and/or the definitions (Section 3.35.7)

    Following discussion with your Supervisor/Manager or FTCO
    • Consider the information provided and the options available to you.
    • Advise your Supervisor/Manager or FTCO, if you wish to resolve your concerns via HR supported mediation by an independent and trained mediator, or to formalise your complaint.
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  • What is a Fair Treatment Contact Officer (FTCO)?

    A FTCO is a person who has been selected and trained by the University who can be an independent and confidential contact point for anyone who has questions about bullying and harassment processes at the University.

    Workers decide which FTCO they want to discuss their issue(s) with and then approach them (via email or telephone) to make a time to meet.  It is not the FTCO’s role to:
    • Advocate on behalf of individuals
    • Undertake mediation or investigation
    • Provide grievance resolution
    • Be involved in cases where there may be a perception, real orotherwise, of conflict of interest.
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  • What do I do if I am accused of bullying or harassment?
    Workers who have been accused of bullying or harassment can discuss the matter with:
    • their Manager/Supervisor
    • a FTCO
    • Human Resources, either through the HR Advisory Team or the Division/Faculty HSW Manager
    for advice and assistance.
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  • Can I still get help from the Employee Assistance Provider (EAP)?

    Yes.  If you feel that you would like to talk to an external person who can provide free support and counselling to you or your family members the option is open to you.

    Find out more about the EAP.

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Preventing and Responding to Workplace Bullying and Harassment - Support for Students

The purpose of these FAQs is to identify how to assist students who have been effected by bullying and/or harassment.

Preventing and Responding to Workplace Bullying and Harassment - Support for staff in dealing with inappropriate student behaviour

The purpose of these FAQs is to identify how to assist students who have been effected by bullying and/or harassment.

  • What support is available for staff in dealing with inappropriate student behaviour?

    The Early Intervention Group (EIG) is responsible for matters pertaining to inappropriate behaviour by students.

    For further information, please look at the procedures for reporting inappropriate, concerning or threatening student behaviour.

    Students, staff and other members of the University community who observe student behaviour that is of concern can complete a Behavioural Incident Report Form, and send it to the EIG at eig@adelaide.edu.au or Student Affairs.

    Even where no action is required, it is important to record incidents centrally so that the University can monitor any repeat behaviour.

    Members of the University community who observe or are confronted by a student behavioural incident which has the potential for harm to others or self-harm and requires immediate attention should first contact Security Services on the emergency telephone number: 8313 5444 (extn 35444).

    More information can be found on the Inappropriate Behaviour By Students website.
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Prevention of Falls

The following frequently asked questions will assist Schools/Branches to manage the hazards associated with work where there is the potential to fall from one level to another where it is reasonably likely to cause injury in accordance with the Hazard Management chapter of the HSW Handbook and the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2012 (SA) Part 4.

(Printable version)
  • Is there a height specification relating to this legislative requirement?

    There is no height specification.  The Work Health and Safety Regulations 2012 (SA) Part 4 requires a hazard management approach to any activity which could result in a fall from one level to another regardless of the height, where it is reasonably likely to cause injury to the person or any other person.

    The legislation requires consideration of the work environment and any activity where a person could fall:
    • from an elevated workplace; or
    • in the vicinity of an opening; or
    • in the vicinity of an edge; or
    • through a surface; or
    • from any other place.

    It should be noted that where an activity relates to construction work and the worker could potentially fall more than 3 metres, there are additional legislative requirements to be met, in accordance with the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2012 (SA) section 291.  If you are unsure if your activity fits within the definition of construction work refer to the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2012 (SA) section 289.

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  • What specific requirements are to be addressed in order to meet the WHS Regulations 2012 (SA) for the management of the risk of a fall?

    1. Where it is reasonably practicable, the work is to be carried out on the ground or on a solid construction.

      •  Solid construction means an area that has:
        •   A surface that is structurally capable of supporting all persons and things that may be located or placed on it; and
        • Barriers around its perimeter and any openings to prevent a fall; and
        • An even and readily negotiable surface and gradient; and
        • A safe means of entry and exit.

    2. Where it is not reasonably practicable to eliminate the risk of a fall, as outlined above, the worker is to be provided with adequate protection and a safe system of work.

    •  Protection is to include:
      • Provision of fall prevention devices if it is reasonably practicable to do so (i.e. a secure fence; and edge protection; and working platforms; and covers); or
      • Provision of a work positioning system (i.e. any plant or structure, other than a temporary work platform, that enables a person to be positioned and safely supported at a location for the duration of the relevant work being carried out.); or
            A safe system of work at height could include:
            • Providing temporary work platforms;
            • Providing training in relation to the risks involved in work at the workplace;
            • Providing safe work procedures, safe sequencing of work, safe use of ladders, permit systems and appropriate signs.

    Where it is not reasonably practicable to comply with the two options above, then the provision of a fall arrest system (i.e. plant or material designed to arrest a fall such as an industrial safety net, a catch platform, a safety harness system other than a system that relies entirely on a restraint technique system).

    A combination of the controls set out may be used to minimise risks so far as is practicable if a single control is not sufficient for the purpose.

    Emergency and rescue procedures

    Where a fall arrest system is a control measure, emergency procedures must be established, including rescue procedures in relation to the use of the fall arrest system.  These procedures must be tested so that they are effective and relevant workers must be provided with suitable and adequate information, training and instruction in relation to the emergency procedures.

    High risk construction work and a fall of greater than 3 metres.

    A Safe Work Method Statement is to be prepared in accordance with Work Health and Safety Regulations 2012 (SA) Section 299.

    (Construction work means any work carried out in connection with the construction, alteration, conversion, fitting-out, commission, renovation, repair, maintenance, refurbishment, demolition, decommissioning or dismantling of a structure.  Refer to the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2012 (SA), for additional guidance if your work activity fits this definition.)

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  • Are there any work activities that do not apply to the requirements for prevention of falls?
    In accordance with the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2012 (SA) Section 79(4) the requirements are not applicable to:
    • The performance of stunt work;
    • The performance of acrobatics;
    • A theatrical performance;
    • A sporting or athletic activity;
    • Horse riding.

    The risks in relation to these work activities are to be managed in accordance with the “General risk and workplace management” requirements outlined in Work Health and Safety Regulations 2012 (SA) Section 36 and the Hazard Management Handbook chapter i.e. to apply the general principles of Hazard Management and the Hierarchy of Control. (Elimination, substitution of the hazard with something that gives rise to a lesser risk; isolation of the hazard from any person exposed to it; implementation of engineering controls, implementation of administrative controls or ensuring the provision and use of suitable personal protective equipment where a risk still remains.)

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  • What hazards are associated with falls from one level to another and what control measures could be used?

    Foreseeable hazards that require particular attention are associated with an activity: :

    • on any structure or plant being constructed or installed, demolished or dismantled, inspected, tested, repaired or cleaned;
    • on a fragile surface (e.g., cement sheeting roofs, rusty metal roofs, fibreglass sheeting roofs and skylights);
    • on a potentially unstable surface (e.g. areas where there is potential for ground collapse, loose rocky slopes);
    • requiring work using a portable or fixed ladder (e.g. where the working width and movement is limited, the working position is awkward requiring the need to stretch sideways, work above shoulder height or for a long duration, work at night or in a remote or isolated place, working from the top rungs/steps of the ladder);
    • requiring the use of a tripod ladder or ladder for orchard work (e.g. pruning, picking);
    • requiring work at height to collect samples for research purposes (e.g. bats, birds, ecology);
    • requiring work outdoors on a sloping surface (e.g. ramp, hill, ground and potential for very wet or windy conditions, work at night, a remote or isolated place);
    • requiring work on a stairwell (internal or external);
    • using equipment to work at the elevated level (e.g. when using elevating work platforms);
    • on a sloping or slippery surface where it is difficult for people to maintain their balance (e.g., on glazed tiles, a wet surface);
    • near an unprotected open edge (e.g., near incomplete stairwells); and
    • near a hole, shaft or pit into which a worker could fall (e.g. trenches, lift shafts or service pits).
    Hazards identified through this process should be managed in accordance with the HSW Handbook chapter Hazard Management.
    Examples of control measures in accordance with the Hierarchy of Control are provided in Table 1.
    Schools/Branches will need to tailor appropriate control measures based on the nature and location of the activity.
    This is also applicable to any off-campus and research activities.

    Table 1

    Hazard Examples of control measures. (One or more measures may be appropriate under each heading and should be considered.)
    Falls from one level to another

    Eliminate the hazard

    • Work on the ground
    • Reduce shelving heights so that workers can access items from ground level
    • Use tools with extendable handles

    If elimination is not possible – minimise the risk using the following options as applicable.

    Substitution

    • Use walkways for access instead of using ladders
    • Install scaffolding or another type of work platform

    Isolation

    • Install a physical barrier (e.g. secure fence, cover or other forms of safeguarding)
    • Install edge protection e.g. guard railing (which is between 900mm and 1100mm above the work surface), has mid rails and can withstand the impact of a person falling against them and toe boards (which are secured and extend a min of 150mm above the platform surface),
    • Install vertical containment sheeting
    • Install fall protection covers (i.e. covering holes and openings) which are capable of supporting the impact of a person falling onto it.

    Engineering controls

    • Construct a permanent safe working platform which is secured against a structure for stability and installed with an edge protection system.  It should be non-slip, free from trip hazards and provide safe access and egress.  (Refer AS 1657 Fixed platforms, walkways, stairways and ladders – Design, construction and installation and for temporary platforms, AS 1576 Scaffolding and AS 4576 Guidelines for scaffolding.)
    • Provide mechanical access i.e. elevated work platform e.g. boom type, scissor lifts and vertical mast. The use should be guided by AS 2550.10 Cranes-Safe Use – Elevating work platform. Workers must wear a safety harness (see Personal Protective Equipment, page 3).
      Note – for boom type platforms, where the boom length is 11m or more, the operator must hold a High Risk Licence. (See Q6)
    • Install a safety net or catch platform capable of taking the load.  (It must be installed as close as possible to the underside of the work area, but not in contact with the surface.  The safety net must cover an area extending beyond the work area.  It should only be used if it is not possible to install a physical barrier or use personal protection systems).
    • Use order picking forklift trucks for handling of materials stored at height
    • Secure all items and erect barriers to prevent items from falling onto people below
    • Install guard rails
    • Install temporary scaffolding (e.g. for painting, electrical work, building maintenance, construction or demolition work.  Note – any scaffold from which a person could fall more than 4m must be erected by a certified scaffolder)
    • Use a forklift work platform or industrial truck to elevate workers
      (Note – the design and construction must be in accordance with AS 2359 Powered industrial trucks and Safe Operating Procedures are required.  Forklift operators must be assessed as competent by a registered assessor and have a High Risk Licence.)

