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2023 Activity Spotlight

Auditing, Audit Melbourne

We are very excited about both the type of auditing/assessing & consulting work we will be undertaking and opportunities we will be pursuing in 2023.


The key auditing contracts we will be delivering in the coming year include the project OHS management systems of principal contractors delivering projects for both Major Roads Projects Victoria (MRPV) and the Metropolitan Roads Projects Alliance (MRPA), the OHS management systems of schools as part of the Department of Education & Training OHS assurance program and the staff and contractor OHS management systems of local government authorities.

  • Symal Infrastructure & Bild Group – Independent auditing services in OHS, Quality and Environmental project management aspects against the required project specifications as required by their contracts with Major Roads Projects Victoria (MRPV) and the Metropolitan Roads Projects Alliance (MRPA).
  • Ernst & Young – Assessing government schools and education facilities as part of the Victorian Department of Education & Training OHS assurance programme.
  • Crowe Australia – Assessment of local government authority staff and contractor OHS management systems.


The key consulting work we will be delivering in the coming year includes:

  • Federal Safety Commission Accreditation – Assisting companies that undertake high risk work activities both achieve and maintain Federal Safety Commission (FSC) Accreditation
  • Certifiable Integrated Management System Development – Developing new Integrated Management Systems (IMS) and updating exiting IMS systems for companies looking to achieve certification to ISO 9001, ISO 14001 & ISO 45001

We hope to build on our existing auditing/assessment & consulting services and client base in the coming year and look forward to keeping you updated.

Posted By: Cathal Uniacke – Podcast – How Custodian Safety Services make an impact

I recently recorded a podcast with the founder of Brendan Torazzi on how Custodian Safety Services makes an impact. You can listen to the podcast by following the link below:

Ep 58 Meet Cathal Uniacke & how Custodian Safety Services makes an impact

Key podcast points:

  • How I got started in OHS & Why I emigrated to Australia – 0.45
  • Differences between OHS in Ireland & Australia – 1.50
  • Why I established Custodian Safety Services – 5.55
  • The current industries I work in – 6.42
  • My feelings on running a small business – 8.30
  • Advice to OHS professionals thinking about starting a business – 9.12
  • Why the name Custodian Safety Services – 12.58
  • Our favourite clients – 14.15
  • How long before companies see the benefits of our services – 19.13
  • Advice to business owners/managers engaging an OHS Consultant – 19.45
  • What the future holds for Custodian Safety Services – 21.40

I hope you enjoy the podcast and find it informative. If you have any feedback or want to ask any questions let us know at

Posted By: Cathal Uniacke –

Activity Spotlight

We have been very busy in recent months providing both auditing and consulting services for a range of clients.

Our current services and clients rage from auditing for principal contractors delivering infrastructure projects for the Victorian government and commercial shopfitters upgrading their management systems to the standard required by the federal safety commissioner (FSC) for accreditation to developing Integrated Management Systems for a manufacturer supporting the current infrastructure boom and refining management systems for a construction company that has recently implemented a software management system. See for details on what we have been doing:

  • Symal Infrastructure & Bild Group – Independent auditing services in OHS, Quality and Environmental project management aspects against the required project specifications as required by their contracts with Major Roads Projects Victoria (MRPV).
  • Unispace Australia & NZ & National Projects & Maintenance – Integrated Management System (IMS) auditing for commercial shopfitters in preparation of their respective IMS management systems for FSC accreditation audits.
  • Australian Steel Coating – Upgrade of an existing management system that meets ISO 9001/14001/45001 standard requirements, management system training, facility risk review and plant risk assessment in preparation for a 3rd party certification audit.
  • Ivy Constructions – IMS System audit and subsequent system refining and detailing following the implementation of software management systems.

Some exiting upcoming projects & contracts include:

  • Ernst & Young – Auditing government schools and education facilities as part of the Victorian Department of education & training OHS assurance programme.
  • Symal Infrastructure & Bild Group – Continuing to audit MRPV project OHS, Quality and Environmental management aspects.
  • Crowe Australia – Auditing of city councils OHS management systems with regards to both the council’s employees and contractors appointed to conduct works on the council’s behalf.

