Engage in Health and Safety

Health and Safety goes better when everyone is involved. At University of Canterbury there is an expectation that everyone will take an active part in looking after their own health and safety and in looking out for each other.

At a very basic level this means being aware of hazards and reporting these to ensure these are eliminated or controlled to prevent harm. But Health and Safety is more than this.

Health and Safety is also about having conversations and maintaining awareness. It is a communal responsibility, and it’s a collaborative way of identifying opportunities and challenges and acting on them for the benefit of the University community. Health and Safety is a good thing to be involved in.

The University of Canterbury is a PCBU (Person in Control of Business or Undertaking) as set out in the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. The University has an agreement with the Combined Unions to promote cooperation with workers and the unions representing those workers and ensuring everyone is provided with reasonable opportunity to be actively involved in the ongoing management of health and safety. This agreement is the foundation document for workers’ participation system at University of Canterbury. 

Roles at UC (staff only) 

H&S Reps | Department Safety and Health & Safety OfficesFirst AidersEvacuation WardensContractor Liaison StaffHgh Risk Response Group

Health and Safety Training

The Health and Safety Team in conjunction with Learning and Development facilitates a number of courses specifically relating to health and safety topics. The Health and Safety Training page has more information about courses and how to enrol.

University Health and Safety Committees

The University is a diverse and exciting environment. The Health and Safety committees align to the structure of the University, with an overall University Health and Safety committee drawn from College and Service Health and Safety committees along with representation from the leadership team, the TEU, and UCSA.  Meetings are held four times a year.  

Current membership of the committees is available here: Health and Safety Committee Members

Minutes from Health and Safety Committee meetings are available for staff only.  

Department Safety Officer (DSO)

The Department Safety Officer are Management Representatives who have been delegated health and safety duties as part of their role, by the manager who has responsibility for the department. To distinguish from a Health and Safety Representative, DSOs are not elected by peers.

The DSO can be based in a department, or service unit, and is required to maintain the Health and Safety procedures within their department. The role requires collaboration with Health and Safety representatives, Union Organisers, the Health and Safety Business Partner and any Health and Safety Consultants engaged with by the University.

The University of Canterbury fosters positive Health and Safety management practices in the place of work and shall ensure the Department Safety Officer has sufficient time and resources to undertake the role effectively.


Read more detail on what a DSO does here: DSO Functions

Becoming a Health and Safety Representative

Health and Safety Reps are integral to health and safety management at University of Canterbury. Along with representing employees in matters of health and safety, reps play a role in reporting and investigating issues, monitoring the University’s performance in health and safety management.

Read more detail on what a Health and Safety Representative does here: Health and Safety Representative Functions

H&S Reps (staff only)

Health and Safety Representatives are elected for a term of three years. When that term expires nominations will be requested for the vacant position. It may be that the outgoing representative will be happy to stay on and in this case a Health and Safety Rep - Nomination form (PDF)  will need to be completed.

If there are more nominations than available positions then elections will be held. The Health and Safety Team manages the process for Health and Safety Representative Elections.  For any questions relating to Health and Safety Reps and Committees contact the Health and Safety Team.

Undertake Health & Safety Training

Health & Safety Initial Representative

Apply online for this course through UCPeople. Simply enter your log-in details, navigate to the Professional Development tile, Request Training Enrolment and search by course and/or date. For a step by step guide on how to enrol refer to to UCPeople User Video: Search and Enrol in Professional Development (Video).

Course Description:

This two-day course is designed to provide you with the fundamentals in representing the concerns and overseeing the wellbeing of fellow staff.

You will learn how to effectively perform the responsibilities of a workplace Health and Safety role, understand Health and Safety legal requirements, and promote the successful management of Health and Safety issues in good faith.

This course is recommended for Health and Safety Representatives, Departmental Safety Officers, Management Representatives, Persons in control of a place of work, HR Advisors, and any other staff with a responsibility for Health and Safety.

This course is compulsory under Sections 70(a) and 85(a) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 2015 for training Health and Safety Representatives.

There are additional courses available that build on the initial representative course. See the offerings through UCPeople

The Health, Safety & Wellbeing Awards acknowledge people and teams who demonstrate commitment and achievement in improving health, safety & wellbeing at the University of Canterbury. They give campus-wide recognition to good ideas, superior systems, great initiatives, and hardworking people who have made a difference to UC.

The Awards are divided into two categories:

1. Health and Safety Initiative Award - Seek funding to help advance a Health, Safety & Wellbeing initiative. Applicants will need to set out clear objectives, provide a budget and show they have support from the relevant department.. 

2. Health and Safety Recognition - Recognition for a piece of work, actions completed, or a non-funded initiative realised. 

Nominations and applications may be received from all staff members (including part-time and fixed term staff).

Further details about the purpose, eligibility and criteria for determining awards is set out in the Protocol: Health, Safety & Wellbeing Awards

Applicants will need to complete the Application for Health Safety, and Wellbeing Recognition or Application for Health, Safety and Wellbeing Initiative Award and ensure this is forwarded to the Health and Safety Team. Applications are called for each year.

2021 Timeline:

Applications Open – Monday 30 August 2021

Applications Close – Friday 1 October 2021

Awards ceremony acknowledging Winners – Wednesday 1 December 2021




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