    Administrative controls

    • Conduct a risk assessment or document a Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS)/Safe Operating Procedure (SOP) where required
    • Identify workers who require specific training (e.g. training on a risk assessment and Safe Operating Procedure (if applicable) and where a proficiency or high risk work licence is required, record and monitor their training in accordance with the HSW Handbook Training Needs Analysis and Training Plan and HSW Information, Instruction Training chapters
    • Provide adequate supervision
    • Provide assistance (e.g. buddy) if required (This includes where there is a risk of a fall in access areas or doorways if a secure barrier cannot be erected or the door locked shut until the activity is completed.)
    • Select appropriate tools and equipment for the activity e.g. ladders, appliances which can be secured from falling if required (Note – no ladder other than a trestle ladder may be used to support planks for a working platform and any such platform may only be used for light duty work. The ladder is secured against displacement (i.e. slipping or sliding) and/or there is another person holding the base of the ladder.)
    • Advise workers of the reporting process if they identify any defects/problems with equipment
    • Advise workers of the University’s on-line reporting process for any incident/injury/hazard
    • Ensure the University’s contractor management system is followed (if applicable)
    • Ensure safe systems of work have been considered if the worker is working in isolation and this has been included on the risk assessment/Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) including emergency and rescue procedures.  This may include the provision of communication equipment (e.g. radio, mobile phone)
    • Ensure maintenance systems are in place, including six-monthly checks of anchor points and personal protective equipment (e.g. harnesses, fall arrest devices)
    • Ensure maintenance schedules are in place to ensure replacement where necessary and that the equipment is fit for purpose, complies with the relevant Australian Standards prior to commencement.

    Personal protective equipment (PPE)

    • Safe harness or a pole safety belt attached to a secure structural support through the use of an adequate static-line system or attached to an appropriate anchorage
    • Use of a fall-arresting device connected to an anchorage point or static line to reduce the free fall distance  (Note – before a fall-arresting device is used the work area must be inspected to ensure there are no obstructions in the potential fall path)
    • Travel restraint device (e.g. one that prevents a worker from reaching an unprotected edge by tethering them to an eye-bolt or other suitable anchorage point)
    • Appropriate footwear that minimises the risk of slipping (e.g. on wet surfaces)
    • Safety helmet that needs to be attached securely to the worker’s head to ensure it remains in place should the person be arrested by fall protection equipment during a fall
    • Industrial rope access system (e.g. may be used for external window cleaning in multi-story buildings.)

    Note - If using fall-arrest systems as a control measure

    • Workers must be properly trained and supervised in the use of the equipment
    • Workers should not work in isolation
    • The lanyard assembly should be as short as possible when used in conjunction with a fall-arrest system, to minimise the pendulum effect
    • The fall-arrest anchorage point (fixed or travelling on static lines) should be located so that the lanyard can be attached before the user moves into a position where they can fall. 
    • The components of a fall-arrest system must be compatible.

    Refer to AS 1891.4 Industrial fall-arrest systems and devices – selection, use and maintenance for the selection of an appropriate fall-arrest system.  A fall-arrest system must be installed by a certified person.

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  • Do I need approval to conduct work on a roof?

    Yes, if you are required to access a roof (e.g. for a research project) or any other activity you are required to contact Service Delivery for advice.

    Service Delivery

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  • Do I need a licence to operate items of plant e.g. elevating work platform, scaffolding, dogging or rigging work?

    Yes, you need to obtain a licence and you must be trained and assessed as competent by a SafeWork SA Registered Assessor.

    Contact SafeWork SA on 1300 365 255 should you require any further information or refer to the SafeWork SA website.

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  • Where can I find more information about prevention of falls?

    Safework SA

    SafeWork SA website

    Information Sheet: Ladders

    National Standard for Licensing Persons Performing High Risk Work (2006)
    WHS Regulations 2012 (Chapter 4, Part 4 - Falls)
    Code Of Practice for Managing the Risk of Falls at Workplaces

    HSW Handbook

    Hazard Management
    HSW Team

    Australian Standards

    (Available electronically for staff and students via Australian Standards online)

    https://subscriptions-techstreet-com.proxy.library.adelaide.edu.au/

    AS/NZS 1576 Scaffolding series

    AS/NZS 1657 Fixed platforms, walkways, stairways and ladders - Design, construction and installation

    AS/NZS 1891.1 Industrial fall-arrest systems and devices—Harnesses and ancillary equipment

    AS/NZS 1891.2 supp:1-2001 Industrial fall-arrest systems and devices - Horizontal lifeline and rail systems - Prescribed configurations for horizontal lifelines (Supplement to AS/NZS 1891.2:2001)

    AS/NZS 1891.3 Industrial fall-arrest systems and devices - Fall-arrest devices

    AS/NZS 1891.4 Industrial fall-arrest systems and devices - Selection, use and maintenance

    AS/NZS 1892 Portable ladders series

    AS/NZS 4142.3 Fibre ropes—Man-made fibre rope for static life rescue lines

    AS/NZS 4389 Safety mesh

    AS/NZS 4488 Industrial rope access systems series

    AS/NZS 4488.2 Industrial rope access systems—Selection, use and     maintenance

    AS/NZS 4576 Guidelines for scaffolding

    AS 2550.16 Cranes—Safe Use—Mast climbing work platforms

    AS/NZS 4994 Temporary edge protection series

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Provision of HSW information, instruction and training - HSW Induction/Orientation

The purpose of this information sheet is to provide Managers/Supervisors with guidance on the requirements for local induction/orientation of workers, in accordance with the Provision of HSW information, instruction and training chapter of the HSW Handbook.

Appendix A - Local Induction Record Template doc pdf

(Printable version)

  • What is the intent of HSW induction/orientation?
    To provide suitable and adequate HSW information to a worker when they:
    • commence work; or
    • are relocated or change their role significantly; or
    • return from an extended leave of absence.
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  • What type of information is included during HSW induction/orientation?

    The information provided will depend on the worker’s role and area of work. All staff will receive the information outlined in a) and b) below.


    a) At a corporate level – the HSW web-based induction
      • All new staff are provided with general information to assist them to understand:
      • the University’s health, safety and wellbeing system/framework;
      • that all staff have responsibilities for health and safety and in general terms, what they are;
      • where they can access information, assistance and general safety information.
    This information is provided on-line as part of the broader University’s induction program.  (i.e. included in the on-boarding tasks within the first 3 months of employment.  For further information, please refer to the HSW online induction.)
    b) At a local level

      (This information may be provided at a School/Branch or area level, depending on the agreed Faculty/Division HSW arrangements.)
      • Workers are provided with general information to assist them to understand (as a minimum):
      • the nature of hazards in the area of work, including a brief summary of any activities/items listed on the local Hazard Listing(s);
      • how they will be provided with the safety information relevant to their role, including the specific control measures for the activities listed on the local/area Hazard Listing(s) as applicable;
      • the location of health and safety information (if relevant)
        e.g. hazard listings, safe operating procedures, safety data sheets;
      • the names of key health and safety personnel. e.g. Health, Safety and Wellbeing Team, Health and Safety Representative(s), First Aid Officer(s), Floor Warden(s);
      • the location of the first aid kit(s);
      • that additional instruction (Induction and/or Proficiency) or Training (Competencies/licences/qualifications), may also be required before undertaking a task if:
        • working with hazardous chemicals (e.g. provision of lab rules); and/or
        • a level of proficiency is identified on a risk assessment as a control measure; and/or
        • a risk assessment for the activity has a residual risk of high or very high; and/or
        • the WHS legislation requires the worker to be assessed as competent (i.e. formal training by an authorised or Nationally Recognised Training Organisation who will provide them with a statement of attainment, qualification or licence following successful completion of the training)
      • emergency procedures for the area including:
        • procedure(s) on hearing an alarm e.g. Fire (single alarm or Beep.Beep.Whoop.Whoop, duress alarm, gas alarm in the area of work;
        • the location of the Emergency Evacuation Posters & Emergency Colour charts, with a brief explanation of Code Blue, Code Red etc
        • the location of the Emergency Exits & External Assembly Area(s) and Break Glass/duress/gas alarms/isolation points etc
        • Security arrangements for the building/area of work (e.g. swipe card access), working in isolation, after hours.
        • Emergency spill kit location and response (if applicable)
      • how to raise/report a HSW issue (e.g. a hazard, add an agenda item for discussion at a relevant committee, the requirement to report a work related incident/injury as soon as possible and who to report to;
      • the importance of discussing with the Manager/Supervisor, any specific requirements if they have a disability and require additional assistance in the role (e.g. building access, workstation modification, procedures for emergency evacuation);

    This general information can be delivered on a one-on-one basis, or as a group (e.g. lecture), on-line, email, brochure and/or website.

    See the Local Induction Record Template doc pdf which provides the minimum information to be provided but can be further customised by your School/Branch/area if required.

    Contractors
    For the University’s requirements for Contractor induction, refer to the Contractor Safety Management Handbook chapter.

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  • Is there a requirement for the information to be tailored to ensure that the worker understands the information in their induction/orientation?

    Yes. There is a WHS legislative requirement for Managers/Supervisors to ensure that the information has been understood by the person i.e. presented in a format that is suitable for their level of knowledge, experience and individual factors have been considered (e.g. language barriers, disabilities, knowledge base).

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  • What induction/orientation information is relevant for externally placed staff?

    The Manager/Supervisor for the staff member is to determine what HSW information is relevant to the role and specific area of work.  This information can be provided face-to-face, or alternatively if this is not practicable, in an email.

    Where email is used and the staff member is working with, or required to access an area containing hazardous chemicals or a level of proficiency is required before the staff member completes the task(s) then additional requirements are applicable.  Refer to the Provision of HSW information, instruction and training chapter of the HSW Handbook for specific requirements.

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  • Following the initial induction/orientation, what level of supervision/assistance is required?

    The level of supervision/assistance required is to be determined by the Supervisor/Manager for each worker based on the nature of the hazards associated with the work (e.g. area specific hazard listings) to ensure that the person is not placed at risk and/or does not place another person at risk.  Additional instruction/training may also be required and is to be discussed with the worker to ensure it is completed before they undertake the work.

    Refer to the Provision of HSW information, instruction and training chapter of the HSW Handbook for specific requirements.
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  • What records are required for local induction/orientation and what needs to be tracked on the School/Branch Training Plan?

    In accordance with the HSW Handbook chapter Provision of HSW information, instruction and training.

    Level 1 : Information
    Local induction/orientation training records are not required to be kept on file and training does not need to be tracked on the School/Branch HSW Training Plan.

    Schools/Branches must be able to demonstrate that there is a system (or systems) in place for providing suitable and adequate HSW information when a person commences work e.g. a log book, or a template similar to the Local Induction Record doc pdf of this information sheet and provide the information face-to-face or, have a specific website/brochure or email template used as part of the on-boarding activities.  This Information may be requested in the event of a significant incident and/or for HSW audit purposes.  Having regard to:
    • the nature of the work carried out by the worker; and
    • the nature of the risks associated with the work at the time the information, instruction or training is provided; and
    • the control measures to be implemented.

    Level 2 : Instruction
    Local induction/orientation training records are required as evidence that all workers:
    • using Hazardous Chemicals and/or entering a Chemical Laboratory containing Hazardous Chemicals have been provided with specific information and instructions before entering or working in the area e.g. lab rules, emergency procedures (this includes any area/task involving radiation).  This record may be kept in each lab’s log book or within an equivalent records management system e.g. a signed induction/orientation record for each worker which includes the relevant local information. 

