• Georgina Cook

The Activities Calendar - your planning happy place!

Updated: Jan 21, 2021

There are a few great tools in the OHS Management System arsenal that make planning the year's OHS compliance easier. One of these is the Activities Calendar which is a great tracking tool to help with organising your planned activities across the year. Every single Activities Calendar must be customised and communicated so that it becomes a constant reference point and record of how you’re managing your OHS.

The Department of Education provides a template of an Activities Calendar which is a helpful place to start. It actually breaks the documentation into ten key steps which is a great way to approach the documentation.

Make it yours

Once you’ve downloaded the template, the key is to make it your own. Not only will this make it easier to coordinate your own specific activity, it is a key compliance activity to show that you’ve amended the document to suit your own needs.

It is also really useful to delegate who will be responsible for certain tasks. You can do this by shading each square a particular colour to correspond with the responsible person. One of the things that the Department recommends is overlaying a textured pattern on top of a coloured square to show contractor activity. For instance, it may be the responsibility of the Business Manager to hire St John’s ambulance to come in and replenish the First Aid rooms and update training. So the Business Manager’s colour might be yellow and by adding an overlay to that box you can show that they’ll need to bring in a contractor.

Keeping a record

A mistake that many schools make when creating the Activities Calendar is not annotating it across the course of the year. The auditor wants to be able to see that you’re referring to the document at least once a month and that activities are being completed or moved depending on progress. TeachSafe does this by adding comments to each of the squares, this way quick and easy notes can be taken and it makes it easier to track your progress.

Communicate timings

Sharing the Activities Calendar with staff is a key element of the OHS. The first step in communicating, should be consultation with key stakeholders before outlining activities for the year. We’d recommend speaking to leading teachers, area specialists, maintenance and the lab technician to ensure everyone’s requirements and concerns are reflected in the document.

The next step is to present the completed calendar to everyone in a staff meeting asking staff to accept the proposed activity, acceptance of the OHS plan should be minuted and any changes or suggestions reflected in the document. For larger workplaces, multiple printed copies of the Activities Calendar are needed. It must be displayed on the OHS Noticeboard and a copy in the staff room is always a good idea. Make sure you replace these regularly to show completed activity.

At TeachSafe we also display it on our bespoke OHS portal, but a server or Intranet system will also be fine. This is incredible useful when it comes to version control which is incredibly important as the document should change and evolve regularly. Finally, we find it helpful to enter all key dates into a Google Calendar to ensure that the people who have been delegated responsibility receive notifications when everything is due. We also minute that the Activities Calendar was reviewed in each Health and Safety Committee meeting to ensure that the document is regularly updated and referred to by the Health and Safety Committee.

The Activities Calendar must be updated every single year. Be careful to not carry over the same unannotated document as this is a key record for auditors and your own processes!

Completing the Activities Calendar is brilliant but it is only the first step in completing compliance. Now is the time to review the Risk Register, look at what activities or facilities will need their own Risk Assessments or Safe Work Procedures and to begin implementing these documents. It’s a great idea to refer back to the Activities Calendar once you’ve completed the Risk Register to ensure all safety controls and activities are also included in the document. This will make keeping on top of the necessary checks and procedures easier as you’ll have one central document to keep track of everything. For those of us that love a spreadsheet, nothing can be more satisfying than that.

If you have any additional questions we encourage you to call the Department of Education's OHS Advisory Service on 1300 074 715. Or if you’d like any further information on the services that TeachSafe offers please get in touch.

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