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Health & Safety Responsibilities

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Health and Safety

Health and Safety Manual

1. Health and Safety Responsibilities

1.1 Board of Governors

The Board of Governors has strategic oversight of all matters relating to health and safety and wellbeing for the University and carries ultimate responsibility for the health and safety of employees and people who could be harmed by University activities, both on and off University occupied premises.

In accordance with the Articles of Government and the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974, the University’s Board of Governors is responsible within the conditions imposed, for the health, safety and wellbeing at work of all University employees, students and other persons who use the University’s premises and resources or are engaged in activities, which are under the supervision of the University. The Board discharges this duty through the Finance and Resources Committee

1.2 The Vice-Chancellor, as the most senior officer of the University, is responsible to the Board of Governors for securing compliance with legislative provision for safety and for achieving the objectives of the University Health and Safety and Wellbeing Policy. The Vice-Chancellor is also responsible for ensuring that health and safety matters are given the appropriate level of strategic importance. The duties that relate to this are:

  • Be satisfied that the Health and Safety and Wellbeing Policy is being effectively implemented across the University.
  • Identify and communicate to team members their responsibilities for managing health and safety and wellbeing.
  • Establish an operational structure for the University that ensures clear accountability for and consideration of the health and safety implication of management decisions and change initiatives.
  • Ensure that team members have a suitable level of knowledge and training.
  • Ensure suitable and sufficient resources are provided to team members to effectively meet the health and safety needs of their respective faculty/services.
  • Hold accountable the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Director of HR, Director of Services, Director of Finance, Registrar, Provost and Deans.

In order to fulfil these responsibilities the Vice-Chancellor has devolved certain executive duties and authority as detailed below (and to the University Radiation Protection Adviser on matters concerned with ionising radiation).

2.3 The Director of Human Resources is directly responsible to the Vice-Chancellor for the development, implementation and monitoring of the University Health and Safety Policy. The Director of Human Resources acts as the ‘Health and Safety and Wellbeing Director’ and has a key role in helping establish a positive health and safety culture. The duties relating to this are to:
  • Act as executive level champion of health and safety and wellbeing initiatives ensuring participation and co-operation of the Registrar, Directors, Deans and senior staff.
  • Establish and maintain an effective central team for the provision of health and safety and wellbeing. 
  • Ensure that members of the central team engaged in the provision of health and safety support have an appropriate level of competence and training, and that they engage in continuous professional development.
  • Ensure the central team is provided with suitable and sufficient resources to enable it to effectively support managers, staff and students on health and safety and wellbeing matters.
  • Take executive action where necessary to prevent serious harm to individuals at the University.
  • The Associate Director, Valuing and Engaging People will support the Director of Human Resources to fulfil these responsibilities.

2.4 The Director of Services is responsible for ensuring that the University’s buildings are maintained to the required standards and for ensuring appropriate provision of resources to meet health and safety obligations and requirement.

Estates is responsible for ensuring:

  • the safety of buildings, grounds, infrastructure
  • the integrity of building services,
  • the appointment of competent contractors,
  • the provision and maintenance of satisfactory fire detection and firefighting equipment.

2.5 Members of the University Executive Group

  • Members of the University Executive Group are responsible, on a day-to-day basis, to the Vice-Chancellor for ensuring compliance with the requirements of legislation, and of the University Health and Safety and Wellbeing Policy, and associated documentation within their faculty/service. They are responsible for the activities of the people and equipment in the buildings detailed in appendix A.
  • Responsibility for the up keep and maintenance of the building sits with the Director of Services, and while members of the University Executive Group are not accountable for managing the condition of the buildings, they are accountable for the standards provided in the buildings and should ensure any defects are brought to the attention of Facilities.
  • Have responsibility for health and safety and wellbeing, which includes ensuring that there are effective health and safety management systems in place to provide a safe and healthy environment for employees, students and third parties.
  • Members of the University Executive Group may delegate their authority and actions  (but not their responsibility) for day-to-day health and safety compliance to Heads of Department or core staff who have the necessary competencies, experience and knowledge.
  • Advice on how this effective system should look is available from the University Health and Safety Manager.
  • In particular members of the University Executive Group must:
  • Provide leadership and governance to foster a culture in which health and safety and related wellbeing issues are seen as essential and integral parts of the faculty or service’s activity.
  • Communicate with Heads of Department, Student and Academic Services & Professional Services in respect of their responsibility for bringing health and safety and wellbeing information and requirements to the attention of employees, students and third parties.
  • Produce and disseminate a faculty or service health and safety plan along with satisfactory procedures, mechanisms and guidelines in line with the University Health and Safety and Wellbeing Policy and associated documentation.
  • Liaise with and work in partnership with the Health and Safety Manager and Health and Safety team and other professional advisors for health and safety services, as appropriate.
  • Put in place mechanisms (e.g. through the Health and Safety Panels) to assure and monitor the implementation of the Policy and supporting policies and procedures.
  • The Provost and Deans to chair their Faculty Health and Safety Panels with the Director of Services chairing the central Panel covering non-academic areas.
  • Ensure that appropriate structural and operational arrangements are in place to support the management of health and safety and wellbeing. As a minimum, this should  include the establishment of a site health and safety panel, (in faculties or services that are more complex, this might involve specific local health and safety panels being set up that report into the main safety panel).
  • Ensure there are nominated employees to carry out, specific health and safety functions including as a minimum in each faculty: Health and Safety Co-ordinators, Fire Coordinators, Fire Marshals, First Aiders and as appropriate, Radiation Protection Supervisors.
  • Ensure that employees are competent to undertake tasks safely and that adequate time, resources and support are allocated for all requirements to be carried out.
  • Monitor and review health and safety performance within their remit (examples of how to monitor are contained in section 3.8).
  • Promote the importance of accident and near miss reporting and be involved in accident and near miss investigation as appropriate.
  • Personally attend specific training, and ensure and record that employees and students receive appropriate training and induction relating to the normal functioning of their school/ service along with local instructions as necessary
  • Ensure that procedures and risk assessments are in place to identify and reduce significant risks to ‘as low as is reasonably practicable’.
  • Liaise with appropriate employee representatives on health and safety matters.
  • Ensure they follow the duties laid out in the Fire Policy, Accident and Incident Reporting & Investigation Policy, Risk Assessment Policy and other procedures as detailed in appendix B.