    This record does not need to be tracked on the School/Branch HSW Training Plan.

    Contractors
    Induction records for contractors are outlined in the Contractor Safety Management Chapter of the HSW Handbook.
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Radiation Safety Management

The purpose of this information sheet is to provide technical information on radiation and support the information provided in the Radiation Safety Management HSW Handbook chapter.

(Printable version)

  • What is a radiation dose?
    • Radiation dose is the term given to the energy absorbed from ionising radiation.
    • It is measured as the energy absorbed from the radiation field per unit mass of the absorbing material.
    • The absorbed dose rate is the absorbed dose per unit time.
    • The word dose is normally used instead of the more correct absorbed dose.
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  • What are the biological effects of ionising radiation?

    Ionising radiation is harmful to life because it acts on cells and their constituents at the molecular level. Absorption of energy from ionising radiation may result in changes to the molecules, destruction of cellular elements and altered function or death of the cell. At low doses ionising radiation may cause cancers and induce genetic defects. At high doses it can kill cells, damage organs and cause rapid death.

    Somatic effects (appearing in the individual)

    These are the result of direct cell damage and can be:

    • acute if they appear within a short time of the exposure (hours or days); or
    • delayed if they appear after months or years.

    The damage done by high doses normally becomes evident within hours or days, but cancers may take many years to emerge.

    Genetic effects (appearing in the offspring)

    These are the result of damage to the DNA of germ cells and may occur at low doses. The effects are only apparent in offspring and are so small they are difficult to observe even in large populations.

    Hereditary malformations and diseases caused by genetic damage may take generations to show in the descendants of those irradiated.

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  • What are the medical effects of ionising radiation?

    Medical effects can be divided into:

    Deterministic effects

    The severity of the effect increases with the dose and there is a threshold dose below which no detrimental effects are seen. These are produced by relatively high doses. The effects vary considerably from one organ to another and the more radiation sensitive tissues or organs are the ovaries, testes, bone marrow and the lens of the eye.

    Stochastic effects

    These are statistical or random in nature and occur with a probability that depends on the radiation dose. In general only the probability of an effect can be established. The probability of the effect occurring is very low or zero at low doses. For radiation protection purposes the probability is assumed to be proportional to the dose. There are two types of stochastic effects. The first may result in the induction of cancer in the exposed person (somatic). The second may result in genetic (hereditary) disorders.

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  • What are the sources of radiation exposure?
    Everyone is exposed to natural radiation from cosmic rays and radioactive elements in the earth, the atmosphere and our own bodies. The dose from natural radiation background radiation in South Australia is about 2 mSv per year.
    People are also exposed to radiation sources at work/study, most commonly in medical, dental and veterinary procedures.
  • What are the terms and units associated with radiation protection?

    Absorbed Dose: is the amount of energy absorbed by any medium from any type of ionising radiation.
    It is often just called the dose.
    The unit is the Gray (Gy) 
    1 Gray = 1 Joule per kg

    Dose Rate: is the rate at which a dose is delivered, as in microGray per hour (background, most radiation work), milliGray per minute (diagnostic X-ray).

    Radiation Weighting Factor wR depends on the type of radiation, and is 1 for Beta and Gamma radiation and X-rays, and larger (10) for neutrons.

    Equivalent Dose is the calculation to estimate the biological hazard of different types of radiation.
    Equivalent Dose (in Sievert (Sv) = Absorbed Dose in Gray x Radiation Weighting Factor.

    Effective Dose is used as an indicator of the effects of radiation on the body as tissues and organs in the body differ in their sensitivity to radiation (i.e. the skin and liver are much less sensitive than the reproductive organs [testes and ovaries] or bone marrow). Tissue weighting factors, wT are used to indicate the relative sensitivity. In general, measurement of a radiation field in Sieverts by distance of a meter away will be a close approximation to the whole body effective dose.

    Activity is a measure of the quantity of radioactive material. For general purposes the rate at which a radioactive material is disintegrating (decaying) is the most useful quantity. It is important in designing experiments and in estimating the hazard from the radiation produced by the decay.

    Because the decay rate is directly proportional to the number of atoms of the radionuclide, the activity is a measure of the quantity of radioactive material.
    The unit is the Becquerel (Bq).
    1 Becquerel = 1 disintegration per second.
    As this is a very small quantity, we usually deal with kiloBecquerel (kBq), MegaBecquerel (MBq) or GigaBecquerel (GBq). Some sealed sources may be in the TeraBecquerel (TBq) range.

    Old Units are used in the USA but are not referenced in regulations or codes of practice in Australia.

    Absorbed dose: rad 1 rad = 10 mGray
    Equivalent and effective dose: rem 1 rem = 10 mSv
    Activity: Curie, Ci 1 Curie = 3.7 x 1010 Becquerel
    1 mCi = 37 MBq 1 microCi = 37 kBq
    1 GBq = 27 mCi 1MBq = 27 microCi
    1kBq = 27 nCi

    Dose Limits are limits to the effective dose (over and above normal background approximately 2 mSv a year) equivalent for radiation workers and the general population and are based on the best current data, which is that the probability of developing a fatal cancer is about 0.05 (about 20,000 to 1) per Sievert.

    The current South Australian legislated dose limits are:

    • Radiation Workers 20 mSv per year averaged over 5 years and no more than 50mSv in a year
    • Pregnant Workers 0.75 mSv during pregnancy
    • General Public 1 mSv per year

    Dose Constraint is an exposure level that is not expected to be exceeded. It is not a legal dose limit. It is used by the University as a guide to identify unusual changes in a worker’s dose and as a basis for investigation. The current dose constraint set by the University for radiation workers is 1 mSv per year. (Please note that an investigation will occur to prevent any worker reaching 1mSv per year should an anomaly be identified in the quarterly dose report received by the HSW Team).

    The Annual Limit of Intake (ALI), is the amount of a radionuclide that if ingested, inhalation or absorption will lead to a committed dose equal to the annual dose limit of 20 mSv. Data for the ALI of common radionuclides are included in Properties of Some Commonly Used Nuclides (see below).

    Derived Air Concentration (DAC) is the maximum concentration of a radionuclide, which if present in air, breathed at a standard rate of 20 litres per minute for 2000 hours per year, would be equivalent to the ALI.

    Derived Limit for Surface Contamination is contamination on surfaces which can cause external irradiation of the skin, and indirectly, ingestion of the radionuclide. The surface concentration of a radionuclide (in Bq per cm2) which in a working year would deliver the maximum annual skin dose (500 mSv) is the Derived Limit for Surface Contamination. It is the contamination in Becquerel per square centimetre that will deliver 250 microSv per hour to the skin. It is normally used as an indication of whether a surface needs decontamination. Data for surface contamination limits common radionuclides are included in Properties of Some Commonly Used Nuclides (see below).

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  • What is the classification for radionuclides and laboratories?

    Radionuclides
    For simplicity the radionuclides are classified into four classes according to their hazard. The radionuclides in Class 1 are the most hazardous (e.g. alpha emitters) while those in Class 4 (e.g. tritium) are the least. The classes for the common radionuclides are included in Properties of Some Commonly Used Nuclides (see below).

    Laboratories
    Laboratories in which radionuclides are used are placed in three classes: A, B and C. The classification is based on the activity level of radionuclides that can be safely used in each type of laboratory. Type C is the common type and is the one where the least quantities of radionuclides are used. Type B is designed for medium level and Type A is for the highest level of activity.

    The classification depends on:

    • the class to which the radionuclides belong;
    • the maximum activities used; and
    • the type of operations performed.
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  • What is the range of isotope activities allowed in laboratories?
    Radionuclide Class Laboratory Type
    C B A
    1 < 400 kBq

    400 kBq - 40 MBq > 40 MBq
    2 < 40 MBq 40 MBq - 4 GBq > 4 GBq
    3 < 4 GBq 4 GBq - 400 GBq > 400 GBq
    4 < 400 GBq 400 GBq - 40 TBq > 40 TBq
    • In general, University laboratories are Type C and are used for the less hazardous operations.
    • The quantity of a radionuclide that will be used in a laboratory must be multiplied by the factors in the following table and the results applied to the table above to determine the laboratory class that is required. The types of radionuclides and the maximum quantities that may be used are included in the Registration Certificate for each registered area.
    • The HSW Team (Human Resources) is responsible for the classification of registered premises.
    • The maximum amount of a radionuclide that can be used in a laboratory depends on the hazard from the type of work being done.
    • Working with dry, powdered material is more hazardous than pipetting of liquids.
    • The modifying factors indicate the level of precaution needed in handling the radionuclide. The modifying factor is one for normal chemical operations but up to one hundred times the normal quantity may be stored in the same type of laboratory.
    Modifying Factors
    Type of Operation Modifying Factors
    Simple storage 0.01
    Simple wet operations such as preparation of aliquot of stock solutions 0.1
    Normal operations involving few transfers 1
    Complex operations involving many transfers or complex apparatus 10
    Simple dry operations (e.g. manipulation of powders) 10
    Work with volatile radioactive compounds 10
    Dry, dust producing operations such as grinding 100
  • What are properties of some commonly used nuclides?

    For a table of some commonly used nuclides, please click here.

  • What specific information is there on Low Energy Emitters: Tritium, Carbon 14 and Sulfur 35?

    The energies of the beta particles from these radionuclides are so low that the external radiation hazard is negligible.

    External contamination is not a hazard in itself but must be kept to a minimum as it can lead to ingestion and internal contamination and can also interfere with experimental results.

    All three nuclides have the potential for incorporation into biologically important molecules, such as DNA and proteins.
    Care should be exercised when using these radionuclides to prevent ingestion despite their apparent low radiation risk.

    S35 labelled compounds (especially methionine) may be easily volatilised at moderate temperatures. Heating S35 materials is to be conducted in a fume cupboard.

  • What specific information is there on Phosphorus 32?

    Phosphorus 32 is the highest energy emitter radionuclide commonly encountered and requires special care. The maximum range of P32 particles in air and soft tissue is about 7 mm.

    General rules (as per the Radiation Protection and Control Ionising Radiation Regulations 2015), for shielding P32 beta particles 10 mm of Perspex is sufficient. The Perspex container or shielding should be surrounded by about 3 mm of lead to absorb the more penetrating bremsstrahlung.

    Work with P32 behind a small Perspex shield - this not only acts as a beta shield but also reduces the chance of splashing causing contamination.

    Handle Eppendorf tubes behind Perspex shields and use forceps. The dose rate will fall by a factor of ten thousand by moving your fingers from a distance of 1mm to 10 cm with forceps.

    Eye protection is to be worn at all times when handling radioactive materials and especially P32 solutions. A splash could lead to serious damage in a short time.

  • What specific information is there on Iodine 131?

    The energy of I131 gammas is 0.38 MeV and the betas 0.18 Mev and direct shielding may be needed for quantities of more than a few MBq.

