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Chemical Safety Committee - Membership and Terms of Reference

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Section 1 - Establishment

(1) The Chemical Safety Committee (CSC) of Charles Sturt University (the University) is established to oversee chemical management and handling, including monitoring compliance, at Charles Sturt University.  

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Section 2 - Glossary

(2) For the purpose of this document:

  1. Committee – means the Chemical Safety Committee. 
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Section 3 - Membership

(3) The Chemical Safety Committee members are nominated by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Engagement).

(4) The committee shall comprise members with the collective technical scientific expertise to review and assess all the matters which are referred to it for consideration, assessment or advice. The committee may rely on the advice of an expert, external to the committee, to address specific, short-term skills deficits of the committee.

(5) The committee shall comprise the following membership: 

  1. A Presiding Officer – appointed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Engagement).
  2. Four representatives from Faculty of Science Technical Services, as nominated by the Faculty Technical Manager.
  3. One representative from the Division of Facilities Management.
  4. One representative from the Division of Human Resources, Work Health and Safety.
  5. Two representatives from Faculty of Science academic staff, as nominated by the Executive Dean, Faculty of Science. 

(6) The committee may include additional members, as it deems necessary to ensure its adequate functioning and representation of the nature of dealings with chemicals.

(7) The University has indemnified the members of the committee, in relation to all areas of the Chemical Safety Committee operations.

Terms of Office

(8)  Committee membership tenure shall be three years, or less if the committee member:

  1. leaves the University;
  2. is no longer a member of the organisational unit or role being represented;
  3. withdraws from their position; or
  4. does not meet membership requirements such as the minimum attendance.

(9) All members may be re-appointed by approval by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Engagement) and may serve for consecutive terms.

(10) A member’s term of office may be extended in order to avoid more than 50% of the membership from being turned over.

(11) Appointment to the committee must be approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Engagement) or delegate following consultation with the Presiding Officer.

(12) The Presiding Officer is appointed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Engagement).

(13) The Deputy Presiding Officer is elected by the committee at its first meeting of the new term of office.

(14) The committee will appoint an Executive, including the Presiding Officer and at least two members from those listed at clause (5)b-e.

(15) The Executive of the Chemical Safety Committee will be appointed by the committee at its first meeting of the new term of office and then reviewed as required.

Non attendance

(16) All committee members must attend 70% of scheduled meetings on an annual basis, subject to mitigating circumstances. Where committee members cannot attend meetings apologies must be given to the governance officer. 

(17) Committee members who have continued absences from scheduled meetings will be approved by the Presiding Officer or nominee to discuss continued membership. If the committee member opts to remain on the committee but continues to be absent from the meetings they will be asked to end their term on the committee.

(18) Only the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Engagement) has the authority to cease the membership before the term has expired.

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Section 4 - Functions and responsibilities

(19) Monitor and review the chemical safety and handling policies and procedures of the University, including relevant documents produced by the Faculty of Science and the Occupational Health and Safety Manual produced by the Division of Human Resources, to ensure they incorporate policies, guidelines and procedures for the acquisition and purchase, handling and transport, storage and disposal of chemicals and contaminated and hazardous waste, dangerous goods and hazardous substances at Charles Sturt University.

(20) Monitor and review procedures for dissemination of policies pertaining to chemical safety to all users of chemical products at the University.

(21) Maintain a register of laboratories and other areas with extensive chemical products or those areas holding products listed in the register at clause (22).

(22) Maintain a register of all chemicals and products within the University that pose a significant risk to users or require an end-user declaration and ensure that appropriate monitoring and controls operative.

(23) Conduct audits as required to assist areas in the documentation, handling, storage and disposal of their chemicals and substances.

(24) Receive reports and maintain records of the licensing of appropriate officers for the receipt, storage and use of dangerous goods and hazardous substances, including IATA shipping requirements.

(25) Receive reports of accidents/incidents involving chemicals and review/make recommendations as required.

(26) Report to, and make recommendations to, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Engagement), on measures needed to ensure chemical safety and environmental risk management standards are maintained.

(27) Provide advice to the Emergency Planning Committee on procedures for managing both minor and major chemical spills.

(28) Manage the operation of a chemical management database at the University and control user access. Record all chemical training in relation to this database.

(29) Provide advice and direction on chemical safety issues to design and project teams responsible for building and refurbishing facilities.

(30) Review and advise on chemical safety issues during the planning, construction and commissioning of new or refurbished facilities.

(31) Provide reports to the Finance, Audit and Risk Committee of the University Council on compliance issues through the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Engagement).

(32) Recommend measures for maintenance and improvement of chemical safety and environmental risk management.

