Ensuring that our campuses are safe places for staff, students and visitors is a priority for the University.
The Central Safety Team has the responsibility of providing expert advice and assistance to support each School/Support Service in the implementation of their own health and safety management systems. Each School/Support Service also appoints a member of staff as its Local Safety Adviser to provide advice and assistance with health and safety matters to staff and students in the School/Support Service.
Anyone with a health and safety problem connected with their work should discuss it with their Local Safety Adviser in the first instance. Where matters cannot be resolved locally, or you need further advice, please contact the Central Safety Team.
Topic specific guidance can be found within our Resources and Management Guidance sections.
The University Health and Safety Policy was approved by the University Court in October 2016. Download the Policy here.
|University Health and Safety Committee
|The University's Health and Safety Committee is a committee of the Operating Board. As part of its remit the Committee:
The Committee also provides a forum for discussion of health and safety matters that are of broad interest. The membership of the Committee represents various fields of University activity and reflects the interests of all sections of the University.
To view the remint and composition; minutes from the Committee meetings and Health and Safety Annual Reports click here.
Radiation Protection Service
The Radiation Protection Service is provided to the University by NHS Grampian Radiation Protection Service. Services include specialist advice and assistance with the use of sources of ionising and non-ionising radiations (including lasers).
Occupational Health Service
You can either:
Note: you will be prompted to log in to use the online reporting forms. Use your usual University details. Once completed, a copy of the online form is sent automatically to the University Safety Advisers, and a copy is emailed to you for your records.
Alternatively you may download a copy of our forms and complete them by hand.
We also provide a checklist to help with the investigation of accidents.
The report should be completed and submitted by the immediate supervisor of the injured person or by the person in charge of the area where the accident happened.
Please note: the form should not be completed by the injured person.
A University report form should be submitted whenever there is an accident or a near miss. The accident report form can also be used to report incidents of work-related ill health which can be regarded as "slow accidents" - instead of being caused by single events, they result from exposure to a hazard over time. Typical examples include:
A separate form is provided for the reporting of near misses. These are unplanned incidents which did not result in injury or ill health but which might have done so if the circumstances had been slightly different.
The completed form should be submitted within 48 hours of the accident. Serious accidents should be reported to the University Safety Advisers immediately by telephone (ext. 3894 or 3896) or as an online report.
As a rule of thumb, an accident is "serious" if the injured person has gone to hospital as a result of the accident.
Please do not delay submitting the report because you want to make sure that you have gathered all the facts surrounding the accident. A second report can always be made at a later date with any additional information.
The University Safety Advisers will ensure that necessary reports are submitted to the Health and Safety Executive and that serious accidents are reported to the HSE immediately by telephone.
The local Safety Adviser should be informed of an accident as soon as possible and, where necessary, asked to assist with the investigation.
To find out what you need to know click here. This information was prepared by the Health and Safety Executive. All employers are obliged by law to bring it to the attention of their employees.
You can get advice on fire safety from the Fire and Rescue Services or your workplace fire officer.
Read our Fire Safety Policy. See our Resources section for more information on fire safety awareness.
Find out more about your employment rights at: www.direct.gov.uk.
The University has in place employers' and public liability insurance. For more information click here.
This section outlines the roles and responsibilities that support the University's commitment to health, safety and wellbeing of those who work, study at or visit the University.
|The University Court has ultimate responsibility for overseeing health, wellbeing and safety matters at the University and ensuring that good governance is practised.|
|The Operating Board plays a key role in providing leadership and strategic direction for health, wellbeing and safety concerns and ensuring that these matters are effectively integrated into management thinking and decision-making at all levels of the University. The Operating Board has delegated authority from the University Court to set and periodically review the University’s Health, Wellbeing and Safety Policy and to take action to ensure its effective implementation in academic Schools and across Professional Services.|
University Management Group
|The Principal has overall responsibility for the implementation of the Health, Wellbeing and Safety Policy.
Collectively, it is the responsibility of the University Management Group to play a lead role in championing the health, wellbeing and safety culture within the University. These senior managers have a key role in actively promoting and reinforcing the Health, Wellbeing and Safety policy by their actions.