    A main hazard with iodine radionuclides is ingestion; the hazard is increased because it is selectively taken up by the thyroid gland.

    Iodine compounds can easily generate volatile elemental iodine, which may then be inhaled. Great care must be taken to reduce the risk of inhalation of elemental iodine.

    Radioactive iodine bound to the carriers used in radioimmunoassays (RIA) is less hazardous than iodine or iodide ions.

    Except in the small quantities used in some RIA kits (<400 kBq), radioactive iodine should (< 40 MBq) and must (>40MBq), only be used in a Type B premise.

    Low gamma energy of I131 may make contamination surveys difficult.

    General rules

    • All operations with radioactive iodine are to be performed in a properly operating fume cupboard. The ventilation fan should be left running continuously;
    • Containers should be opened for as short a time as possible;
    • It is advisable to wear two pairs or use a pair of polythene gloves over the latex gloves as some iodine compounds can penetrate surgical latex gloves;
    • To reduce the formation of volatile elemental iodine, solutions containing iodide ions must not become acidic. Compounds of radioactive iodine may generate free iodine by radiolytic decomposition;
    • Materials which may contain radioactive iodine must NEVER be treated with oxidisers such as bleach as it releases free iodine;
    • A solution of sodium thiosulfate is to be available when handling radioactive iodine compounds. Poured on a spill this ensures the iodine is in the reduced form for clean-up; and
    • Contaminated wastes are to be sealed before being sent for storage or disposal.

  • What if you require further information on Radiation?

    If you require further information, please contact your local HSW contact.

Reproductive Toxicity

The purpose of these FAQs is to provide safety information on reproductive toxicity to female and male workers causing adverse effects: on sexual function and fertility; pregnancy; on or via lactation; and development of the offspring.

This information should be read in conjunction with the Hazard Management chapter of the HSW Handbook together with other HSW chapters and FAQs including radiation, chemical safety, biological safety and manual handling.

Note: The term “seek medical advice” in this document refers to advice from medical practitioners or obstetricians as appropriate.

(Printable version)

  • What agents in the University can affect reproduction (fertility, pregnancy or breast feeding)?
    Agents which can affect the body’s reproductive systems include the following:
    • Some hazardous chemicals
    • Radiation
    • Some biological agents
    • Manual handling
    • Noise
    • Excessive vibration
    • Temperature.
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  • What does an 'adverse effects on sexual function and fertility' mean?

    This refers to any effect of Agents that would interfere with sexual function and fertility.  This may include, but is not limited to, alterations to the female and male reproductive system, adverse effects on the onset of puberty, reproductive cycle, sexual behaviour, fertility, childbirth, pregnancy outcomes, or modifications in other functions that are dependent on the integrity of the reproductive systems.

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  • What does an 'adverse effects on development of the offspring' mean?

    Developmental toxicity includes any effect which interferes with normal development of the embryo, either before or after birth.  It is primarily intended to provide hazard warnings for pregnant women and men and women of reproductive capacity.  These effects can be manifested at any point in the life span of the foetus.

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  • What does an 'adverse effects on or via lactation for breastfeeding mothers' mean?

    Substances which are absorbed by women may interfere in lactation, or be present in breast milk in amounts sufficient to cause concern for the health of a breastfed child.

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  • How do I identify chemicals/substances that are toxic to reproduction or cause heritable damage?

    Via the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for the chemical. Each SDS is slightly different so you may find that there is information in one section but not another.
    Important Note: Health and safety data on chemicals is subject to change, sometimes frequently, and before you use any chemical you should check the most up-to-date SDS for that chemical to determine if the potential risks associated with it have changed. Whether it is for reproductive or other human health issues, always observe the precautions and document them in a Risk Assessment (RA) and Safe Operating Procedure (SOP) where required by the Risk Assessment.

    Extract from a Chemwatch SDS

    Section
    Section 2
    Hazards Identification
    Risk Phrases R46 May cause heritable genetic damage
    R60 May impair fertility
    R61 May cause harm to the unborn child
    R62 Possible risk of impaired fertility
    R63 Possible risk of harm to the unborn child
    R64 May cause harm to breast-fed babies
    GHS Classification Reproductive Toxicity Category 1A
    Reproductive Toxicity Category 1B
    Reproductive Toxicity Category 2, Lactation Effects*
    Germ cell mutagenicity Category 1A
    Germ cell mutagenicity Category 1B
    Germ cell mutagenicity Category 2 
    Label elements
    Signal word Warning or Danger
    Hazard Statement(s) H340 May cause genetic defects.
    H341 Suspected of causing genetic defects.
    H360 May damage fertility or the unborn child.
    H361 Suspected of damaging fertility or the unborn child.
    H362 May cause harm to breast-fed children.
    Precautionary Statement(s): Prevention P308 +P313 If exposed or concerned: Get medical advice/attention.
    P263 Avoid contact during pregnancy / while nursing.

    Section 11
    Toxicological Information

    Chronic This section refers to specific testing results. Most of the time this is related to animal trials but there may be results from human trials also. Phrases such as ‘exposure to the material may cause concerns for human fertility’
    • Possible developmental toxic effects.
    • Maternal toxicity
    • Birth defects
    • Teratogenic effects
    • Defects in the developing embryo (teratogenesis)
    Section 12
    Ecological Information
    Toxicity Harmful to aquatic organisms.
    Note: typically chemicals that will affect aquatic organisms may affect the unborn baby – this is the view considered by professionals in this field.

    Please refer the Appendix A of the Reproductive Toxicity Chapter for more examples of Safety Data Sheet information.

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  • What does 'no data available' mean in the Safety Data Sheet (SDS)?

    "No data available" is a phrase used in the SDS when the company does not have its testing data available for this chemical. It is recommended that you also consult another SDS e.g. Chemwatch to see if the information is included in an alternative SDS.

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  • What do I need to know about reproductive hazards if I am a male worker?

    Reproductive hazards can affect the male reproductive system by affecting the number of sperm, sperm shape, sperm transfer, sexual performance and sperm chromosomes. Consult the Safety Data Sheet for the chemical (sections 2), before using it and ensure that a risk assessment is conducted for the task.

    The Information below is specifically regarding male reproductive hazards (extract from Centre for Disease Control and Prevention). https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/96-132/

    Male Reproductive Hazards*
    Observed effects
    Type of Exposure Lowered Number of Sperm Abnormal Sperm Shape Altered Sperm Shape Altered hormones/Sexual Performance
    2,4-Dichlorophenoxy Acetic Acid (2,4-D)   X X  
    Bromine Vapor** X X X  
    Carbaryl (Sevin)   X    
    Carbon Disulfide       X
    Dibromochloropropane X      
    Ethylene Dibromide X X X  
    Ethylene Glycol Monoethyl Ether X      
    Kepone (When exposed to high levels)     X  
    Lead X X X X
    Mercury Vapor       X
    Military Radar X      
    Perchloroethylene     X  
    Toluenediamine and Dinitrotoluene X      
    Heat X   X  
    Welding   X X  
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  • What do men and women need to consider regarding their fertility and using radiation?

    Radiation threshold doses for adverse effects on male and female reproductive tissues are outlined below.

    Threshold doses – adverse effects in reproductive tissues.
    Tissues and effects Total dose
    Single brief exposure (mSv)
    Annual dose rate received in highly fractionated or protracted exposure for many years (mSv/yr)
    Male Testes
    Temporary sterility 300 400
    Permanent sterility 3500-6000 2000
    Female Ovaries
    Sterility 2500-6000 >2000

    Note: University of Adelaide radiation workers in general are allowed a maximum of 1 millisievert (mSv) per year and are monitored to ensure they receive no more than 0.2 mSv in any three month period. This is 1500 times lower than the lowest single dose exposure known to cause temporary sterility.

    1 Sv = 1000 mSv
    1 millisievert (1 mSv = 0.001 Sv)
    1 microsievert (1 μSv = 0.000001 Sv)

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  • What are the considerations when using radiation whilst pregnant?
    • The risk of ionizing radiation causing detriment to the foetus is higher than the risk to the worker.  The normal dose limit for a worker is therefore reduced during pregnancy.
    • The National Health and Medical Research Council (Australia’s leading support for health and medical research) and Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (Federal Government agency governing radiation) recommend the same level of protection for the foetus as for a member of the public.  This dose of 1 mSv in a year is equivalent to a limit of 0.75 mSv to the abdomen during the pregnancy.
    • In practice the doses to workers in the University are normally well below 0.2 mSv per year and the risk to the foetus is very low.

    If a radiation worker becomes pregnant the following steps are to be taken:
    • Your doctor/obstetrician must be consulted regarding radiation work practices as soon as possible.
    • Licenced Supervisors should be informed of your pregnancy (speak with your doctor / obstetrician about the timing of this discussion).
    • A pregnant worker must re-evaluate her work practices and radiation exposure in order to minimise radiation exposure during pregnancy. This can be done by reviewing the risk assessment for the radiation tasks that you plan on undertaking during your pregnancy.
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  • I'm a licensed radiation supervisor. What should I do if one of my workers informs me they are pregnant?
    • Review work practices together i.e. risk assessments and any Safe Operating Procedures.
    • Ask the individual what their doctor / obstetrician’s advice is.
    • Consult with the HSW Team. The University Radiation Safety Officer (URSO) advice will be sought if necessary.
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  • What biological agents are pregnant women at risk from working with?
    The following can present extra hazards to pregnant women:
    • Toxoplasma gondii
    • Listeria monocytogenes
    • Cytomegalovirus (CMV)
    • Parvovirus B19
    • Rubella  virus (German Measles)
    • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
    • Q fever (Coxiella burnetii)
    • Hepatitis Viruses
    • Varicella-zoster virus VZV (Chickenpox)

    Please see Examples of Safety Data Sheet Information for extra information.

    Note this is not an exhaustive list and hence workers should assess the risk of the biological material as a part of the hazard management procedure.

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  • What do I do if someone in my workgroup has contracted German measles, chicken pox or shingles and I am pregnant?

    Discuss with your supervisor/doctor what the options are in your workgroup whilst the staff/student is in the infective period.

    Consult with your local HSW Team for more information.

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  • What do I need to consider with Manual Handling (Hazardous Manual Tasks) whilst being pregnant?

    Physical changes in new and expectant mothers:

    Significant physiological changes during and after pregnancy can increase the chances of occupational injury:
    • As the abdomen distends, the centre of gravity is moved forward.  This change in body shape can sometimes affect balance and limit the workers ability to work in awkward areas.
    • The exaggerated curve in the lower back can lead to discomfort from prolonged standing or sitting.  It may become increasingly difficult to perform manual handling tasks as abdominal size increases.
    • Muscles relax which can lead to increased chance of injury if overworking or overstretching.

