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WHS OP007 Terms of Reference - Hazardous Substances Reference Group (HSRG)

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Section 1 - Overview

Establishment of Group

(1) This Reference Group is established as a subcommittee of the WHS Management Group, to provide expert advice and support around matters pertaining to hazardous substances.


(2) The University’s Hazardous Substances Reference Group (HSRG) contributes to the foundation of Work Health and Safety, environmental and hazardous substance consultation at the University. 

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Section 2 - Group Membership


(3) The members of the Group are as follows:

  1. A minimum of one (1) representative from each School, Directorate or Unit, which handles, uses, transports or stores hazardous substances and/or dangerous goods, as part of their work. Ideally, the representative will be familiar with the use of hazardous substances and dangerous goods in their respective work area, although this is not essential. The representative will be nominated by the respective Head of School, Directorate or Unit. The representative may, with the approval of their Head, nominate an alternative if they cannot attend meetings.

Co-opted Members

(4) The Group may co-opt members from time to time for a specified period and purpose.


(5) The Chair will be elected by the HSRG members and approved by the WHS Management Group. If the Chair is unavailable then a member of the Group will act as temporary Chair. If the elected Chair is unavailable to act as Chair for a period of no longer than six (6) months, then the Group will elect a replacement Chair which is to be approved by the WHS Management Group. 

Gender Representative Objectives

(6) Gender representation shall accord with the Gender Representation on Decision Making and Advisory Committees Policy.

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Section 3 - Functions of the Group

(7) The functions of the Group are to:

  1. provide a forum for the discussion and communication of issues which relate to the handling, storage, transportation and use of hazardous substances, dangerous goods and other chemicals in general, at the University;
  2. develop and provide resources for staff and students which assist with the implementation of processes and management of hazardous substances;
  3. provide a forum for the development of University policies, protocols, procedures and processes which relate to hazardous substances, dangerous goods, and chemicals in general;
  4. provide a forum for the development of practices, systems, and strategies to be implemented in all University workplaces to ensure compliance with WHS and environmental legislation, codes of practice, and industry standards.
  5. assist with University reporting requirements and setting achievable objectives for the management of hazardous substances; and
  6. ensure implementation of appropriate monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.
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Section 4 - Conduct of Group Business


(8) The Chair of the Group will report to the WHS Committee and the WHS Management Group on the business conducted, and the Group will provide any advice/reports to the WHS Committee/Management Group as required.


(9) The Group will meet on a bi-monthly basis and is expected to use technology and ‘flying minutes’ to attend to urgent matters. Group members are expected to be available on short notice, however, should be given as much notice as is practicable in the circumstances of matters arising.


(10) A quorum shall consist of a simple majority of the members of the Committee at the time the meeting is held.

Business Papers

(11) Unless the Chair directs otherwise, Group business papers, agenda and explanatory documents accompanying them, will be distributed to Group members and any official attendees as required and with as much notice as is practicable in the circumstances. Any additional documents may be tabled at short notice with prior approval by the Chair.


(12) The Group may pass a resolution by ‘flying minute’ provided that the resolution has been approved by a simple majority of the Group members at the time the resolution is made.


(13) Meeting notes will be prepared by the meeting secretary, kept to a minimum, and circulated promptly following the meeting. Notes will include all action items, and will not require formal endorsement by the Committee.

Disclosure of Information

(14) Disclosure of business papers, minutes and other information received by the Group should be made via the Chair or Secretary to the Group.

Use of Technology

(15) For its business papers, meetings and otherwise to conduct its business, the Group and its members may use technology including telephone, video-conferencing, telepresence, email and internet as arranged by the Chair or Secretary.


(16) Once every twelve-month period, the Group shall devote at least one part of one meeting to the review of its policies, practices and procedures over the preceding twelve (12) months.

(17) Any changes or amendments to the Terms of Reference will be determined by the Group and approved by the WHS Management Group.

Secretary to the Group

(18) The Chair will appoint a Secretary who will provide administrative support to the Group.

(19) The Secretary is responsible for ensuring all Group agendas, minutes and reports are recorded in the University’s corporate record keeping system (TRIM) in accordance with the University’s Records Management Rule.