Alongside the Principal, the University Secretary, Vice-Principals, Heads of Schools and Professional Services Directors are responsible for the embedding and implementation of the Policy in their areas, and for providing individual and collective leadership for health, safety and wellbeing matters more generally. They are responsible for dissemination through the College and School structure and across Professional Services of an effective system for ensuring the health, wellbeing and safety of staff, students and members of the public.The University Secretary will convene the University Health and Safety Committee and is also the member of the University Management Group charged with overseeing the University’s arrangements for the management of health, wellbeing and safety.
|Heads of School and Professional Services Directors|
|It is the responsibility of the Heads of School and Professional Services Directors to play a key role in championing health, wellbeing and safety within their respective School or Directorate. They are expected to set a clear leadership example and to promote high standards of health, wellbeing and safety. They must promote a culture of continuous improvement in health, wellbeing and safety and empower staff to take responsibility for health, wellbeing and safety matters as part of their everyday activities.
Heads of School and Professional Services Directors are responsible for ensuring that all activities under their control are conducted in compliance with the relevant statutory provisions and in accordance with the University’s Health, Wellbeing and Safety Policy.
This will be achieved by:
|Individuals with responsibility for managing or supervising other employees, contractors, students or visitors, no matter the duration, are responsible for the health, wellbeing and safety of those under their care or control.
This will be achieved by:
All staff have a responsibility for their own health, wellbeing and safety and to contribute to an institutional culture that supports health and safety.
They can achieve this by:
|Local Safety Coordinators|
|Depending on the School or Directorate’s risk profile Heads of Schools or Directors will formally appoint one or more Local Safety Coordinators (LSC) to assist them in the safe running of their area to liaise with the Central Health and Safety Team for advice and support.
The Central Health and Safety Team is to be advised of the appointment of an LSC. Where multiple LSCs are appointed, one should take a lead role in communication with the Central Health and Safety Team.
The role of the LSC is:
The main task is to assist the Head of School or Director on health and safety matters and
Where required, the Local Safety Coordinator will receive training appropriate to their role and the risk profile of their School or Directorate.
Central Health and Safety Team
|The Central Health and Safety Team provides specialist advice and support to Schools and Directorates and actively leads and promotes health, wellbeing and safety across the University.
The Team will support the University by:
|University Health and Safety Committee|
|The University Health and Safety Committee’s remit is to ensure that a collaborative approach is taken to the management of the health, wellbeing and safety of all at the University. Where necessary it will advise, recommend and decide upon measures taken to improve health, wellbeing and safety at the University.
Specifically, it will:
The composition of the Committee will include:
In addition to the University Health and Safety Committee, the University maintains a Radiation Hazards Sub-Committee and two Biological Safety Sub-Committees.These Committees address, review and where necessary approve any work with both ionising and non-ionising radiation and lasers, and genetically modified organisms respectively.
This support section provides a framework that each organisational unit within the University will be required to implement in order to manage health, wellbeing and safety in that functional area. This is to be regarded as a minimum, and where necessary, Heads of School or Directors should implement further local arrangements applicable to their specific risks and operations.
|Heads of School and Directors are ultimately responsible for the management of health, wellbeing and safety in their area. Appropriate delegation via the line management chain will, however, be undertaken. As a result, individuals in a School or Directorate who manage staff, organise work, or have a supervisory role will be responsible for doing so in a safe manner.
In addition, each Head of School or Director must ensure that a suitable number of roles are identified, with appropriate responsibilities assigned, to ensure that the management of health, wellbeing and safety is devolved throughout their area. These roles may be administrative, support or may be specialist depending on the specific requirements of the School or Directorate. If a safety role forms a major part of an individual’s duties, then this should be incorporated into that individual’s job description. Care should be taken when allocating roles in respect of existing responsibilities and workloads. Dependent on the nature of the role, it may be necessary to include safety elements into the functions of a particular post to ensure that these considerations are built into the functions of the School or Directorate.
Floor Checkers are appointed by Heads of School or Directors to assist with:
At no point should Floor Checkers put their own safety at risk during an evacuation. Due to the diverse organisation of Schools and Directorates, alternative arrangements to Floor Checkers may be put in place to allow effective evacuation of buildings.
Schools and Directorates are required to make adequate provision for first aid for staff and extend this provision to students and visitors. Schools and Directorates must ensure that staff appointed as first aiders receive adequate training, with the minimum being an approved course via a recognised first aid training provider.
Where a School or Directorate has identified risks to health that may require more than ‘standard’ first aid response e.g. hazardous chemicals, hazardous fieldwork, etc. then appropriate specialist training and first aid provision for those activities must be provided.
|Radiation Protection Supervisors|
|Where a School or Directorate undertakes work with ionising radiation, there is a requirement under the Ionising Radiations Regulations that one or more suitable persons must be appointed as the local Radiation Protection Supervisor and their names recorded in the local rules applicable to that area.