    Guiding principles when assigning tasks to a new or expectant mother:

    • Task design should take account of the range of human dimensions and capabilities such as height, reach and weight. These parameters generally alter during the term of the pregnancy.  Manual handling tasks should therefore be reassessed and adapted to accommodate the changing requirements of the pregnant worker.
    •  Adapt work systems to accommodate the health / fitness status of the worker.
    • During pregnancy a staff member / student should not be obliged to perform physically hard work, such as lifting, pulling, pushing or carrying heavy objects, and operating foot pedals in standing position.  Especially during the last trimester it is better to limit these activities as much as possible.  If this is not reasonably practicable, consider not doing the task, if appropriate.
    • Where possible, workers themselves should be given some control over how their work is organised such that the hours, volume and pacing of their work is not excessive. The opportunity to make regular position changes is important.

    Specific task-related points to consider:

    Fatigue and seating:
    • Fatigue from standing and other physical work has long been associated with problems of pregnancy.  Well-designed seating should be provided where possible and regular rest breaks encouraged.
    • Pregnant persons should avoid sitting or standing for longer than 4 hours or as comfortable.  In the last trimester of the pregnancy, stooping, squatting or kneeling more than once per hour is not recommended.
    Lifting:
    • The new or expectant mother should pay particular attention to lifting technique and wherever possible use a mechanical aid e.g. a trolley.  The additional size of her abdomen will prevent the worker from holding the load close to the body, and the additional weight of the pregnancy increases the load on the lumbar spine.  Where repetitive lifting or manual handling is unavoidable and the task cannot be feasibly redesigned, the task may need to be assigned to another worker, particularly in later stages of pregnancy.
    • Lifting heavy loads manually is to be avoided. Please consult with your medical practitioner if lifting loads is required during your pregnancy. More information can be found at: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/repro/physicaldemands.html.
    Working with animals:
    • The new or expectant mother should consider the risks associated with working with animals. These risks around the restraining and unpredictability of animal behaviour which could result in a serious injury to the expectant mother and have an adverse effect on the foetus. These types of activities should be discussed with the medical practitioner prior to undertaking any work with animals.
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  • What level of noise exposure should be avoided whilst being pregnant?

    During your pregnancy avoid occupational noise exposures over 85 decibels, if this is not possible then conduct a risk assessment on your task in consultation with your medical practitioner. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, during pregnancy you can wear hearing protection, however there is no protection to the foetus. Increased noise levels may still have the ability to damage the foetus hearing.

    Please refer to the HSW Handbook chapter – Noise and Sound safety management and the following link for more information https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/repro/noise.html

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  • What do I need to consider regarding the excessive vibration during pregnancy?

    During your pregnancy avoid occupational activities involving vibrations-either high frequency vibrations or regular low frequency vibrations, e.g. off road driving, if this is not possible then seek advice from your medical practitioner.

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  • What factors should be considered regarding the temperature of the environment and pregnancy?

    Pregnant workers are less tolerant of high temperatures. They are more prone to fainting and heat stress which can be dangerous for both the mother and foetus. Care should be taken when exposed to heat for prolonged periods.

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  • What should I consider if I become pregnant and I work in a hazardous environment? e.g. laboratory, field work etc?
    • Seek medical advice if you are concerned specifically about your proposed work schedule.  Consider taking procedures and SDSs with you to the doctor if you think it would assist the conversation.
    • If you have any problems do not hesitate to consult your doctor / obstetrician.
    • There is no requirement for you to tell your supervisor you are pregnant, however it is beneficial to discuss your proposed work schedule for the 9 months of your pregnancy with your supervisor.  Contact your local HSW Team if you require assistance with this discussion.
    • Are there any experiments involving risk factors planned?  Consider if they can be delayed until after the first trimester or for the duration of the pregnancy?
    • Consider alternative work schedules e.g. Do you have any papers to write or grants to apply for?  That you may need to work on during the critical first trimester.
    • In consultation with your supervisor(s), is there another worker in your laboratory who is able to help during your experiment(s) with the step(s) that require the chemical that may be toxic to reproduction?
    • Do you have a risk assessment and Safe Operating Procedure for all the tasks you are going to conduct?  Reassess the tasks you will conduct over the pregnancy period, as pregnancy may not have been considered when the documents were written. Are there any additional controls that can be put in place?
    • If you have an incident where you are exposed to a substance/chemical/radiation seek medical advice immediately and report it in UniSafe.
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  • What do I do if I am a supervisor and my staff member/student has informed me they are pregnant?
    • You need to consider confidentiality of that conversation.
    • Consider the tasks and processes that are given to the worker.
    • Review the risk assessment and Safe Operating Procedures in consultation with the workers for the activities within your area.
    • Be aware of the information and responsibilities in the Fair Treatment Procedure in regard to pregnant/potentially pregnant workers.
    • Contact Human Resources/the central HSW Team for more information if you are unsure on what to do..
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  • What are additional controls that can be considered when conducting a risk assessment?

    Using the hierarchy of controls is the process to eliminate or where this is not possible, manage the risks to as low a level as is reasonably practicable.

      1. Elimination – Can the task or chemical be eliminated?
      2. Substitution - Is there another task or chemical that can be used? Can a liquid instead of a powder be purchased?
      3. Isolation / Engineering – Can the fume cupboard be used? Can a new piece of equipment be used?
      4. Administration – Review all risk assessments and Safe Operating Procedures that will be conducted over the next 9 months of your pregnancy. Are there any additional controls that can be included that were not considered when the documents were originally written?
      5. Personal Protective Equipment – Consider wearing two pairs of gloves or long cuff gloves, safety glasses, face
        shield, laboratory coat.

    Note: any of these controls can be used by any staff/student, you do not have to be considering pregnancy, pregnant or breastfeeding to consider these controls these are just ideas.

    Carefully planning your experiments over the next 9 months can be an important step in hazard management process whilst pregnant.

    There may be no changes that need to be made to your processes.

    Consult the Hazard Management Handbook chapter  for more information.

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  • What arrangements need to be put in place if advised by my medical practitioner that it is inadvisable to continue my current duties?

    Staff should refer to the University of Adelaide Enterprise Agreement.

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  • Where do I obtain additional information on Reproductive toxicity?

    If you require further information, please contact a member of the local HSW Team.

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Research Using Laboratory Animals

The purpose of these FAQs is to clarify the responsibilities for hazard management and the provision of information, instruction and training when performing research using laboratory animals across the University. It provides specific advice to local areas on the options and arrangements available to supervisors for the provision of information, instruction and training to staff and students, depending on the level of risk.

(Printable version)

  • What factors need to be considered when conducting research using laboratory animals?

    Workers should be aware that the use of animals for scientific research, teaching, training, testing, or experimentation is regulated by State legislation - The Animal Welfare Act 1985 (SA) and the Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes 8th edition 2013.

    Workers will need to receive information, instruction and training – depending on the tasks and/or activities they need to undertake in the research laboratory.   Refer to Q3 (Table 1 for guidance) What information, instruction and training is required for workers conducting research using laboratory animals?

    It’s important to note that supervisors of workers conducting research using animals, are responsible for:

    • performing hazard identification and a risk assessment (RA) that is specific to the tasks and activities they are undertaking (this includes developing tasks specific Safe Operating Procedures (SOPs) if used as a control);
    • determining if a proficiency is required to undertake the task/activity safely;
    • determining the level of supervision required for workers whilst becoming proficient; and
    • determining when a proficiency has been attained.

    For a definition of who is a supervisor please consult the HSW Handbook chapter on HSW Information, instruction and training.

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  • What hazards can exist when conducting research using laboratory animals?

    Hazards associated with using and handling laboratory animals may arise from a variety of sources, including viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, ionising and non-ionising radiation, hazardous substances, toxins, carcinogens, allergens, recombinant DNA techniques, anaesthetic gases and physical injuries.  Some of the hazards may be controlled by the animal facility’s certification requirements i.e. PC1 or PC2 Laboratories.

    However, the hazard management for tasks undertaken in the laboratory or animal facility and the determination of proficiency required to perform those tasks, is the responsibility of the supervisor.  Supervisors should identify if any of the following hazards may apply.

    1. Physical injuries – A number of tasks in laboratories or animal facilities require moderate to heavy physical labour, and performing these tasks may expose workers to risks including those from moving heavy equipment (strains), slippery floors, hot surfaces-autoclaved equipment. Working with laboratory rodents has an associated risk of rodent bites and scratches. This also applies to other animals prone to biting and/or scratching. Working with larger animals (sheep, cows, horses etc) carries a much higher risk of injury due to the strength of the animal. Wherever possible engineering controls should be used.
    2. Infection - To minimize the risks associated with infections arising from any penetrating wounds such as animal bites or needle sticks, all persons working with laboratory animals and/or in laboratory animal facilities or should maintain their tetanus vaccination status. This will require that the area, or School/Branch, collect and monitor records on each workers vaccination status. Each animal species harbours microorganisms, therefore each species should be evaluated for zoonotic disease risk.
    3. Allergies – factors affecting animal allergen levels in a laboratory or animal room include animal species, ventilation, bedding, hygiene practices and tasks performed.
    4. Chemical safety – Research with animals involves various chemicals such as detergents, disinfectants, anaesthetics, tissue preservatives, research compounds, animal analgestics, antibiotics, radiosotopies, tranquilisers and humane killing agents.
    5. Venomous or toxic animals – Research sometimes involves working with venomous (e.g. poisonous snakes, spiders) or toxic (e.g. cane toads) animals. These animals introduce further specific hazards that must be considered.

    Note: PPE and Safe Operating Procedures will reduce but not eliminate chemical, allergen and infection risks.

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  • What information, instruction and training is required for workers conducting research using laboratory animals?

    The supervisor must identify the level of information, instruction and training required, based on the nature of the risk involved when working with laboratory animals.  Refer to the HSW Handbook chapter HSW Training Plan (Appendix A) Levels of HSW information, instruction and training and records management and Table 1 below.

    For example, in laboratories:

    • Level 3 training and licencing is required if working with radiation;
    • Level 2 instruction and demonstrated proficiency may be required, which enables the operator to complete a high risk activity safely and without supervision (e.g. working with hazardous chemicals);
    • Level 1 information is required to ensure general safety and compliance with Animal Ethics and Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) requirements.

    Records for Level 2 proficiencies and Level 3 training must appear on a Schools Training Plan or equivalent.

    Table 1: Research Using Laboratory Animals - Information, instruction and training
    Training Who Undertakes Training Providers About the training
    Level 1 Information
    Animal Ethics Training All Students and Staff working with Animals

    Animal Welfare Officer (AWO), Research Services Office for Research Ethics and Compliance (ORECI)

    This course is to draw attention to ethical questions that must be considered when scientific and teaching activities relating to the conditional use of animals are proposed.

