Health, safety and wellbeing committees procedure

Version number 5.0 | Version effective 07 June 2018
Health, safety and wellbeing committees procedure




This procedure provides the process for establishing and managing the conduct of health, safety and wellbeing (HSW) committees within the Department of Education (the department).


HSW committees provide an official mechanism to identify, address and resolve local HSW matters and facilitate active consultation and participation between employees and management.

HSW committees are a key component of the HSW governance structure within the department’s HSW Management System.

The HSW governance structure and reporting hierarchy enables escalation of issues for action or resolution and dissemination of decisions and information about hazards and risks.


All employees

  • Support their local HSW committee through active contribution and implementation of actions arising from the committee.

HSW committee members

  • Adhere to the relevant Terms of Reference (ToR) for their HSW committee.
  • Report to any designated parent HSW committee as shown in the reporting hierarchy and action any requests from the parent committee.

Parent HSW committee members

  • Provide oversight to all child HSW committees that fall under the responsibility of the parent committee and monitor:
    • registration of child HSW committees
    • currency and quality of child HSW committee ToR documents
    • frequency of child HSW committee meetings
    • quality of meetings through the review of child HSW committee minutes.
  • Action items escalated from child HSW committees according to the reporting hierarchy.

Managers, principals and supervisors

  • Ensure employees have access to a HSW committee directly or through representation.
  • Ensure the creation, maintenance and effectiveness of a HSW committee for your school or workplace. 
    • Where workplaces are too small to formulate a stand-alone HSW committee, the functions of the committee as described in the Workplace HSW Committee Terms of Reference are to be a standing agenda item within an appropriate forum (e.g. a staff meeting). See part 8 of this procedure.

Regional Directors

  • Ensure the creation and ongoing operation of a regional HSW committee that provides an effective forum for the review and resolution of HSW committee issues within that region.
  • Chair or nominate an appropriate delegate to chair the regional HSW committee.
  • Ensure the regional HSW committee compliance with the Terms of Reference for regional HSW committees and requirements of the Department of Education (DoE) HSW committee.
  • Where issues cannot be addressed at the regional HSW committee or may have a departmental impact, escalate these to the DoE HSW committee using the Regional HSW committee minutes template.

Deputy Director-Generals

  • Ensure each departmental division has representation on the DoE HSW committee.
  • Ensure all corporate office locations have representation through the central office and CBD HSW committee which reports to the DoE HSW committee.

Additional responsibilities for the Deputy Director-General (Corporate Services)

  • Ensure the creation and ongoing operation of the DoE HSW committee as the peak HSW committee of the department so it provides an effective forum for the review and resolution of regional HSW committee issues escalated through the reporting hierarchy.
  • Chair or nominate an appropriate delegate to chair the DoE HSW committee.
  • Ensure the DoE HSW committee functions in accordance with the department’s HSW governance structure the DoE HSW committee Terms of Reference.


All department workplaces are required to have a HSW committee or forum alternative when a committee cannot be formed.

1. Manager or principal creates a HSW committee

The manager of a workplace or principal of a school will ensure there is a HSW committee for their employees in accordance with HSW governance structure. A corporate office HSW committee may represent one or more corporate office locations.

For each committee the manager or principal will:

Confirm the area of representation and membership of the HSW committee

  • Appoint a committee chair. This is generally the most senior person in the school or workplace.
  • All employee groups and key functional or operational areas will be represented. Employees in specialist roles (Health and Safety Representative(s), Health and Safety Advisor, Rehabilitation and Return-to-Work Coordinator) are to be included.

Establish the meeting schedule

  • All HSW committees are required to meet once each term at a minimum (four times per year).
  • The chairperson will create a schedule of meetings for the year to align with the committee’s parent committee. It is recommended that workplace HSW committees meet in the first half of each term to allow issues to be raised to the regional HSW committee which meets toward the middle of each term.
  • The HSW committee schedule is to be included in operational plans and calendars (e.g. school calendar).
  • The chairperson will advise committee members and all workplace employees of the meeting schedule.

Communicate HSW committee details

  • The committee chairperson will ensure the names of committee members are published so all employees are aware of their local HSW contacts.
  • Circulate the agenda of scheduled meetings and any previous meeting minutes so they are available to all employees at the school/workplace and enable issues to be raised by employees.

Register HSW committee in MyHR Workplace Health and Safety (WHS)

  • Register the establishment of the HSW committee within MyHR WHS (DoE employees only).  
  • When there are changes to the committee membership, update the existing committee details, do not create a new or duplicate committee.

2. The committee establishes required documentation (all levels)

The committee chairperson is to ensure the following actions are undertaken:

Create or update a terms of reference

  • Develop or review and update a Terms of Reference (ToR) with the committee members using the relevant ToR template for guidance.
  • The ToR is to be endorsed by committee members and approved by the committee chairperson.
  • Make the ToR accessible to all employees represented by that committee.
  • Record the ToR as a file attachment to the registered committee record within MyHR WHS (DoE employees only).
  • Review the ToR annually, communicate updates to the ToR and record the reviewed ToR as a file attachment to the registered committee record within MyHR WHS (DoE employees only).

Develop committee agenda

  • For each meeting, the committee chairperson is to develop an agenda using the relevant agenda template. Circulate the agenda to committee members in advance of the scheduled meeting.

3. Conduct HSW committee meeting (all levels)

The committee chairperson will ensure the following actions are undertaken:

Conduct the meeting

  • Conduct meetings in accordance with the ToR and agenda.
  • Address each agenda item and record actions and decisions.
  • Allocate responsibilities and determine timeframes for action items.
  • Determine any items for escalation to the parent HSW committee using the escalation report within the HSW committee minutes template.