We hope to build on our existing services and client base and continue to support our current clients with their efforts to develop and implement OHS, Quality and Environmental management systems through both auditing and consulting into the future.

Posted By: Cathal Uniacke –

Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce Business Awards Finalists 2022

  • We were delighted to be a finalist in the Small to Medium Enterprise category of the Irish Australian business awards in 2022.
  • We are passionate about assisting small to mid-sized business with their OHS management while also delivering cost effective and efficient management systems that integrate with other business activities.
  • Our key achievements in recent years that helped us become a finalist include:
    • The development of an online shop that provides low-cost documentation to small businesses
    • Adding accredited auditing to our services
    • Operating at profit throughout the COVID-19 pandemic
    • Reaching the milestone of providing services to over 150 companies across Australia
  • My current vision and purpose is to continue to grow Custodian Safety Services and develop professionally while maintaining a healthy work/life balance. I would also like to continue to give back to the profession through contributions via not-for-profit industry associations.

2022 Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce Business Awards

Custodian Safety Services were delighted to be a finalist in the Small to Medium Enterprise category of the annual Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce buisness awards 2022.

Our key achievements in recent years that helped us become a finalist include:

  • The development of an online shop that provides low-cost documentation to small businesses
  • Adding accredited auditing to our services
  • Operating at profit throughout the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Reaching the milestone of providing services to over 150 companies across Australia

The awards were held at the prestigeous Sofitel Wentworth in Sydney and although we didn’t take home the award a great night was had, we made some wonderful new connections and rekindled some old ones.

Damian Ennis – Concise Infrastructure Consultancy & Cathal Uniacke – Custodian Safety Services at the annual IACC business awards at the Sofitel, Sydney

Dig Deep Event for Mental Health

The Dig Deep Initiative Incorporated is a passionate non-profit association made up of members who work within the civil construction industry who have decided to set their sights on raising $1million for Beyond Blue to assist their ongoing provision of much-needed support services, programs, research, advocacy, and communication activities.

In order for the Dig Deep Event to achieve this mammoth task, they will need your help. This is a challenging time, but without us working together to support Beyond Blue so that they can continue to provide vitally important support services, these challenging times may just become insurmountable for those in real need. Keep digging keep talking.

The event takes place on 29th May 2022 at 324 Perry Road, Keysborough. Event exhibitors, sponsors and donators are welcome and can find out more information on how to get involved by clicking here.

For more information on Beyond Blue and what they strive to achieve see below:

Anxiety, depression and suicide affect millions of people around Australia, impacting how they connect with family and friends, thrive at work, and live productive and meaningful lives.

Beyond Blue helps people in Australia understand that these feelings can change, equipping them with the skills they need to look after their own mental health and wellbeing, and to create confidence in their ability to support those around them.

Beyond Blue’s vision is simple: for everyone in Australia to achieve their best possible mental health.

Every donation helps Beyond Blue:

  • Provide an expert listening ear – 24 hours a day, seven days a week – through our Support Service
  • Develop and trial ground-breaking new initiatives to tackle anxiety, depression, and suicide
  • Give people the information they need, whenever they need it, wherever they live
  • Distribute free information resources across Australia
  • Produce evidence-based awareness campaigns to reach people at risk of developing mental health conditions; and
  • Fund world-leading research

Click here for a link to the Beyond Blue website

Posted By: Cathal Uniacke –

What Nobody Told Me – Risk Assessments

OHS Consultant Melbourne, SWMS Melbourne, IMS Management Systems, Facility Risk Assessments, Auditor Melbourne, OHS management Systems

The question of do I need to do a risk assessment before undertaking a work activity is a common one in workplaces far and wide around all states and territories in Australia. So, with that I have prepared this blog to provide some clarity on the question of do I need to carry out a risk assessment before undertaking a work activity.

While like many OHS or legal matters, I cannot give definite answers in this blog I can provide you with some information that will help you identify whether you a risk assessment does or does not need to be conducted based on the individual circumstances of your work activity.

A risk assessment should be done when:

  • There is only limited knowledge about a hazard or risk, or about how the risk may result in injury or illness.
  • There is uncertainty about whether all of the things that can go wrong have been found.
  • The work activity involves a number of different hazards that are part of the same work process or piece of plant and there is a lack of understanding about how the hazards may impact upon each other to produce new or greater risks.
  • Changes at the workplace occur that may impact on the effectiveness of control measures.