    There is particular emphasis on the responsibilities involved and on the importance of compliance with the Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes - 8th Edition 2013

    OGTR requirements training All persons working in an OGTR certified facility LAS & ORECI All personnel (staff, students, visitors) must be trained in the OGTR requirements of the Physical Containment Facility Guidelines, irrespective of whether they are working with Genetically modified organism (GMOs).
    Laboratory Animal Services (LAS) Induction All users of Laboratory Animal Services facilities LAS This training program is to provide animal users with the necessary information that will enable them to use the Laboratory Animal Services (LAS) efficiently, productively and ethically, by having the highest regard for the policies and procedures in place to ensure animal well-being and experimental integrity and reliability.
    Level 2 Instruction
    Laboratory Task Hazard Management Staff and students undertaking animal related tasks Laboratory Supervisor

    In order to comply with University HSW Handbook Chapters on Hazard Management and Information, Instruction and Training, the supervisor of the task should

    • Perform hazard identification and risk assessment that is specific to the tasks and activities they undertake in their laboratory
    • Determine the level of supervision required while becoming competent in a proficiency
    • Determine when a proficiency has been attained

    Introductory Mouse Handling, Injection and Blood Collection Techniques

    Introductory Rat Handling, Injection and Blood Collection Techniques

    Staff and students undertaking animal related tasks; identified on RA or by the Supervisor

    LAS and AWO

    (If required by the Supervisor)

    These sessions are intended as an introduction to commonly used laboratory animal procedures and techniques for new students and less experienced staff. They will be conducted by the Animal Welfare Officer and Laboratory Animal Services.

    Proficiencies obtained by participants

        • Catching, holding and weighing of laboratory rodents
        • Injection techniques used with laboratory rodents
        • Blood collection techniques used with laboratory rodents
        • Additional task specific 1 on 1 training can be provided when requested by project supervisor.
    Introductory Rodent Anaesthesia and Surgical Techniques Staff and students undertaking animal related tasks; as identified on RA or by the Supervisor

    LAS & AWO

    (If required by the Supervisor)

    This course is conducted as two separate sessions (one session for Rodent Anaesthesia, and one session for Aseptic Surgery principles & practice)

    Proficiencies obtained by participants

    • Anaesthesia of laboratory rodents using injection and inhalation techniques
    • Principles of anaesthesia
    • Skin incision and suturing skills
    • Aseptic surgery principles & practice
    Introductory rodent euthanasia Staff and students undertaking animal related tasks; as identified on RA or by the Supervisor

    LAS & AWO

    (If required by the Supervisor)

    These sessions are intended as an introduction to commonly used laboratory animal procedures and techniques for new students and less experienced staff.

    Proficiencies obtained by participants

    • Humane killing of laboratory rodents using injection, inhalation and physical techniques
    • Confirmation of death
    Other task specific proficiencies required not covered by basic introductory courses Staff and students undertaking animal related tasks as identified on RA or by the Supervisor LAS and AWO

    Session can be arranged with LAS and AWO as required.

    Proficiencies against an SOP(s) must be performed by the local Supervisor.

    Level 3 Training
    Use of Radiation All radiation users University Radiation Officer Ensure that Human Resources is consulted and the relevant legislation is complied with before any work listed on the Prescribed List (Appendix A) - Radiation Safety Management HSW Handbook chapter, is undertaken for the first time.

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  • Who is responsible for ensuring workers conducting research using laboratory animals receive information instruction and training?
    In accordance with the Provision of information, instruction and training HSW Handbook chapter, it is the supervisor’s responsibility to determine what information, instruction or training is required.  The Head of School/Branch should take steps to ensure supervisors are providing adequate information, instruction and training to their staff and students in order to keep them safe in the workplace using, for example, workplace monitoring. This might be done through visiting facilities to review how animal handling safety is being managed or seeking to have the activities included on the Safety Review component of Workplace Monitoring HSW Handbook chapter.
  • When should I review the effectiveness of my hazard management and information, instruction and training where the School/Branch conducts research using laboratory animals?

    A supervisor (or the facility manager where the activity takes place in a centrally managed facility) should AT ALL TIMES ensure compliance with laboratory rules, facility guidelines and Safe Operating Procedures.  Workers should be ordered to cease work where ever unsafe behaviour is observed.

    Should an incident or near miss occur, the incident should be reported to allow the local HSW Team to review the incident or near miss and where appropriate investigate to identify any failures and improvements that will prevent a recurrence.

    Where an investigation finds that information, instruction and training was not sufficient to prevent injury, changes should be made with greater supervision until there is greater confidence in their effectiveness.  The RA and SOP should be updated to reflect any corrective actions.

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  • Where do I obtain further information on requirements if conducting research using laboratory animals?

    If you require further information, please contact a member of the local HSW Team.

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Safe Operating Procedures (SOP)

The purpose of these FAQs is to provide guidance to staff in deciding if a Safe Operating Procedure is required in accordance with the Hazard Management HSW Handbook chapter.

(printable version)

  • What is a Safe Operating Procedure (SOP) and what information is included?

    A SOP is a document which sets out the step by step process to carry out a task safely.

    It should be written with enough detail to ensure that someone with limited experience or knowledge of the procedure can complete the activity in a safe manner when unsupervised.  Therefore it should be concise, easy to follow and in a logical sequence of steps.

    The information included on the SOP should:

    • name/identify the task;
    • include a photograph(s) where this would assist;
    • include the name of the Risk Assessment it relates to, for further reference, if required;
    • identify the hazards the operator needs to be aware of;
    • list the operational steps from start to finish, including any pre-operational checks, actions when the task is complete (e.g. any waste management requirements);
    • list any Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) required to complete the task;
    • describe any emergency procedures (if relevant);
    • include the name(s) of the people involved in drafting the SOP.
    A SOP is a valuable tool when the task is completed the same way every time.

    A Safe Operating Procedure template is available in the HSW Handbook in the Hazard Management chapter (Appendix E).

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  • Do all tasks require a Safe Operating Procedure (SOP)?

    No.  A SOP is only required when a person completing a risk assessment has identified that a task has the potential to cause a serious injury/illness and a SOP would assist the operator to complete the task safely (i.e. It is used as a safety control measure or in conjunction with other safety control measures).

    The SOP is an effective safety measure:

    • when the operator needs to follow specific steps from beginning to end in order to complete the task safely; and
    • when the task is completed in the same way every time.
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  • Do I need to complete a Safe Operating Procedure (SOP) for the item of equipment/chemical or is it just completed for the activity?

    The SOP is written for a “task activity”.  It is not until the item of equipment or chemical is used that the operator is placed at risk.  A SOP could incorporate the operation of multiple items of equipment and/or chemicals in order to complete one task.  Each stage of the task therefore needs to be considered and included in the SOP if this is the case.

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  • What factors should I consider in deciding if a Safe Operating Procedure (SOP) is required?

    Refer to the Hazard Management – Safe Operating Procedure (SOP) decision tool below (click on image to expand).

    SOP Decision tool

    Definitions:

    Hazardous chemical Hazardous plant/equipment

    A substance, mixture or article that satisfies the criteria for a hazard class in the Globally
    Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS), including a
    classification referred to in Schedule 6 Work Health and Safety Regulations 2012 (SA), but
    does not include a substance, mixture or article that satisfies the criteria solely for one of the
    following hazard classes:

    1. acute toxicity – oral – cat 5
    2. acute toxicity – dermal – cat 5
    3. acute toxicity – inhalation – cat 5
    4. skin corrosion/irritation – cat 3
    5. serious eye damage/irritation
    6. aspiration hazard – cat 2
    7. flammable gas – cat 2
    8. acute hazard to the aquatic environment
    9. chronic hazard to the aquatic environment – cat 1 – 4
    10. hazardous to the ozone layer.

    Any plant/equipment used for a work/task related activity that:

    • has the potential:
      • to entangle, crush, cut/stab/puncture, trap, shear, tear or strike (i.e. safe-guarding is
        required);
      • for a pinch point to trap any part of the body or catch loose clothing, hair etc (e.g.
        conveyor, gears, loaders and other moving equipment);
      • for a worker to come into contact with fluids under high pressure;
      • to cause a serious burn/injury;
      • to expose the worker to live electrical conductors;
      • to expose the worker to gases/vapours/liquids/dusts/other substances triggered by the
        operation;
      • to explode or implode;
      • to exceed safe noise levels;
      • for the worker to adopt poor posture (see definition for a Hazardous manual activity);
      • to overturn, collide with another person or thing (e.g. moving powered plant);
    • lifts or suspends a load;
    • is an industrial robot or other remotely or automatically energised plant at the workplace;
    • involves non-ionising radiation or high level magnetic fields;
    • requires registration in accordance with Schedule 5 of the Work Health and Safety Regulations
      2012 (SA).

    Refer to the HSW Handbook chapter Plant/Equipment Safety Management for additional
    information.

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  • Who should complete the Safe Operating Procedure (SOP)?

    It should be completed by the supervisor or person in control of the area and/or any other workers who are proficient in the activity.  (i.e. that have a good working knowledge of the process and task.).

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  • How would I find out if there is an existing Safe Operating Procedure (SOP) for an activity?
    • During your induction to your area of work.
      Your supervisor or the person in control of the area would provide you with information on the hazards of the tasks to be performed and the preferred way to safely perform the task before you commence the activity; or.
    • The SOP could be displayed in your area of work e.g. adjacent to the item of equipment you are about to use; or
    • You could ask your supervisor or person in control of the area if one has been completed.
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  • What level of information and/or instruction is required when there is a Safe Operating Procedure (SOP) documented for the activity?

    It will depend on the level of risk.

    If the task is considered to be low risk and doesn’t require a level of proficiency (see note) before you complete the task on your own, then you would be provided with the information on the SOP during your induction to the area of work or when you first complete the task i.e. as general information.

    If however, if there is a higher level of skill and/or risk associated with the task, then you would receive a higher level of instruction and for you do demonstrate that you are proficient (i.e. have a proficiency) in the task before completing the task without supervision.

    A Safe Operating Procedure may be used as a tool during the proficiency assessment process.

    Note:  Proficiency (in a University context), is the achievement of a level of demonstrable knowledge, ability or skill acquired through instruction, which enables the operator to complete a high risk activity safely and without supervision.

    It will generally have a practical component to enable the trainee to observe the process from beginning to end, and then demonstrate back to their trainer/assessor that they are proficient/skilled to undertake the task or operate the equipment without supervision.  It may also include emergency procedures where relevant.

    This type of training is required prior to workers undertaking an activity where proficiency training has been identified as a control measure on the risk assessment.  A proficiency template may be based on the Safe Operating Procedure or could be via a log book or series of supervised training sessions/courses.

    (For further information on proficiencies and requirements, refer to the Provision of information, instruction and training HSW Handbook chapter.)

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  • Where do I go for further information on Safe Operating Procedures (SOP) and/or the SOP template?

    The HSW Handbook Hazard Management

    Your local Faculty/Branch HSW Team

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Schedule of Programmable Events (SPE)

The purpose of this Information sheet is to assist the Faculty/Division/Schools/Branches to complete the SPE in accordance with the HSW Handbook chapter.

(Printable version)

  • What is the Schedule of Programmable Events?

    The SPE is a planning template and process created for the University by the HSW Team, which collates the key activities in the Faculty/Division/School/Branch that require a specific safety check/activity at a specific frequency/time, in order to meet the requirements of the:

    • WHS legislation (or other legislation) and/or
    • University’s procedures contained in relevant HSW Handbook chapters.

    The HSW SPE document format, should provide the Faculty/Division/School/Branch with a template which:

    • summarises the activities that need to be done each year;
    • enables the area to record when activities are completed (e.g. a date or other indicator);
    • enables the area to monitor progress; and
    • identifies where there are any gaps in compliance.

