Safety and wellbeing

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UNSW provides its staff and students with access to a range of resources that promote a safe, active, healthy, happy and productive campus experience.


As one of the University's guiding principles, safety is central to everything we do. As well as working hard to ensure a safe campus experience, the University proactively manages risks with a series of risk management and continuous improvement strategies.

Health and safety management system
UNSW's Health and Safety management system (HSMS) is a set of plans, actions and procedures that are designed to systematically manage health and safety in the workplace.

More information on health and safety governance and training can be found at UNSW Health and Safety.

Our safety performance

Hazards and incidents 2016

Maintaining a safe campus

UNSW's Campus Security provides the following essential services and facilities to keep staff, students and visitors safe on campus:

  • StaySafe@.UNSW app
  • night shuttle bus
  • safety escorts
  • help points
  • Cops on Campus initiative
  • Gate 2 Security Office


UNSW's Wellbeing website

UNSW Wellbeing is a gateway to the diverse suite of health and wellbeing initiatives across the University.

Global Corporate Challenge

The Global Corporate Challenge is an annual team-based walking challenge to help improve the health and wellbeing of workers through regular physical activity. The GCC is a 100-day virtual journey that kicked off in May and involves 370,000 people from around the world competing in teams of seven. Sections of the Challenge are devoted to sleep, nutrition and life balance and the journey as a whole improves both physical and psychological health.

In 2016, UNSW had 76 teams and 532 total participants in the Global Corporate Challenge. UNSW won the Australian University League and the title of most active university in Australia.

R U OK? Day

UNSW partnered with Arc, SafeWork NSW and Beyond Blue to deliver a fantastic
R U OK? Day on Thursday 8 September. Several on-campus food outlets also came on board with generous donations of free coffees to participating staff members. Caffe Brioso, Bluestone, Bar Navitas and Coffee on Campus all offered 2-for-1 coffee deals.

Upper campus featured an information stall on the Library Walk with free Tai Chi on the Library Lawn at lunchtime. The CLB courtyard was transformed into 'Conversation Courtyard' with chairs and decorations encouraging passers-by to stop and engage with staff members. A variety of information brochures and useful resources including UNSW-branded 'Need Help?' cards were made available to all.

The CLB Courtyard also featured the Gratitude Tree – one of the CLB Courtyard trees decorated with yellow and gold cloth and hung with ribbons. Staff and students were invited to write something they were grateful for on the back of a special R U OK? Day postcard and clip it to one of the gold ribbons dangling from the Gratitude Tree. This was a popular activity with both staff and students and by the end of the day the tree looked spectacular.

Several speakers gave talks throughout the day including a special volunteer from Beyond Blue and an engineer who shared his own story of combating mental illness as a young employee of Sydney Water.

Four faculties ran yoga sessions for their staff and some faculties organised additional faculty-based events including a full-day line-up of impressive activities in Engineering, a speaker for Law, and a special faculty-funded 2-for-1 coffee deal for Arts and Social Sciences.

Safety and Wellbeing Month

During October, communities around NSW held events focusing on Mental Health Month. At UNSW, October was Safety and Wellbeing Month and we had a full month of activities, with three weekly events, four special events and three challenges. Each week, staff were encouraged to get out of their offices and get moving with the Campus Lunch Walk which circumnavigated the Kensington campus and Tai Chi held outdoors at various locations. Mindfulness meditation sessions were held weekly in collaboration with CAPS and proved to be the most popular event of the month.

Special events included the annual Wellbeing Celebration, a healthy recipe sharing day, a performance by Mind Blank Theatre to raise awareness of mental health issues in the workplace, and a poetry performance from UNSW recent graduate and spoken word poet Lewis-Alan Trathen. Our three challenges focused on sleep, mental health and kindness. The Sleep Smart Challenge encouraged participants to introduce good sleep hygiene practices (such as all devices off half an hour before bed and not taking them into the bedroom at all) and to aim to get to bed by 11pm each night. The Trivia Challenge tested knowledge and raised awareness of mental health issues. The Random Acts of Kindness Challenge is explained in more detail below.

Random Acts of Kindness

Random Acts of kindness have been shown to increase a feeling of connectedness and appreciation of humanity. It can also lower anxiety levels and improve positive mood, in both the giver and receiver of the act of kindness. In 2016, UNSW started a Random Act of Kindness Challenge as part of October's Safety and Wellbeing Month by encouraging acts of kindness and reporting them online in to inspire others. Staff members walked through campus handing out Kindness Cards and Keep Cups to encourage those who received these acts of kindness to consider performing their own acts of kindness. Eight random acts of kindness were reported by staff and listed on the Safety website. They included simple acts such as letting others go in front at the supermarket checkout. Some acts involved considerably more time and effort, such as one staff member who spotted a car with a flat tyre and waited two hours with the elderly driver, called the NRMA for her and found her a tyre store with the correct replacement tyres.

Wellbeing Celebration

The annual Health and Safety Wellbeing Celebration was held on Wednesday 12 October as part of Safety and Wellbeing Month. This event is a thank you to all those staff who work to keep us safe at UNSW by taking on additional roles as floor wardens, emergency team members and first aid officers throughout the University. The event also marks the end of the Global Corporate Challenge and is a time to celebrate the increasing success of this program with a range of prizes and awards.

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is a simple, secular, scientifically validated exercise providing a valuable stress relief technique and proven benefits for mental health. During Safety and Wellbeing Month, weekly Mindfulness Meditation sessions were made available to staff in collaboration with Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS). Of all the many activities planned during Safety and Wellbeing month in October, this was by far the most popular with all sessions completely booked out within a week.

Green space

In response to the growing amount of literature surrounding the importance of green space in physical health, mental health and overall wellbeing, UNSW has increased investment in the development of its green spaces.

With approximately 30% of the Kensington campus devoted to green space and 12 shady, intimate courtyards, the University provides a variety of opportunities to escape the built environment and enjoy a biophilic experience.