The duties of the local Radiation Protection Supervisor are:
|Laser Protection Supervisors|
|Where a School or Directorate undertakes work with Class 3 or Class 4 Lasers, a Laser Protection Supervisor must be appointed if the Laser Protection Adviser considers it necessary and this appointment must be confirmed in writing. The Laser Protection Supervisor are responsible for the control and safe use of the laser in the area specified in appointment letter, including training and quality assurance checks where required.|
|Local Health and Safety Committees|
|While the University Health and Safety Committee is considered to meet legal requirements, it is recognised that for certain Schools or Directorates a local Health and Safety Committee may be needed. This is likely to apply to larger Schools and Directorates or those where the risk profile requires dedicated scrutiny. Where a dedicated committee is deemed to be not required, health, wellbeing and safety should be included on agendas of meetings which involve representation from across the School or Directorate in order to ensure that discussion takes place around any areas of concern and solutions identified and implemented.
The local Committee will:
|In many situations within the University, buildings are occupied by staff who are employed within different Schools or Directorates and there is a joint responsibility to establish suitable arrangements for safety management within these buildings. Building users must ensure there is close liaison and consultation between the various occupants, especially so for arrangements that affect the building as a whole e.g. fire safety arrangements, first aid provisions, etc. A Building User Group should be formed by the lead occupier to achieve joint arrangements. All building occupiers should contribute to the development of local procedures.|
|Planning for Health and Safety|
Schools and Directorates are expected to plan their health and safety activities, including setting objectives and targets, and planning activities to meet those objectives and targets. These plans should include:
Heads of School and Directors should ensure adequate resources (time, budget and staff allocation) for health and safety.
Schools and Directorates must have in place procedures to identify hazards and undertake risk assessments for their activities and implement any corresponding control measures. These procedures must be documented and must make clear the responsibility of staff to risk assess activities conducted by the School or Directorate.
Significant findings from risk assessments must be recorded and communicated to those undertaking the work.
Further information on the process for conducting a risk assessment and assessment templates for generic activities can be found on the Central Health and Safety Team web pages.
|Equipment Maintenance and Examination|
|There shall a collaborative approach between the University’s Estates Directorate and other Directorates and Schools as follows:
|Information, Supervision and Training|
|All individuals who visit or work at the University of Aberdeen will require relevant information on the risks they may face while at the University and how to avoid harm while on campus. This information can be shared in a number of different ways.
Information can be provided as lab briefings, lab handouts, departmental codes of practice and other appropriate means. Training can be achieved through formal training courses, but ‘on-the-job’ training is also essential.
|Accident / Near Miss Reporting and Investigation|
|The University of Aberdeen requires that all accidents and near misses are reported without prejudice. This is to ensure that investigations can take place to determine whether the safety arrangements have broken down, to learn lessons and, where necessary implement improvements to prevent recurrence of the accident.
Visit our Reporting section for more information on how to report an accident or near miss.
|Monitoring and Review|
|In order to ensure that any management systems and arrangements are continuing to function as intended, regular monitoring is required to ensure that the system is working. All Schools and Directorates shall ensure that periodic inspections and reviews or audits are planned and carried out to check and ensure that safety management systems are effective and are working properly.|
|Inpections include physical inspections of work areas including the physical structure of the building, housekeeping, working practices, etc. They should normally be conducted by two or three people. It is beneficial for those persons responsible for managing the area to be present, both to ensure expected practices are in operation and to show management commitment to safety.
For low risk environments, e.g. offices, annual inspection is suitable, but for higher risk environments e.g. laboratories or workshops, there should be two or three inspections per year.Actions arising from inspections shall be recorded. Timescales and responsible persons shall be identified to close out these actions and they should be followed up to ensure satisfactory closure. Findings and actions arising from inspections should be reported to the Head of School or Director and to the next appropriate safety committee or management meeting where health and safety is an agenda item.
|The Central Health and Safety Team will conduct audits of Schools and Directorates on a programme based on the perceived risk profile of Schools and Directorates. The audit will concentrate on ensuring that Schools and Directorates are complying with both the health and safety management arrangements as laid out in the University Health, Wellbeing and Safety Policy and the local Policies implemented by the Schools and Directorates|
|Although the Central Health and Safety Team arrange and conduct audits of the health and safety management systems of Schools and Directorates, each School or Directorate shall annually review its progress towards meeting its health and safety objectives. A local report on health and safety performance, in a format to be specified by the Health and Safety Committee, must be returned to the Committee on an annual basis.|
Safety Tours are planned visits of workplaces by members of senior management to support Because We Care; to observe the methods of working; listen to staff views and then engage staff in open discussions on health,; safety and wellbeing related issues. Read the full Safety Tours Policy.
Report a work-related accident or near-miss.