Health and Safety

Health and Safety
Report Online
Report an accident or near miss

Report an accident or near miss online

To report an accident in Awaken, select the “Incident Submission” link on the left-hand side of your home screen once you have logged in.  For more information we have produced this guide: Reporting an Accident, Near Miss or Ill Health in Awaken.

Who should complete the form?

The accident or near miss report should be completed and submitted by a responsible person.  This may be the supervisor or manager of the injured person, the person responsible for the area where the incident occurred or the first aider involved in attending to the incident.  The form may also be completed by the person involved in the incident.

The form should be completed with as much detail as is available at the time of writing.  If any additional information is identified later, this information can be forwarded to your Local Safety Coordinator or the Health, Safety and Resilience Team.

When should I use the forms?

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, result from exposure to a hazard over time.  Typical examples include:

  • Conditions caused by repetitive movements or inappropriate working postures
  • Skin conditions resulting from repeated exposures to particular agents such as cleaning products
  • Asthma or respiratory problems that could be attributable to workplace conditions or activities

A Near Miss is an unplanned incident which did not result in injury or ill health but which might have done so if the circumstances had been slightly different.

There is also a separate form for cases of “ill health”, these are incidents where work has not influenced or caused the illness e.g. a student feeling faint because they have not eaten recently, someone with epilepsy suffering a seizure (as long as it was not caused by a work-related task).

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.  Your Local Safety Coordinator or the Health and Safety Team can always update the format 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.

The local Safety Adviser should be informed of an accident as soon as possible and asked to assist with the investigation.

Fire Reporting
About Us

Ensuring that our campuses are safe places for staff, students and visitors is a priority for the University.

Policy Statement

The University Health and Safety Policy was approved by the University Court in April 2020. Download the Policy


The Health, Safety and Resilience 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 Health, Safety and Resilience Team.

Topic specific guidance can be found within our Resources and Management Guidance sections.

University Health and Safety Committee
The University's Health and Safety Committee is a committee of the Senior Management Team (SMT). To view the remit and composition, minutes from the Committee meetings, and Health and Safety Annual Reports click here.
Contact Us
  Position Email / Telephone
General Enquiries  

t. 01224 274732
Send email

Mr Garry Fisher Head of Health, Safety and Resilience

t: 01224 272783

Send email

Dr Allan Petrie Senior Health & Safety Adviser

t: 01224 273896

 Send email

Vivienne Amakiri Health & Safety Adviser

t: 01224 272514

Send email

Emily Blake Health & Safety Adviser

t: 01224 274786

Send email

Willie Tocher Fire Safety Adviser

t: 01224 272515
Send email

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).

The Radiation Protection Service
Orange Zone Level 1
Aberdeen Royal Infirmary

Tel: 01224 559491



Occupational Health Service

The Occupational Health service for the University is provided by OHWorks. 

More information is available here
Legal Info and Advice

Health and Safety Law

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.

Fire Safety

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.

Employment Rights

Find out more about your employment rights at:

Employer's liability insurance certificate

The University has in place employers' and public liability insurance. For more information click here.

Management Guidance

Roles & Responsibilities | Management Arrangements

Roles & Responsibilities

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.

University Court
The University Court has ultimate responsibility for overseeing health, wellbeing and safety matters at the University and ensuring that good governance is practised.
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:

  • Developing a local Health, Wellbeing and Safety Policy
  • Preparing, maintaining and reviewing relevant risk assessments and the implementation and maintenance of relevant controls
  • Ensuring effective procedures for emergency response and ensuring that staff are aware of any actions required by them
  • Ensuring that staff understand their Health, Wellbeing and Safety responsibilities
  • Ensuring staff are trained and competent for performing their duties
  • Ensuring that contractors employed can meet the University’s health and safety standards and they are monitored to ensure these standards are met
  • Ensuring that appropriate arrangements are in place for consultation on health, wellbeing and safety matters, where necessary by formation of a local health and safety committee
  • Ensuring that all accidents and near misses which have, or had, the potential to cause injury, impaired health, environmental damage or damage to property are reported, investigated and that appropriate corrective actions are implemented
  • Setting a clear leadership example and actively promoting a high degree of health, wellbeing and safety awareness throughout the School or Directorate Service
  • Appointing an appropriate number, dependent on the size and risk profile of the School or Directorate, of Local Safety Coordinators
  • Communicating and cooperating with the  Health, Safety and Resilience Team, Estates Directorate and other shared building occupiers
  • Reporting annually on the health, safety and wellbeing activities and performance of the School or Directorate.
Supervisory Staff

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:

  • Ensuring that staff and students understand their responsibilities for health, wellbeing and safety
  • Ensuring that staff are trained to an appropriate level to enable them to conduct their work safely
  • Allocating work to only those who are competent and capable of conducting that work safely
  • Ensuring that work areas are kept clean and tidy; that emergency equipment and escape routes are kept clear and free of obstructions
  • Maintaining plant and equipment to a safe operational standard in line with our legal requirements, University policy and the manufacturer’s guidelines
  • Taking appropriate precautions for the purchase, use and disposal of equipment or substances to prevent injury or damage to health
  • Reporting and investigating near misses and accidents and ensuring that any corrective actions are implemented and that any modifications to working practices are brought to the attention of those that may be affected
  • Involving staff and students in maintaining and improving safety performance
  • Promoting a high level of safety awareness and setting a clear example of health, wellbeing and safety leadership.