A risk assessment is mandatory under the WHS Regulations for certain activities that are high risk such as, but not limited to, entry into confined spaces, diving work and live electrical work.

Some hazards that have exposure standards, such as noise and airborne contaminants, may require scientific testing or measurement by a competent person to accurately assess the risk and to check that the relevant exposure standard is not being exceeded (for example, by using noise meters to measure noise levels and using gas detectors to analyse oxygen levels in confined spaces).

A risk assessment may not be required when:

  • OHS laws require some hazards or risks to be controlled in a specific way – these requirements must be complied with
  • Other laws require specific risk controls to be implemented, e.g. gas and electrical safety and dangerous goods laws – these requirements must be complied with
  • A compliance code, code of practice or other Worksafe/Safework guidance sets out a way of controlling a hazard or risk and the guidance is applicable to the situation – this guidance can simply be followed.
  • There are well known and accepted controls that are in widespread use in the particular industry that are suited to the circumstances in the workplace and provide acceptable control of the hazards or risks – these controls can simply be implemented.

A risk assessment may be appropriate to reuse in situations where all the hazards, tasks, things, workers or circumstances are the same and no worker or other person will be exposed to greater, additional or different risks. However, as stated above, if there are any changes at the workplace, a new risk assessment should be performed.

There are common events in the life of an organisation when a risk assessment should be done. These events typically result in a lack of understanding about OHS hazards and risks or what needs to be done to control them.

Please see below for a list of common events that should trigger a formal risk assessment:

  • Commencing a new business from scratch
  • Purchasing a new business
  • Appointment of an insolvency administrator to a business administration
  • When there are changes in the work done, changes in the work environment, etc.
  • Purchasing new or used equipment or hiring equipment, or using new substances and processes
  • Planning for the impact of new OHS legislation
  • Responding to incidents
  • Responding to issues
  • To justify an alternative to recognised practices


WorkSafe Victoria – Controlling OHS hazards & risks – A handbook for workplaces

Model Code of Practice – How to manage work health and safety risks

Note: This blog does not constitute legal advice and advice around risk assessments specific to your work activity should be sought before undertaking work activities.

Posted By: Cathal Uniacke –

OHS Blogs & Briefs E-Booklet

OHS Consultant, OHS Consultant Melbourne,

This e-booklet has OHS management tips I’ve handpicked from blogs and articles I have written.

Why read this e-booklet?

I’ve carefully selected these blogs and briefs because:

  • The individual blogs and briefs can be read in less than 5 minutes
  • The actionable blogs & briefs can solve OHS management issues your business may be having in a day or at least in the same week. You don’t have to wait.
  • I’ve proven the actionable blogs and briefs work with my existing clients and unfortunately many of them my clients and past employers have learned the hard way.

Who is this e-booklet for?

This e-booklet is for businesses whose employees are at an increased risk of injury due to the nature of the work tasks they must undertake as part of their employment.

Our clients currently work in commercial and civil construction, manufacturing, waste management, rail, retail, facilities management and heavy engineering.

Solving OHS issues can be a mind boggling labyrinth of out of date and non-compliant information. This e-booklet contains a few briefs that may help you out!

Download here: Blogs & Briefs e-booklet 2020

Feel free to share and I trust you will benefit. Enjoy!

What Nobody Told Me – Industrial Manslaughter

OHS, OHS Melbourne, Industrial Manslaughter, OHS Consultant, OHS Consultant Melbourne

In Victoria, from July 1 this year, the consequences of a workplace fatality will become far more serious for employers who are not providing a safe workplace. This date marks the passing of the Workplace Safety Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 – Workplace Manslaughter into law.

The Victorian Parliament has created Australia’s highest safety fine and made Victoria the third Australian jurisdiction to make industrial manslaughter a criminal offense.

Where are the new laws & Who so the laws apply to?

The new industrial manslaughter laws have been added to the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) (OHS Act) and will apply to employers, designers, manufacturers, self-employed persons as well as officers. The laws apply to all businesses irrespective of size.

