The purpose of this policy is to provide schools with a risk management approach for maintaining health and safety in the workplace.


  • 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.
  • The principal and/or their delegate must identify, assess, control, monitor and prioritise OHS risks.
  • The principal and/or their delegate must manage OHS risks in consultation with Health and Safety Representatives (HSR) and employees.
  • 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 the OHS Advisory Service and local regional officers who can provide free advice on risk management.
  • The Risk Management 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 more information, refer to OHS Management System (OHSMS) Overview.


The principal and/or their delegate, in consultation with employees and HSR, must ensure that:

  • hazards that persons may be exposed to in the workplace are identified
  • a risk assessment is conducted to determine the risk (likelihood and consequence of injury or harm to a person) resulting from such hazard
  • consideration is given to the means by which the risk is addressed through actions, known as controls, to eliminate, or if elimination is not reasonably practicable, to reduce, the risk.

The principal and/or their delegate must understand the school’s particular OHS risk profile in order to implement appropriate procedures to control hazards and risks.

Developing a register for OHS risks

The principal and/or their delegate must complete an initial review of the generic OHS Risk RegisterExternal Link in which they identify the applicable hazards for their school and delete any entries that are not applicable. Additional hazards may be added as needed.

The review must be undertaken in consultation with the relevant people, including:

  • the delegate, if available
  • employees who either undertake the task, activity or work in the area or who may be affected by the outcomes of the risk assessment
  • Health and Safety Representative (HSR)
  • Health and Safety Committee (HSC) member/s, if available.

After reviewing the ‘Hazard Types’ the principal and/or their delegate must also review and update, as applicable, the risk rating and controls with reference to the OHS Risk Management Procedure.

Continual review

The principal and/or their delegate must review the workplace OHS Risk Register:

  • on an annual basis with the review to be scheduled in the OHS Activities CalendarExternal Link
  • when hazards are reported
  • when incidents or near misses occur
  • when new hazardous chemicals and/or dangerous goods are introduced into the school, see: Chemical Management Policy, or plant and equipment, refer to: Plant and Equipment Policy
  • when new or additional information regarding a hazard, relevant to the school, is made available or communicated via the regulatory authority, WorkSafe.

If a risk control has not been implemented by the intended completion date, the principal or their delegate must identify the reasons for the delay and, in consultation with the affected employees and their representatives and those tasked with implementing the risk control determine an alternate date and update the OHS Risk Register or equivalent.


The likelihood of harm arising from exposure to any hazards and the consequence of that harm.

Risk Assessment
Process undertaken to identify the hazards, risk controls, and level of risk associated with a task or activity.

Risk Control
Describes the implementation of an action that eliminates, prevents, reduces or mitigates the harm from the potential exposure to a hazard.

Relevant legislation

Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic)External Link

Department policy providing schools with a risk management approach for maintaining health and safety

Reviewed 28 April 2022

Policy last updated

3 June 2021


  • Schools


OHS Advisory Service

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