1. Area Supervisors responsibilities (from HS336 UNSW Responsibility, Authority and Accountability Procedure )

  2. 3.2.6  Supervisors

    Supervisors are responsible for implementing the HSMS within their area of responsibility and taking steps to ensure that hazards are identified, eliminated or minimised as far as is reasonably practicable. They have authority to make decisions and act on any matter of HS management within their area of responsibility.

    Depending on the area of responsibility, supervisors can have all or some of the following responsibilities:


    •   Provide adequate supervision commensurate with the level of risk and competency of workers.

    •   Ensure risk assessments are completed and regularly reviewed for tasks/projects/activities that pose a HS risk

    •   Ensure that risks are controlled so far as is reasonably practicable and in accordance with the hierarchy of control

    •   Ensure workers report H&S Hazards and Incidents.

    •   Investigate all hazards or incidents reported in their area of responsibility and take corrective action

    •   Assess the risks for all new equipment (or other items that could pose a H&S risk) before it is introduced to the workplace.

    •   Consult on H&S matters with all workers including prior to proposed changes in the workplace.

    •   Ensure Safe Working Procedures (SWPs) have been written and communicate for all equipment and processes that pose HS risk.

    •   Enforce the safety requirements in the local area (e.g. wearing of PPCE).

    •   Adhere to any legal notifications, licences or other legislative requirements.

    •   Ensure that any approvals, licenses, certifications etc required are in place

    •   Monitor that any licenses, notifications to regulators etc. are being complied with as relevant in the local area.

    •   Ensure that any legislative changes or changes to Australian standards are reflected in local documents

  •              Ensure that where contractors are engaged directly by the local area that H&S responsibilities are documented.

  •              Communicate the emergency procedures to all workers.

  •              Ensure an appropriate number of floor wardens and first aid officers have been selected for the local area.

  •             Ensure appropriate emergency equipment is available in the local area as appropriate to the risk (e.g. first aid, chemical spill kits etc.) and that training is provided in emergency response.

  •             Ensure engineering controls are tested for their effectiveness.

  •             Conduct inspections of the workplace in their area of responsibility at a frequency based on risk but at least quarterly.      

  •             Conduct at least annual audits of the systems used to manage chemical, biological and radiation risks
  • Documents and Records

  •             Ensure the H&S document control procedure is followed and only the latest version of risk assessment and SWPs are being used.

  •             Ensure all H&S records including, workplace inspections, training records, maintenance records for equipment; audit reports etc. are easily accessible.

  •             Maintain all records according to UNSW record keeping or related legislation (e.g. health records, GMO application assessments kept for 8 years).


  •             Identify and document tasks which require the worker to have specific skills/competencies and/or specific medical requirements.

  •             Ensure all staff and students receive training in accordance with the training needs analysis.

  •             Induct all staff and post grad. students (as applicable) and enforce access requirements (i.e. no induction no access to certain areas)

  •             Provide job specific H&S training e.g. training on safe working procedures.

  •             Ensure competency is demonstrated prior to staff or students conducting certain higher risk tasks.

  •            Ensure staff and students receive refresher training as required.

    Hazardous manual tasks

  •            Identify and risk manage all hazardous manual tasks this includes lifting/pushing/pulling and repetitive tasks (e.g. computer use, pipetting etc.)

  •            Ensure risks are controlled through mechanical aids, task modification and ergonomic furniture.

  •            Ensure workers who undertake hazardous manual tasks attend relevant training

    Electrical hazards

                    Ensure all portable plug-in electrical equipment is inspected, tested and tagged at the required intervals.

           Plant and Equipment

  •          Ensure that risk management forms and SWPs are available for each plant and equipment that could pose H&S risk

  •          Pre/post purchasing checklist

  •          Maintain a plant register/Inspection testing and monitoring schedule to assist keep

               track of inspection and maintenance schedules for equipment.

    Hazardous substances

  •         Ensure all chemicals are listed on the laboratory chemical register.

  •         Ensure up-to-date (i.e. within 5 years) SDS is readily available for each chemical.

  •         Ensure all chemicals are labelled as per the UNSW Guideline for Labelling of Hazardous Substances.

  •         Ensure there is a documented risk assessment for all activities involving hazardous substances or dangerous goods.

  •         Ensure dangerous goods are stored in dangerous goods cabinets as necessary and segregation of incompatible dangerous goods occurs.

  •         Ensure spill kits (including appropriate personal protective equipment such as chemically resistant gloves, goggles and respirator with cartridges) and first aid facilities are readily available.

  •         Establish the need for health surveillance and implement where required.

    Biological Hazards

  •         Ensure all biological hazards are listed in the laboratory biohazard register.

  •         Ensure that all biological hazards are used in the appropriate physical containment facility (e.g. PC1 or PC2) based on their Risk Group.

  •         Establish the need for immunisation and provide where appropriate.

  •         Ensure that any process that might create aerosols that could contain human pathogens or genetically modified micro-organisms is carried out in a Biological Safety Cabinet (BSC) that is tested annually.

    Gene Technology

  •       Ensure all research involving genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is sent to the UNSW Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) for approval.

  •       Ensure that the type of OGTR certification for the facility is appropriate and remains appropriate to the GMO(s) being dealt with in the facility.

  •       Ensure all OGTR-certified facilities comply with the OGTR's conditions of certification.

  •       Ensure all research personnel working in OGTR-certified facilities are trained in OGTR behavioural requirements as well as in local procedures.


  •      Inform the University’s Radiation Safety Officer of any premises using ionising radiation (unsealed sources) that may require registration with the Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC).

  •      Ensure all staff and students using ionising radiation have attended the UNSW Radiation Safety Training Course.

  •      Maintain a register of all radioactive materials used in the local area.

  •      Ensure all research using radioactive materials is approved by the UNSW Radiation committee.

  •      Ensure all staff using radioactive materials or irradiating apparatus (e.g. X-ray equipment) have a personal Ionising Radiation User’s License.

  •      Ensure the storage of radioactive waste and disposal of former radioactive waste (now decayed to ‘safe’ levels) is coordinated by the H&S unit.

  •      Ensure all users of Class 3B and/or Class 4 lasers are trained.

  •      Ensure the correct laser safety eyewear is readily available for users as per the risk assessment.

  •     Ensure laboratories where Class 3B and/or Class 4 are used are indicated with external signage.

    Air Monitoring and Health Surveillance

              Ensure workplace air monitoring and health surveillance is conducted where applicable


        Supervisors are accountable to their direct line manager or the School, Centre or Divisional Unit Head through:

  •   Regular reporting to Head of School

  •   Participation in workplace inspections

  •   Submission of risk management documentation

    HS336 Responsibility, Authority and Accountability Procedure Version: 5.3, 22 July 2013

Procedure -