Member responsibilities

Presiding Officer

(33) The Presiding Officer of the Chemical Safety Committee is responsible for the leadership and operation of the committee.

(34) The Presiding Officer is required to adhere to the responsibilities, accountabilities and other details set out in the Accountability Statement – Presiding Officer, Chemical Safety Committee.

Deputy Presiding Officer

(35) The Deputy Presiding Officer will act in the role of Presiding Officer in the absence of the Presiding Officer.

Executive of the Chemical Safety Committee

(36) The Executive of the Chemical Safety Committee shall review proposals and applications that require a response between scheduled meetings of the committee.

(37) The Executive may reserve the right to defer the discussion and approval of proposals or applications to the next meeting of the full committee.

Advisory role

(38) The committee shall advise staff and students of the University on compliance matters relating to chemical acquisition, handling, storage, use, disposal and documentation.

(39) The committee shall advise the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Engagement) regarding the level of resourcing required by the committee.

Governance and administrative support

(40) The Research Integrity, Ethics and Compliance Unit, Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Engagement) will provide administrative and secretariat support to the committee, and can be called upon for protocol and procedural advice.

(41) A governance officer will be appointed to support the committee in the administration of its business, including the following responsibilities:

  1. being the first point of contact for applicants wishing to make application or liaise with the committee;
  2. ensuring that proposals are provided to the committee for consideration;
  3. ensuring that the decisions of the committee are conveyed to investigators and teachers in a timely manner;
  4. ensuring that committee records are maintained and made available for review by the University and authorised external reviewers;
  5. ensuring that the University submits the appropriate license applications, renewals and reports as required; and
  6. where requested by the committee, assist with arranging audits and inspections for committee members of the facilities storing and using chemicals, or prior to use in the case of any proposed new facility.

(42) Decisions about allocation of committee tasks to the governance officer/s is the responsibility of the Manager, Research Integrity, Ethics and Compliance Unit, who may seek advice from the Presiding Officer.

(43) Governance officer/s who attend committee meetings have the right of audience and debate, particularly in relation to providing advice on procedural matters and corporate knowledge.

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Section 5 - Meetings

Quorum

(44) A quorum is the majority of committee members present at the meeting.

(45) A quorum may be established through telephone or video conference links.

(46) Only a quorate meeting of the committee shall consider and approve new applications, this can be dealt with via e-mail.

(47) Members who are unable to attend meetings must send through their apologies and are encouraged to submit their comments on applications to the Presiding Officer before the meeting, for consideration during the meeting.

Meetings

(48) The committee will meet at least once each quarter.

(49) Meetings for the first and second quarter will be scheduled to allow enough time for approvals to be returned to applicants prior to the commencement of each academic session.

(50) At least one meeting each year should be scheduled face to face.

(51) A schedule of meeting dates and agenda closing dates is posted on the Chemical Safety Committee website by the beginning of each academic year.

(52) In exceptional circumstances, the schedule of meetings may be altered by the Presiding Officer, in consultation with the governance officer.

(53) Applications are allocated to an agenda based on their submission date and agenda closing dates.

(54) Where an application requires a response before the next quarterly meeting, the application will be considered by the Executive of the Chemical Safety Committee, either via teleconference or asynchronously where members shall, in writing, provide comments on applications and any approvals where possible.

(55) If required, the governance officer of the committee may, on behalf of the Presiding Officer, convene an extraordinary meeting of the committee to review urgent committee business.

(56) In those cases where an extraordinary meeting of the committee cannot be convened, the governance officer may circulate proposals and other items of business to the committee members who shall consider them asynchronously and, in writing, provide comments on application and approvals where possible.

Agenda and minutes

(57) Agenda are circulated to the committee one week before each scheduled meeting.

(58) Minutes of the committee meeting are circulated to members within two weeks following the meeting.

Conflicts of interest

(59) Where a member has a perceived or material conflict of interest as described in the University's Conflict of Interest Procedure, they must declare this to the Presiding Officer and at the committee meeting before discussion of the item of business.

(60) The Presiding Officer will determine if members with a conflict of interest will remain present for the discussion of the item but not take part in a decision, or if the member must withdraw from the meeting for the discussion of matters that relate to that conflict of interest. Once such members have withdrawn, the remaining members must still constitute a quorum.

Confidentiality

(61) Matters discussed and papers considered during a committee meeting are confidential to committee members and those with the right of audience and debate.

(62) Specific papers considered during a meeting and records of specific meeting discussions may be shared by the Presiding Officer, or by the governance officer with the permission of the Presiding Officer, with authorised officers of the University who can demonstrate a need to access the relevant information for the performance of their duties.

Variations

(63) Variations to the terms of reference and/or membership of the committee must be approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Engagement).