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:

  • Cooperating with managers and supervisors in health, wellbeing and safety matters
  • Understanding the actions required of them in emergency situations
  • Ensuring that their workplaces are kept tidy and that emergency escape routes are kept clear and unobstructed
  • Reporting to their supervisor any accident, near miss or dangerous situation which they become aware of.
All staff will also have access to Wellbeing Coordinators.
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 Health, Safety and Resilience Team for advice and support.

The Health, Safety and Resilience 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 Health, Safety and Resilience Team.

The role of the LSC is:

  • Set a clear leadership example and actively promote a high degree of health, wellbeing and safety awareness throughout the School or Professional Service
  • To assist and advise the Head of School or Director on health and safety matters
  • To liaise with the Health and Safety Team on all health and safety matters and to provide a focus for health and safety in the School or Directorate
  • To deal with straightforward requests for health and safety advice and resolve simple health and safety enquiries and issues at local level
  • To assist in coordinating audits, inspections, investigations and other health and safety initiatives
  • To monitor compliance with safety policies and plans
  • To assist in coordinating implementation of University requirements, and assist in ongoing management of these requirements pursuant to implementation.

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.

Health, Safety and Resilience Team

The Health, Safety and ResilienceTeam 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:

  • Providing leadership and direction on all health, wellbeing and safety matters
  • Promoting a strong and consistent health, wellbeing and safety culture across the University
  • Improving the University’s management systems and procedures for health, wellbeing and safety to achieve best practice in the Higher Education sector
  • Providing suitable and sufficient specialist advice to support Heads of School and Directors in the implementation of their duties
  • Monitoring and auditing compliance and performance to continually improve the health, wellbeing and safety across the University
  • Acting as a focal point for reporting and communicating on health, wellbeing and safety across the University.
Specialised Committees

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.

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Management Arrangements

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

Floor Checkers are appointed by Heads of School or Directors to assist with:

  • The evacuation of buildings following activation of the fire alarms
  • Reporting the status of fire zones to the person in charge of the evacuation.

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.

First Aiders

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.

  • If you are interested in becoming a first aider visit our Training section
  • If you would like more information on first aid please visit our H&S Index
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:

  • Identification and registration of radiation workers
  • Distribution, collection and administration of dosimeters
  • Local training for radiation workers
  • Supervision of ‘Controlled’ and ‘Supervised’ radiation areas
  • Administration of classified radiation workers – annual medicals and dose reports
  • Record keeping – ordering, usage and disposal records
  • Local rules and risk assessments
  • Investigation of accidents involving radioactive sources.
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:

  • Assist local managers in the development of workable and effective policies, procedures and arrangements
  • Identify and support development of effective local procedures for any areas of risk identified
  • Monitor and review the local policies, procedures and arrangements to ensure they are still suitable and sufficient
  • Be chaired by the Head of School or Director (or a senior deputy) and will consist of representatives from all the various disciplinary or functional groups within the School or Directorate.
Multi-User Buildings

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:

  • Identification of arrangements for the local implementation of new University Health and Safety Policies
  • Process for carrying out inspections and risk assessments
  • Arrangements for any occupational health surveillance
  • Safety induction training, safety training and refresher training, etc.

Heads of School and Directors should ensure adequate resources (time, budget and staff allocation) for health and safety.

Risk Assessment

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 here.

Equipment Maintenance and Examination
There shall a collaborative approach between the University’s Estates Directorate and other Directorates and Schools as follows:
  • Estates is responsible for maintaining the fabric and services of the buildings. No inspection of or alteration to the fabric or services of any building should be made without first consulting the relevant Estates Clerk of Works for that building. This is to ensure that, amongst other essential precautions, asbestos is not disturbed.
  • All faults with the fabric or services of the building should be reported to the Estates Fault Desk, either by phone or online.
  • Equipment contained within buildings that Estates is responsible for will be examined and maintained as part of Estates planned programme.
  • Maintenance and inspection of other equipment within buildings that Estates is not responsible for, will be the responsibility of the relevant School or Directorate, unless other arrangements have been formalised.
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.

  • Visitors – must be provided with information e.g. evacuation routes, muster points, first aid arrangements, etc. This should be provided as an introductory safety briefing at the start of a meeting or session.
  • Contractors – in addition to the information provided to visitors, contractors shall be given information such as on how to minimise risk to staff and students from their activities and to reiterate that work on the fabric or services of University buildings can only be conducted following consultation with the relevant Estates Clerk of Works and the University’s Asbestos Coordinator
  • Students - shall be given information on emergency arrangements, evacuation routes, etc. If they participate in practical work, including fieldwork, they shall be given further, more specific information.
  • Staff (including postgraduate students) – There shall be a training plan in place for staff and postgraduate students who must be provided with adequate health and safety training. This applies both to induction to the University and on being exposed to new or increased workplace risks.

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.

  • All accidents and near misses, and incidents of work related ill-health must be reported as soon as possible via the University’s online reporting system
  • Schools and Directorates must investigate all accidents or near misses to a level appropriate to the nature of the accident in order to determine the root cause of the accident, to learn lessons, and to take appropriate measures to minimise a recurrence of the accident
  • The Health, Safety and ResilienceTeam may request additional information from Schools or Directorates about accidents and may take the lead in investigating certain accidents, dependent on the severity 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.


Inspections 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 Health, Safety and Resilience 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 Health, Safety and Resilience 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

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.

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