Further information on the management arrangements for health and safety and site health and safety panels is contained within section 3 of this document. Section 6 of this document contains advice on local health and safety arrangements and procedures. Advice on how these responsibilities should be implemented will be provided from the University Health and Safety Manager.

2.6 Senior Managers (this includes Heads of Departments, Heads of Faculty SAS and the Head of Technical Services & Directors/Heads of Service) play a vital role in the local implementation of this Policy and its supporting procedures and practices.  Their duties are to:

  • Work in partnership with the Health and Safety Manager and Health and Safety Advisor for their area and Health and Safety Coordinator.
  • Provide leadership within their area for health and safety and wellbeing and plan arrangement to manage health and safety including preparation of an annual health and safety plan.
  • Include appropriate health and safety and wellbeing risks in faculty/service risk register.
  • Ensure processes are in place so that all activities are appropriately risk assessed and controls implemented.
  • Have oversight of accidents and incident investigations.
  • Assess the health and safety impact of new projects at the planning stage and when purchasing new equipment.
  • Liaise, cooperate and collaborate with other line managers, Heads of Department and local health and safety coordinators to align practice with the faculty/ services and across the University.
  • Ensure that team members have a suitable level of competence, knowledge and understanding to effectively carry out their duties within this Policy.
  • Ensure that team members undertake all the relevant training identified in faculty/service health and safety annual plan, ensure health and safety training is recorded and liaise with the health and safety team in regard to training records.

2.7 Line Managers (this includes for example Technical Group Managers, Technical Managers, Department Heads, Supervisors) are responsible for implementing the University Health and Safety and Wellbeing Policy within their authorised areas of responsibility, the implementation of local safety management arrangements and for monitoring  and checking their effectiveness. Their duties are to:

  • Ensure any activities planned and organised that involve a significant risk to the health and safety and wellbeing of staff, students and others are appropriately risk assessed. This specially includes:
  • identifying any hazards associated with work or study that staff  students, visitors and contractors  may be exposed to, and assess the level of risk that they may cause;
  • implementing measures to eliminate or reduce any significant risk to an acceptable level;
  • communicating effectively to any staff, students, visitors and contractors affected, ensuring they are aware of the measures in place for minimising risk of exposure to hazards;
  • evidencing the identification, control and communication of hazards through the completion of documented risk assessments;
  • following safe systems of work.
  • Ensure all relevant documentation and risk assessments are up to date and readily available.
  • Promptly communicate any health and safety accident or incident to the Health and Safety Unit.
  • Identify and communicate to team members their responsibilities for managing health and safety.Provide staff with health surveillance if identified in risk assessments.
  • Lead the programme of inspections and be involved in audits when asked.
  • Lead on investigations into accidents and other reports (e.g. near misses).
  • Ensure that the programmes for statutory testing of equipment such as local exhaust ventilation, pressure systems and lifting equipment is carried out.
  • Monitor training plans and safety inductions.

All Staff

Have a responsibility for their own health, safety, and wellbeing, and those around them who may be affected by acts and omissions. The  duties for all members of staff are to:

  • So far, as is reasonably practicable, maintain satisfactory standards of health, safety and wellbeing within their authorised areas of responsibility as defined by the University Health and Safety and Wellbeing Policy.
  • Not undertake any activity that might pose an uncontrolled risk to anyone’s health and safety.
  • Cooperate with their line manager and other colleagues on health and safety matters.
  • Ensure they are familiar with and adhere to this Policy, induction information codes of practice and method statements as they apply to our work activities.
  • Not interfere with or misuse anything provided in the interests of health and safety.
  • Identify and report to their line manager any unsafe acts or conditions accidents or incidents using the accident/ incident reporting form as appropriate.
  • To inform all students, contractors and visitors regarding the health and safety arrangements that are in place in their place of work.

2.9       All Students
As regular visitors to the University premises and participants in all activities, students have responsibilities for their own health and safety and those around them that might be affected by their act and omissions.
They must not undertake an activity that might pose a significant risk to anyone’s health and safety.  They must:

  • Cooperate with the organisers of University activities particularly with regard to any health and safety instructions issued.
  • Not interfere with or misuse anything provided in the interests of health and safety.
  • Identify and report to their academic supervisor or other University staff any unsafe acts or conditions, accidents or incidents.
  • Treat other students, staff and others with respect.



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