    The HSW SPE also forms part of the Faculty/Division/School/Branch contingency arrangements (e.g. to ensure that if a person assigned HSW responsibilities on the HSW SPE is absent, the scheduling and implementation of those key activities is not “person” dependant.  Someone else can be assigned to pick up the task.)

    Remember: If you have any other system within your Faculty/Division/School/Branch which schedules and monitors these activities (i.e. where there may be duplication of documentation) then you are not required to manage these through the SPE.  However, you must ensure that the “other system” is appropriately monitored to ensure that the activities are being completed and identify on your SPE the process/system being used for audit purposes/reference.

    An SPE template (in Word and Excel format) is available for tailoring by your Faculty/Division/School/Branch if required.

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  • Do all Faculties/Divisions/Schools/Branches need to create and maintain a Schedule of Programmable Events?

    No. It is possible that the activities listed within the HSW Handbook chapter SPE are not relevant to your School/Branch/area or are being monitored via another system. (Please note that if another system is being used to schedule and monitor HSW activities, then this should be clearly identified by the Local HSW Team for audit purposes/reference, if required.

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  • How does the University use and maintain the Schedule of Programmable Events (SPE)?

    At the local level the Faculty Technical Services Manager or equivalent (e.g. Research Technical Services Manager, Faculty HR Manager, or Faculty Executive Manager), or Head of Branch (or delegate):

    • will determine what HSW activities should form part of the Faculty/Division/School/Branch SPE document, in consultation with the relevant staff and decide on the best way in which to schedule and monitor that the activities are completed;
    • will nominate who is responsible for maintaining the tailored SPE(s);
    • will determine the frequency of the reviews; and
    • should report by exception to the Faculty/Division Health and Safety Committee when things are not going to plan.

    To assist areas in identifying the legislative/University requirements, a guide has been provided within the HSW Handbook chapter SPE (Appendix A) as a starting point. Please note that there may be additional requirements beyond this guide outlined in Legislation, Approved Codes of Practice and Australian Standards (AS) that also need to be captured where applicable.

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  • Does the Faculty/Division/School/Branch have to use the Schedule of Programmable Events (SPE) templates provided within the HSW Handbook chapter?

    No.

    The Faculties/Divisions/Schools/Branches may choose another format provided that the SPE template meets the requirements outlined in the HSW Handbook chapter.  The templates are provided to save Faculties/Divisions/Schools/Branches administration time in interpreting the chapter and then setting up a template which meets the requirements.  Only the activities conducted need to be included on the SPE (i.e. it is tailored SPE for the area).

    .

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  • How is the Schedule of Programmable Events (SPE) monitored?

    The Faculty Technical Services Manager or equivalent (e.g. Research Technical Services Manager, Faculty HR Manager, or Faculty Executive Manager), or Head of Branch (or delegate) is to ensure that the SPE is monitored on a regular basis and determine how this is best achieved i.e. there isn’t a prescribed process set out in the HSW Handbook chapter.

    It is strongly recommended that checks are conducted at least quarterly, where there are a number of activities being monitored for completion, to avoid non-compliance with the WHS/relevant legislation and to provide the area with time to take corrective action before the end of the calendar year.

    It should be noted that a report to the Executive Dean/Divisional Head and/or copy of the final SPE for the year is to be provided, outlining the activities that have not been met.  This enables the “Officers” (see note) of the University to exercise their due diligence and rectify any non-compliance issues.

    Note

    In accordance with the HSW Policy, an officer is defined as follows -

    “An officer is a person who makes decisions, or participates in making decisions that affect the whole or a substantial part of a business or undertaking and has the capacity to significantly affect the financial standing of the business or undertaking.  If a person is responsible only for implementing those decisions, they are not considered an officer.”

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  • Where can I find more information on the Schedule of Programmable Events (SPE)?

    If you would like more information about the SPE chapter of the HSW Handbook please contact your local HSW contact.

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Smoke Free University

The purpose of these FAQs is to assist staff, students and those who share our campuses to understand and implement the requirements for a Smoke-free University.

(Printable version)

  • Why is the University smoke-free?

    We have a legal responsibility to provide a safe workplace and to protect staff, students and visitors from the serious health risks associated with exposure to second hand smoke (passive).

    The University also encourages healthier lifestyle choices for staff, students and the wider community who share and visit our campuses.

    A smoke-Free University was introduced after feedback was received from members of the University community and consultation with a range of key stakeholders.

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  • When did the University become smoke-free?

    The University has been smoke-free at North Terrace Campus since 1 July 2010 with progressive implementation across all campuses by 1 July 2011.

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  • Where does the smoke-free initiative apply?
    The smoke-free initiative applies to:
    • all campuses, properties, buildings, vehicles or other areas owned, controlled or leased by the University; except where a specific exemption has been granted;
    • all retail vendors operating on University owned, controlled or leased premises.

    Exemptions must be authorised by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic).  Where approved, this information will be displayed on the HSW Website.

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  • Who is affected by the smoke-free initiative?

    Anyone who studies, works or visits University of Adelaide campuses including general public. i.e. all persons outlined in the scope of the University’s HSW Policy Statement and all persons on University premises or grounds.

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  • What about University residential facilities?

    The residential facilities where exemptions have been approved are displayed on the HSW Website under the smoke-free chapter of the HSW Handbook.  [Note – All exemptions have been authorised by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)].

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  • What do I do if I notice an increase in cigarette waste on the University campus?

    A report can be lodged with Service Delivery on 8313 4008 who will investigate and co-ordinate appropriate signage and/or waste disposal units where appropriate.

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  • Is second hand smoke really harmful?

    Yes. The Cancer Council of Australia have issued a position statement on the health risks of passive smoking.

    Even small amounts of exposure to tobacco smoke can be harmful to people’s health. A smoke-free environment is the only way to fully protect non-smokers from the dangers of second-hand smoke
    return to topTo review the position statement, refer to Cancer Council of Australia website.

  • Does Smoke-free University include e-cigarettes? (i.e. electronic cigarettes)

    The current Handbook chapter refers only to tobacco products, however, in line-with the SA Parliament’s Select Committee on e-cigarettes and the proposal for the sale, use and promotion of e-cigarette products to be regulated in line with the Tobacco Products Regulation Act 1997 (the Act) in SA, staff and students should be aware that in the interests of public health, the following information has been provided by the Cancer Council of Australia.

    Studies increasingly show that e-cigarettes emit harmful substances.  The National Health and Medical Research Council advises that e-cigarettes may expose users to chemicals and toxins such as formaldehyde, heavy metals, particulate matter and flavouring chemicals, at levels that have the potential to cause adverse health effects.  For example, propylene glycol and glycerine found in e-cigarettes when overheated can produce dangerous levels of the carcinogens formaldehyde and acetaldehyde.

    For further information on e-cigarettes please refer to the Cancer Council of Australia website.

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  • What happens if I continue to smoke on campus?

    A member of the University community will advise you that all University campuses are smoke-free and request that the tobacco product be extinguished.

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  • What happens if I refuse to stop smoking?

    • Staff breaches of this process will be addressed as misconduct.
    • Student breaches will be directed to the Student Services office for actioning in accordance with the University Statute “Conduct of Students in the University”.
    • Contractors in breach will be reported to the relevant University representative (e.g. University project manager, Service Provider or School/Branch representative)
    • Visitor breaches will be referred to the Security Office:
      North Tce (831) 35990 Waite Campus (831) 37200
      Roseworthy (831) 37999
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  • Will tobacco products be sold on University campuses or facilities?

    Tobacco products are not sold on University campuses or facilities.

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  • What support will be provided to staff that wish to stop smoking?

    The University actively supports staff and students who want to stop smoking.

    Please visit the University’s Healthy University Wellbeing Program or visit Quit SA

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  • Where can I find more information on smoke-free University?

    If you would like more information about Smoke-Free University Chapter of the HSW Handbook please visit the HSW homepage or contact the local HSW Contact.

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Student Placements

The purpose of these FAQs is to provide guidance on the health and safety requirements for student placements as part of their course component, and to assist Student Placement organisers, to meet the requirements of the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA) and University’s Health and Safety Policy.

(Printable version)

  • What are the health and safety legislative obligations of the host organisation, student and School whilst a student is on placement?

    All parties have specific legislative responsibilities under the Work Health and Safety Act and Regulations 2012 (SA).

    As employers, the host organisations are defined as a Person Conducting a Business Undertaking (PCBU) and have a duty to ensure each “worker”, as far as reasonably practicable, is safe from injury and risks to health while at work.

    It is important to note that the definition of a “worker” includes a student on a placement [WHS Act – Section 7(1g)].

    It is also important to note that the duty of the PCBU extends to the activities where they have management or control.  e.g. In a Student Placement arrangement, the host organisation has control of the work activity, directing and supervising what the student does on a day-to-day basis.  The University has no direct involvement in the placement activities on site, however the University has a duty to ensure that when an arrangement is first put in place, that the student and the placement provider are both aware of the WHS legislative safety requirements for each party as follows:

    Host Organisation
    • To provide and maintain a safe working environment
    • To provide safe systems (methods) of work e.g. procedures
    • To provide safe plant, equipment and substances
    • To provide information, instruction, training and supervision to ensure safety in an understandable language and form (including WHS policies and procedures)
    • To manage hazards and provide information on any safety control measures including any personal protective equipment.
    • To consult workers and their representatives about WHS issues.

    For further information, refer to WHS Act – Sections 19, 20 and 21, and WHS Regulations – Chapter 3.

    Student (Worker)
    • To take reasonable care to protect your own health and safety.
    • To not adversely affect the health and safety of others including clients and other workers.
    • To use the equipment provided by the host organisation which is designed to protect your health and safety.
    • To follow reasonable instructions on health and safety.
    • To inform the host organisation’s workplace Supervisor/Placement Co-ordinator and the School Administration Office if involved in any accident, injury or emergency.
    • To report any safety concerns in relation to the organisation you are working for, to your Manager/Supervisor within the Host Organisation and/or health and safety representative (if applicable) and follow the process of the Host Organisation.

    For further information, refer to the WHS Act – Section 28 and WHS Regulation 46.

    Head of School
    (or delegate)
    (Approval can be delegated to School staff (e.g. Student Placement and Internships Officer), however the Head of School has the delegated authority.)
    • To follow the requirements outlined on the University’s Legal and Risk website to ensure an appropriate agreement is in place and health and safety responsibilities are outlined.
    • To approve the student’s participation in a placement.

    Note:  If there is an institutional level agreement in place between the University and the Host Organisation, there is no need to complete the Clinical Placement Agreement form.  Please check with your Placement Co-ordinator.

