This policy outlines the health, safety and wellbeing requirements relating to voice care for teachers and school staff.


  • Principals or their delegates must identify and assess tasks that could pose a risk to voice health or result in vocal injury and implement measures to prevent or minimise these risks.
  • School staff must prioritise their voice health by exercising reasonable care when engaging in activities that require extensive use of the voice and report any hazards and incidents associated with using their voice.
  • Tasks involving potential risks to voice health or injury must be documented in the school's occupational health and safety (OHS) risk register.
  • Voice care guidelines are available to assist teachers in looking after their voices and preventing the development of voice problems through practical exercises, self-assessment tools and action plans.
  • Central and regional offices are dedicated to supporting principals and school staff in maintaining voice health and preventing vocal injury. This includes access to the OHS Advisory Service and local regional OHS support officers who can offer tailored guidance on managing associated risks.


People who use their voice extensively in their work, such as teachers, may suffer from voice fatigue or injury. The most common symptoms are discomfort in the throat, impaired voice quality such as hoarseness, a change in the pitch of the voice, voice loss, and difficulty in projecting the voice.

Voice fatigue or injury is usually the result of a combination of factors including the way a person uses their voice, the physical environment in which the voice is used and increased levels of stress and tension. Smoking and health conditions such as hay fever, reflux and sinus problems can also contribute to the problem. Because most causes of voice issues are a combination of factors that are not serious or difficult to eliminate, the majority of concerns can easily be remedied or prevented if care is taken.

Roles and responsibilities in managing voice care for teachers

Under the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act 2004 (Vic)External Link , managing the risk of developing voice fatigue or injury is a shared responsibility between the department, the principal or delegate, and relevant school staff.

Department roles and responsibilities

The department must maintain, so far as is reasonably practicable, a safe and healthy working environment for school staff to care for and maintain voice health, preventing the development of voice fatigue or injury while working.

Principal or delegate roles and responsibilities

The principal or delegate, in consultation with school staff who are or are likely to be affected, and health and safety representatives (HSR), where elected, must identify, assess and control the risks that are associated with developing voice fatigue or injury.

School staff roles and responsibilities

School staff must take reasonable care for their own health and safety, and the safety of others who may be affected by their actions or omissions while at work, which includes caring for and managing their voice health to avoid voice fatigue or injury. If experiencing voice issues, school staff must notify the principal or their delegate.

Safety is a shared responsibility, and everyone has a role to play.

Key requirements for schools to manage voice care

Principals or their delegates must, in consultation with school staff who are or are likely to be affected and HSRs, where elected:

  • identify voice hazards and monitor existing risk controls through observation, workplace inspections and incident reports
  • effectively manage hazard and incidents related to voice fatigue or injury.

The Voice care for teachers procedure (in the Procedure tab) outlines detailed requirements that schools must follow to effectively implement this policy and maintain a safe working environment for all school staff.

Department supports for schools

Central and regional offices provide a range of supports and services to assist principals and school staff to be safe and well. These include access to local regional OHS support officers and the OHS Advisory Service who can provide free advice and onsite or remote support in relation to health, safety and wellbeing risk management and complete specific risk assessments where required.

Using eduSafe PlusExternal Link to report and manage hazards identified allows OHS support officers to provide assistance and advice. Guidance for reporting and managing hazards on eduSafe Plus is located in the How to report a workplace hazard guide (PDF)External Link (staff login required) on the knowledge base in eduSafe Plus.


Voice care
Voice care refers to caring for the voice by paying attention to signs such as hoarseness, croakiness or a husky voice, changes in voice pitch and burning or dry sensations. Noticing signs is the first step to initiating strategies to protect and care for voice health. Preventive strategies can also be used to avoid symptoms occurring or developing.

Relevant legislation

Department policy on voice care requirements for teachers in schools

Reviewed 23 November 2023

Policy last updated

24 November 2023


  • Schools


OHS Advisory Service

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