The new laws will introduce maximum fines of approx. $16.5m for employers and jail terms of up to 20 years and fines of up to $1.65m for officers whose actions or omissions:

  • cause the death of a worker or member of the public;
  • involve a breach of an OHS duty;
  • were negligent

Where there are principle contractors and contractors involved in a workplace they will both have duties and they will be identified on a case by case basis.

The accused must be/or circumstances must involve:

  • A body corporate and not a person who is an employee or volunteer
  • Must owe a duty pursuant to sections 21-24 & sections 26-31 of the OHS Act 2004
  • Must have breached the duty with a criminal offence where there is a high risk of death or injury
  • The act causing the death must have been carried out consciously
  • There must be a death

How is negligence defined?

The negligence standard is the criminal negligence standard and applies where there is a great falling short of the care that would have been taken by a reasonable person in the circumstances in which the conduct was engaged in, and involves a high risk of death or serious injury or serious illness.

Who is an Officer?

An officer – Defined on a case by case basis. Typically a person who has the means to affect a safe work culture via day to day control over work processes and resources. An officer is typically somebody senior in the business must have a contribution to the significant company decisions.

What should businesses do now?

It is important to note that if you comply with the legislation now you will comply after July 1 the new laws are an increase in consequence change not a duty change and all existing laws pre 1st July 2020 will still apply post 1st July 2020.

However, it is important for businesses that they continued to ensure adequate OHS systems, instruction, training, supervision and also place a heavy focus on worker engagement and a strong safety culture within the organisation.

Now is a good time to review your organisations workplaces and processes. The steps you should look at taking include:

  • Reviewing all the potential hazards and risks in the workplace and ensuring that these risks are assessed and controls implemented.
  • Completing a formal review of all the safety systems and controls currently in place and ensure they are fully effective
  • Reviewing OHS leadership and culture to ensure that any alleged negligent conduct is not authorised or permitted by the company or culture;
  • Education and awareness for directors, senior officers and managers on the new legislation and offences;
  • Reviewing incident action plans and responses
  • Self-employed persons must consider how their business effects the safety people
  • Designers and manufacturers must design and make safe equipment

Posted By: Cathal Uniacke –

Assessing Your COVID-19 Response

OHS Consultant, OHS Consultant Melbourne, OHS, COVID-19, Coronavirus

Under the Australian OHS Acts, employers are required to take all reasonably practicable steps to protect the health and safety at work of their employees.

Employers must consult with their employees when assessing a risk to the health and safety of employees at any workplace under the employer’s control.

Consultation is also required in the selection and application of control measures. In assessing the risks posed by a pandemic, employers should consult widely using existing workplace arrangements ranging from committee or workgroup meetings down to tool box talks or daily pre-starts.

Employees also have duties under the OHS Acts. Employees must co-operate with their employer in implementing risk control measures. They should take practical steps to ensure they don’t do anything that creates or increases a risk to the health and safety of themselves or others.

In a pandemic situation it is reasonable to expect that these obligations placed on the employee and employer will include complying with public health advice such as the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Department of Health & Human Services website – and any emergency measures such as the stage 3 restrictions introduced in Victoria (7th April until 11th May at the time of writing)

As part of planning and preparedness, risk management should be applied to pandemic health and safety risks. This involves identifying and assessing the likely risks at the workplace and those risks associated with the way work is performed. Risk control measures to eliminate or minimise risks need to be determined. Risk management should be done in consultation with employees and call on expert advice when needed.

What new have found during this crisis is that employers are finding the task of adequately identifying and addressing all workplace risks with practicable control measures a daunting task.

When we consider the literal overnight changes to the way we live our lives, the negative mental health effects that come with the mandatory social distancing and stay at home orders the government is currently enforcing it is easy to see why employers may struggle to comprehensively manage the risk control of the Coronavirus outbreak at their workplaces.

Through the provision of support services such as COVID-19 response audits we may be able to provide some relief and assistance to employers and provide assurance that they are doing the right things and complying with the aforementioned legal obligations. We may also be able to identify any areas of concern in an employer’s COVID-19 risk management and provide direct recommendations on how to adequately address these areas of concern.

Posted By: Cathal Uniacke –