Mr Xin Li

22 November 2019

Mr Xin Li has brought an energy, enthusiasm and passion for safety that has had a profoundly positive effect on staff, students and regulators alike that brings them on the safety journey with him.

Xin joined ANU in late 2018 as a Senior Work Health and Safety (WHS) Consultant, and since then his engagement with professional and academic staff and students has far surpassed expectations. He has given up his own time on a weekly basis to conduct safety system talks at lunchtime (he called them' lunch and learn' sessions) with willing participants from WHS and Facility Officers, to School Managers, to improve their understanding of and participation in the safety system implementation in their own work areas.

Xin has several remarkable achievements from his short time at the University, including leading the development and implementation of the University's first ANU-wide WHS Plan; cascading to Colleges, Schools and Service Divisions.

To complement this, Xin developed the University WHS Management System Handbook from concept to launch, which was a first in the University sector in Australia. This provides practical guidance and tools to ensure WHS Procedures are clear and logical, and can be implemented in a consistent manner across all of the University's activities and endeavours.

He also managed the development and implementation of the WHS Officer Capability Framework, another first in the University sector in Australia.

Xin's combination of safety expertise, enthusiasm and a mind for "doing safety differently" has empowered and equipped a large cohort of academic and professional staff across the University to pursue safety excellence.

Prior to the team receiving the award, Xin was sent a series of questions. His responses are below.

Q: Congratulations on being nominated a finalist for the 2019 Vice-Chancellor's Annual Awards. Can you briefly tell us what this honour means to you?

A: This award is recognition for the work that I do, and showcases the University's dedication to WHS. I have previously won several awards in the state government, national and University sectors, however this one is very important as it is from the national university.


Q: Tell us a little about the behind-the-scenes work involved in the project you worked on. What was a challenging aspect of the work? How did you overcome this?

A: I develop the Work Health and Safety Management System (WHSMS) and the WHS Handbook to provide the ANU community with the guidance they need to approach safety proactively, not reactively.

Throughout this project, I spent a lot of time looking at legislation and current processes, and benchmarking against industries. I also spent a lot of time talking to the people of, to work out what was needed.

It was challenging to bring a University-wide system together, when local areas across ANU all had their own way of managing WHS. To overcome this, I approached each area as a friend, to influence and encourage a positive, proactive approach to a new system. Though this was time consuming, it was invaluable and contributed to the success of the project.

Another challenge was thinking in the mind of the people, to write the WHS Handbook in such a way that it would provide people the information that they need.


Q: Where is your favourite place on campus?

A: At my desk! I also like the new Kambri Precinct, the ovals, and the area around the Hancock Library.


Q: Why Canberra? Why ANU?

A: I was previously an academic, and from an academic perspective, I always wanted to work at the #1 university in Australia. I chose Canberra because ANU is in Canberra!


Q: Can you tell us a little about why you are so passionate about what you do?

A: I left the academic world, where I worked in the chemistry field, to pursue safety because I observed that the curriculum lacked inclusion of safety. Safety is both my professional and personal interest. I wanted to use another perspective to influence safety and continue to support the university sector.


Q: Is there anyone you would like to recognise for helping you become a finalist for the 2019 Vice-Chancellor's Annual Awards?

A: I would like to thank my supervisor, Mark Mulligan, and my Director, Nadine White, who have both been big supporters of my work. I would also like to thank the Work Environment Group team who are instrumental in implementing the WHSMS. Finally, I would like to thank my partner! I am a bit obsessed with work, and I work at home at night a lot, and without her support for me, I could not have achieved what I have.