School operations

OHS Risk Planning and Management

Planning for effective OHS risk management

To effectively manage risk as part of an ongoing OHS management approach, principals or their delegates must undertake the actions outlined in this chapter.


The principal or their delegate must consult with school staff who are or are likely to be affected, and health and safety representatives (HSR), where elected, by implementing the OHS Consultation and Communication policy and procedure to ensure effective consultation systems are in place, including regular communication forums.

Contractor and volunteer management

The principal or their delegate must implement the Contractor OHS Management policy and procedure for managing contractors, including sighting and signing-off safe work method statements (SWMS) (DOCX)External Link for high-risk work if required. The principals or their delegate must follow the Volunteer OHS Management policy and procedure for managing volunteers, including sighting and signing-off of safe work procedures volunteers undertake.

Mandatory learning

The principal or their delegate must ensure that all staff have completed the mandatory eLearning module on LearnEd (Health, Safety and Wellbeing for EmployeesExternal Link ). This must be completed as part of the employee’s induction and refreshed every 2 years and as required.

Management and reporting of hazards and incidents

The principal or their delegate must manage health, safety and wellbeing hazards and incidents, including through eduSafe Plus reports, by implementing the Managing and Reporting School Incidents (Including Emergencies) policy.


The principal or their delegate must effectively plan OHS activities to ensure hazards and risks associated with school activities are identified, assessed, and managed. These activities include workplace safety inspections, engaging contractors, reviewing and updating safety plans and registers (such as the school’s emergency management plan and OHS risk register).

The department has developed an OHS activities calendar template (XLSX)External Link that is flexible and can be tailored to suit different school environments. This calendar provides a starting list of OHS activities that may be applicable to schools, and items which must be carried out by all schools (see the calendar template for further information). A school may utilise a different template if it is consistent with and meets the requirements detailed below.

The principal or their delegate, in consultation with school staff, area/subject coordinators, elected HSRs and the health and safety committee (or equivalent), must:

  • review and tailor the OHS activities calendar template based on their school profile (facilities, hazards etc), and allocate responsibilities, frequencies, timeframes and resources to each item
  • ensure school staff are aware of the procedures for completing the activities they are assigned
  • undertake a full review of the calendar at least annually to plan the activities
  • consider and amend the calendar where required:
    • when new or additional activities or priorities are required by the department, the community or WorkSafe
    • when there are changes to staffing/resourcing levels
    • following a review of the OHS risk register (XLSX)External Link , where a high-risk hazard may require additional monitoring
    • when hazards, near misses and incidents are reported and an activity/task may need to be added or frequency changed
    • where the outcome of an incident investigation recommends additional monitoring to reduce the likelihood and/or severity of injury or illness.

The principal or their delegate is encouraged to review the calendar regularly (that is, monthly or termly) to monitor the activities, ensuring they are completed by the intended date and statuses are updated and recorded (for example, by including a staff initial and date on the printed calendar). Where activities are not completed by the intended date, the principal or their delegate should work with the allocated staff member to identify the reasons for the delay, determine an alternate date, and update the calendar accordingly.

The local regional OHS support officers and the OHS Advisory Service can provide support to schools to implement these actions. For schools that have transitioned to eduSafe Plus, you can maintain your OHS activities calendar on this digital platform – contact your regional OHS support officer.

Includes the actions principals or their delegates must undertake to effectively manage risk as part of an ongoing OHS management approach

Reviewed 22 April 2024

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