Create a meeting record

  • Record that the committee has met within MyHR WHS (DoE employees only).

4. Communicate the HSW committee minutes (all levels)

The committee chairperson will ensure the following actions are undertaken:

Finalise the minutes

Record the HSW committee minutes

  • Minutes endorsed by the chairperson will be uploaded to MyHR WHS (DoE employees only) against the meeting record as a file attachment.

5. Escalate items to a parent HSW committee (child HSW committees only)

When HSW issues cannot be managed locally or may potentially have a broader impact on other workplaces within the department, the committee chairperson will ensure following actions are undertaken:

  • Issues are escalated to the parent HSW committee with a request for assistance.
    • Items are formally escalated through completion of item 10 of theHSW minutes template and forwarded to the parent HSW committee. 

6. Disseminate information from the parent HSW committee (parent HSW committees)

The committee chairperson will ensure:

  • HSW committees action any communications from their parent HSW committee.
  • Progress relating to actions from the parent committee are tracked and reviewed in the agenda, documented in the minutes and (if appropriate) included in the local Safety Action Plan (SAP).
  • Reports on the progress or resolution of actions are provided to the parent committee as requested.

7. Monitor actions and maintain records (all levels)

The committee chairperson will ensure

Monitor and progress committee actions

  • Monitor and review actions at subsequent HSW committee meetings to ensure implementation and effectiveness. Completed actions may be reviewed between meetings, particularly for high priority actions.


  • Records of proceedings for HSW committees are retained for 10 years after the last action. Recordkeeping within the MyHR WHS system will meet this requirement. 
  • Records may include, but are not limited to:
    • agendas
    • minutes; recommendations and resolutions
    • terms of reference (ToR)
    • background papers
    • communications to/from a parent committee or to/from a child committee.

8. Meeting HSW committee requirements for smaller workplaces (workplace HSW committees only)

Smaller workplaces (e.g. with less than 30 employees) may establish a HSW committee as part of another meeting or forum (e.g. a staff meeting). In these situations, the manager or principal will ensure the following requirements are undertaken:

  • Registration as a committee within MyHR WHS (DoE employees only).
  • Communicate meeting dates, agenda and minutes with all employees represented.
  • Meet a minimum of four times per year. This is usually once per school term.
  • Maintain documentation utilising the Workplace HSW committee templates as a guide including:
    • names of attendees
    • HSW matter(s) discussed
    • decisions made
    • actions, action officers, due dates
    • items escalated to the regional HSW committee.
  • Action any communications from the regional HSW committee.
  • Have minutes endorsed by the chairperson.
  • Log forum records in MyHR WHS (DoE employees only).
  • Upload endorsed meeting minutes into MyHR WHS (DoE employees only).




Child HSW committee / Parent HSW committee

Reporting responsibilities for HSW committees are outlined within the HSW governance structure.

All HSW committees that report to an overarching HSW committee are referred to as a child committee.

The overarching HSW committee to which they report is called a ‘parent’ committee.

For example, school HSW committees report to their regional HSW committee. Regional HSW committees report to the department’s HSW committee.

Corporate office location

A building occupied by DoE employees and related to DoE divisions, for example but not limited to:

  • Education House (30 Mary Street)
  • AM60 Building
  • Brisbane Technology Park – Eight Mile Plains
  • Coorparoo Education Precinct

Department (DoE) HSW committee

The department’s HSW committee is the peak parent committee for health, safety and wellbeing in the department. The purpose of the committee is to oversee the compliance and effectiveness of the department’s Health, Safety and Wellbeing Management System and to support senior officers to exercise their duties. The department’s HSW committee has oversight and decision making authority on health, safety and wellbeing matters across the department and its activities and operates according to its Terms of Reference.

MyHR Workplace Health and Safety

An online web based system used to report incidents and record incident information and management actions. MyHR WHS also has a HSW committee module for registering HSW committees, making record of meetings and documenting minutes and other relevant attachments.


A workplace is a place where work is carried out for a business or undertaking and includes any place where a worker goes, or is likely to be, while at work.

For the purposes of this procedure, a workplace is:

  • a school
  • an outdoor education centre
  • a regional office
  • a corporate /office location such as those in Brisbane CBD e.g.-
    • Education House (30 Mary Street)
    • AM60 Building
    • Brisbane Technology Park – Eight Mile Plains
    • Coorparoo Education Precinct.

HSW Management System

HSW Management System is a structured approach to managing health, safety and wellbeing risks. It includes documented responsibilities, expectations and key principles to achieve compliance with legislated requirement and department priorities. The department’s HSWMS is based on 12 elements used to establish policy and objectives and to achieve those objectives. It includes organisational structure, planning activities, responsibilities, practices, procedures, processes and resources.

Safety Action Plan (SAP)

A plan that details corrective and preventative actions to address hazards, risks and other HSW issues identified through inspections, hazard reporting, audits, general observation and other related processes. As a minimum, the SAP should be developed using:

  • a list of any items of non-compliance
  • assigned corrective action(s) for each item and a priority level (low, medium, high) for completion
  • a person/persons assigned to completing each corrective action and a nominated date for completion.



  • Nil

Other resources

Workplace health safety and wellbeing committee resources (including school-based workplaces)

Regional health safety and wellbeing committee resources

Departmental HSW committee resources

Superseded versions

Previous seven years shown. Minor version updates not included.

3.0 HLS-PR-016: Health, Safety and Wellbeing Communication and Consultation

4.0 Health, Safety and Wellbeing Communication and Consultation

Review date

07 June 2020
Attribution-NonCommercial CC BY-NC