The purpose of this policy is to minimise health, safety and wellbeing risks in schools when purchasing new goods, equipment or chemicals.


  • The Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act (2004) (Vic)External Link requires the department to provide or maintain, systems of work that are, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risk to health by identifying potential OHS risks associated with the purchase, hire, lease or receipt of donated goods.
  • The principal and/or their delegate must ensure that all new equipment, chemicals or other materials (goods) introduced into the workplace are safe for use.
  • The principal and/or their delegate must, in consultation with employees and Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) identify the hazards associated with the use of new goods to ensure risks are effectively managed prior to use.
  • Under the OHS Act 2004, employees while at work must take reasonable care for their own health and safety and the safety of others who may be affected by their actions or omissions.
  • Central and regional offices provide a range of supports and services to assist principals and employees to be safe and well, including access to OHS Advisory Service and local OHS regional officers, who can provide free advice on managing risks related to purchasing, hiring, or leasing new goods, equipment or chemicals.
  • The OHS Purchasing Procedure (in the Procedure tab) must be followed, and sets out the practical step-by-step instructions for implementing this policy.
  • This policy forms part of the department’s OHS Management System. For further information, refer to OHS Management System (OHSMS) Overview.


The principal and/or their delegate, in consultation with Health and Safety Representative (HSR) and employees, must ensure the following:

  • potential hazards associated with new goods that are purchased, hired, leased or donated are identified
  • an OHS Purchasing ChecklistExternal Link is completed for new goods where hazards are identified
  • a risk assessment is completed using the Risk Assessment TemplateExternal Link for goods that require further action to make them safe for use
  • a Safe Work Procedure — using the Safe Work Procedure Template,External Link is completed for goods that require training for safe use
  • training in the Safe Work Procedure is completed by staff and students prior to using new goods and training records are retained
  • new goods that are faulty or have uncontrolled risks are withdrawn from service and isolated to prevent use.

The OHS Purchasing Procedure provides further detail for each of the above requirements.


Reference to goods includes:

  • equipment
  • chemicals
  • other materials.

Under the OHS Act 2004, Plant includes:

  • any machinery equipment, appliance, implement and tool
  • any component of any of those things
  • anything fitted, connected or related to any of those things.

Anything with the potential to cause

  • harm
  • injury
  • illness
  • loss.

Relevant legislation

Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic)External Link

Department policy on minimising health and safety risks in schools when purchasing goods, equipment or chemicals

Reviewed 02 May 2022

Policy last updated

15 June 2020


  • Schools
  • School councils


OHS Advisory Service

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