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  • As a student on placement, what types of information and instruction might I expect to receive from the host organisation?
    Students should expect to receive the following health and safety information and instruction.
    • Location of specific safety information relating to the role/activities to be undertaken (e.g. Risk Assessment control measures, Safe Operating Procedures (SOP) or equivalent, infection control procedures) and how to complete the activity safely.
    • How to use any personal protective equipment such as gloves, safety footwear and goggles.
    • The location of Safety Data Sheets (if applicable) or where they are stored electronically.
    • The hazards in the work area where information is considered necessary on commencement.
    • How to raise a health and safety issue, including how to report an injury/illness.
    • The procedure of hearing the fire alarm and other emergency procedures.
    • The procedures for first aid and the location of the first aid kit.
    • The location of the duress alarm(s) where applicable.
    • Security arrangements for the building/area of work (e.g. swipe card access) where applicable.
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  • What happens if a student has an injury when they are on a placement?

    The student is provided with Personal Accident Insurance as part of the placement under the University’s insurance where they have followed the process outlined in the Legal and Risk Insurance guides.  (Further details are available on the Legal and Risk website including a copy of the policy.) return to top

  • What insurances are available when on a student placement?
    The student and School should refer to the University’s Legal and Risk website which provides: return to top

Temperature Extremes in your Working Environment

The purpose of these FAQs is to provide guidance for workers on ways to minimise the effect of temperature extremes in the workplace.

It should be noted that there is no specific legislation that specifies maximum or minimum temperatures in the workplace, however the University has a primary duty of care under the Work Health and Safety Act (2012) to ensure that we have a safe working environment and safe systems of work.  Follow the Hazard Management process for any work-related activity where temperature extremes (hot or cold) are foreseeable. (Printable version)

  • What do you do if you have concerns about the temperature in your indoor working environment?

    If you have concerns about the temperature in your working environment advise your Manager/Supervisor. They will co-ordinate appropriate action and take into consideration the environmental factors and the business needs of your area.

    General recommendations for working during extreme hot weather conditions while indoors:
    • You should ensure that you remain hydrated by drinking an adequate amount of water. 
    • If, you are required to go outside, consider carrying a water bottle with you. 
    • Consider your attire and wear something that is appropriate for the hot conditions.

    Consider the following strategies in consultation with your Manager/Supervisor:
    • As a priority, review and modify activities where there are high levels of physical activity.
    • As a priority, review and modify activities where air temperatures are extreme.
    • Take short rest breaks (e.g. 10 minutes per hour).
    • Reorganise duties to fit the environmental conditions.
    • Perform activities in a cooler environment if possible (e.g. explore alternative work areas).
    • Consider practicalities of varying the work hours (e.g. arrive early/leave early).
    • Consider if it is possible to relax local dress codes for the duration of the extreme weather conditions.
    • Insulate equipment giving off radiant heat where possible.
    • Ensure adequate water is readily available.
    • Keep blinds down and external doors closed.
    • Where practical, switch off non-essential equipment and lights (equipment on standby consumes electricity and generates heat).
    • If working in isolation, ensure arrangements for welfare checks are in place.
    Air-conditioning:

    Please be aware that during extreme weather conditions that the Infrastructure Branch (Campus Services) monitor the situation across University owned buildings and manage requests relating to air conditioners that are struggling under the strain.

    Unfortunately the University is not in a position to centrally provide temporary air-conditioning to all Schools/Branches.  If you have an air conditioning problem in a building with a centralised system please report the problem to your Manager/Supervisor (or nominated administration representative) so that Services Devliery (maintenance section) do not receive a multitude of individual calls for the same issue.  If in a leased building, please contact the relevant Property Manager.  Managers/Supervisors are advised that to report an air conditioning fault you should call:

    North Terrace:
    Waite:
    Roseworthy:
    (831) 34008
    (831) 37217
    (831) 37657
    Leased Buildings: Contact the Property Manager
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  • What action should I take if working in a Hot room (i.e. temperature controlled room)?

    Consider the recommendations for extreme hot weather (What do you do if you have concerns about the temperature in your indoor working environment?) and implement control measures where relevant.

    If working in isolation, ensure arrangements for welfare checks are in place.

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  • What are the symptoms of heat stress (Hyperthermia)?

    Symptoms of heat stress may include skin irritations (prickly heat), cramps, headache, dizziness, nausea, impaired judgement, hyperventilation, weak and rapid pulse, or difficulty in breathing.

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  • What should I do if I think that a worker is suffering from heat stress?

    Please advise your Manager/Supervisor and contact your first aid officer immediately.

    First aid for heat stress depends on the severity but may involve:
    • transfer to a cooler location;
    • reduction in any physical activity;
    • slow intake of cool, not cold water; 
    • reducing body temperature - wet the skin and increase air movement (e.g. fan), soak clothes in cold water;
    • laying down if necessary; and/or
    • seeking medical assistance.

    For serious medical emergencies (e.g. person is incoherent, has a seizure, becomes unconscious)

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  • What strategies are there if working in a cold working environment?
    Consider the following strategies in consultation with your Manager/Supervisor:
    • Ensure that appropriate clothing is worn.
    • Where possible include and/or increase the individual’s physical activity.
    • If working in isolation, ensure arrangements for welfare checks are in place.
    • If working in cold-stores and walk in freezers, ensure a risk assessment has been conducted in accordance with the Hazard Management process. Control measures may include:
      • Engineering controls
        • Ensuring that there are fail-safe systems to ensure that a person cannot become trapped in the room.
        • Fitting an audible/visual alarm to the outside of all cold room and walk in freezer rooms and an emergency button should a person become trapped inside or require assistance.
        • Displaying thermometers outside of the cold store.
      • Administrative controls
        • Communication - informing another staff member that you are working in isolation if you intend to work in this space for longer than walk-in/walk-out.
        • Ensuring staff take regular short breaks outside of the cold room or freezer and time spent in the cold store or freezer is as short as possible.
      • Personal protective equipment
        • Provision of thermal gloves and coat.
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  • What strategies are there if there is constant cold (e.g. less than 9 degrees Celsius) and wind exposure?
    Consider the following strategies in consultation with your Manager/Supervisor:
    • Nominate a person to monitor temperature.
    • Provide a heated indoor rest area, which is nearby and accessible.
    • Make provision for warm drinks.
    • Ensure adequate clothing is provided.
    • Cancel/reschedule activities if required.
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  • What are the symptoms of excessive cold (Hypothermia)?

    Symptoms of hypothermia may include shivering, clumsiness or lack of co-ordination, slurred speech, drowsiness, apathy, weak pulse, loss of consciousness, shallow breathing.

    What should I do if I think that a worker is suffering excessive cold exposure?

    Please advise your Manager/Supervisor and contact your first aid officer immediately. First aid for mild cases of hypothermia may involve preventing further heat loss, moving them to a protected location, cover their head and insulate their body from any cold surface, re-warming the body core temperature, providing warm fluids, providing hot water bottles, providing warm/dry clothing.

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  • What strategies should I consider if working outdoors and there is a potential for temperature extremes?

    The University requires that Managers/Supervisors take steps to reduce the risk of injury/illness in accordance with the Hazard Management process. In addition to the risk from temperature extremes and information provided, workers who conduct their activities outdoors for all or part of the day are at risk of skin cancer from solar radiation.  The damage is permanent and irreversible and increases with each exposure.

    Consider the following strategies in consultation with your Manager/Supervisor:
    • Identify work-related activities where exposure to solar radiation poses a risk;
      (Consider time of year, times of the day, pattern and length of exposure, presence of reflective surfaces.)
    • Identify sun protection control measures (provide shade, canopies, modify reflective surfaces, consider window tinting (including work vehicles where applicable), reschedule activities to where levels are less intense (e.g. early morning or late afternoon), provide indoor areas or shaded outdoor areas for rest/meal breaks, provide personal protective equipment and clothing (e.g. hats, sunglasses, sunscreen of SPF 30+ and broad-spectrum), provide adequate water; and
    • Provide training to staff where control measures are in place.
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  • Where can I go for further information about temperature extremes in the working environment?

Travel Safety

This information is provides supporting information on the integration of health, safety and wellbeing principles into the Travel and Entertainment Policy and Procedures of the University.  It is intended to provide guidance to management, staff & students within the University.  This information is for international travel only, interstate travel is referred to in the off campus Activity (including field work) HSW Handbook Chapter.

Students should also refer to the Study Overseas website, to become part of an integrated support framework that assists with travel insurance and Faculty approvals. Registering in GLAS will increase your safety overseas by letting the University of Adelaide know where you are and what you’re doing. Faculty and Advisors are available to assist you if required.

(Printable version)

UniSafe: Health, Safety & Wellbeing Incident Reporting using UniSafe (EHS 360)

  • What is UniSafe?
    • UniSafe (EHS 360) is a HSW Incident Reporting system that is the replacement for RMSS.
    • It allows any persons on any campus or University business to easily, effectively and accurately notify safety issues, hazards and near misses. This can be done via any channel, anytime, anywhere.
    • The mobile application used by the majority of users to notify is called EHS Manager 360.
  • How do I scan a QR code to install UniSafe?
    If using a QR code you will need a QR Reader installed on your mobile. Upon using the built-in QR code scanner for the first time, the user will be prompted to allow the UniSafe (EHS 360) app access to the device’s Camera in order to scan the code. The user must tap Allow to use the QR code method of entering the web server URL. If the user chooses Don’t Allow, the URL must be entered manually. This permission can be modified on the device in the app  Settings.
  • How do I install UniSafe?
    • Download EHS Manager 360 app from the relevant app store:
        iPhone                     Android                     Microsoft
                                   
    • Once installed, tap the EHS Manager 360 app to start
      • Note: Upon launching the app for the first time, the user will be prompted to allow the app to use location information from the device.
        Some forms use location services and require access. Tap Allow (or Don’t Allow) to proceed.
        This permission can be modified on the device in the app Settings.
    • If your phone camera does not respond to the QR code you may need to download a QR reader or alternatively search the app store for EHS 360 and click install.
    • Enter the Server Details
    • Enter your University Login Details (a-number) to login
    • When completed, the user can report a safety issue.
  • How do I log into UniSafe?

    UniSafe (EHS 360) Mobile Application

    1. Once installed on your device and logged in (see above) you won’t need to log in again

    Web Application

    1. Go to https://unisafe.adelaide.edu.au/UniSafe
    2. Enter your University Login Details (a-number) to login
    3. Once logged in you will be able to report a safety issue
  • How do I report a safety issue (including a hazard) in UniSafe?

    UniSafe (EHS 360) App

    • Tap the app to start
    • Tap "Report a safety issue"
    • Enter the required information
    • Tap "Upload" to submit the safety issue

    Web Application

    • Go to https://unisafe.adelaide.edu.au/UniSafe
    • Enter your University Login Details (a-number) to login
    • Click on “Report a safety issue
    • Enter the required information
    • Click Save to submit the safety issue
  • How do I use UniSafe on my Samsung device?
    • There is a known issue for certain Samsung mobile devices which does not show “OK” to save long text fields. To show “OK” press the back button on the keyboard/arrow at the bottom of the phone, otherwise click at the top of the screen.
  • Where can I get more help with UniSafe?
    If you require assistance please contact the Information Technology and Digital Services Service Desk.

Further Information

For further information please contact Human Resources.

 
 

Contact HR Service Centre

For all enquiries please contact the Human Resources Service Centre.

 
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