The University Council receives advice on safety policy, which is formulated on its behalf by the University Safety Committee. Once policy has been approved by Council, responsibility for implementing it is delegated to Heads of Schools, Professional Services Departments and Hall Managers, as appropriate, with Council’s duty to monitor implementation performed on its behalf by the Registrar. The Director of Health and Safety is the Secretary of the University Safety Committee. He acts as adviser to the University, through the Safety Committee, on matters of safety and also advises directly Schools and Professional Services, Halls of Residence and individual members of staff.
The University Safety Committee concerns itself with the safety of all employees and members of the University, staff and students alike, and persons who are not in the University employment and seeks to ensure that they are not exposed to risks to their health and safety while at the university. Special arrangements have been made where there is a joint responsibility, for example, in the Medical School and Teaching Hospital.
The Statutory Safety Committee has been set up at the request of Trade Union Safety Representatives under the provisions of the Health & Safety at Work Act, 1974 and its relevant Statutory Instruments of 1977. The aim of the Committee, on which appropriate University Officers and all the major Unions are represented, is co-operation and co-ordination of safety matters. Items can be placed on the agenda by both Management and Unions. The Act also provides for recognised Trade Unions to appoint Safety Representatives and all the recognised Unions have set up a network of these Representatives who have statutory functions to fulfil with regard to safety.
Many sections of the University have set up local safety committees to advise the Head of School or Department on safety and to give an opportunity for regular review of safety performance. They keep the University Safety Committee informed of their proceedings.
The Statutory Safety Committee reports to management through the University Safety Committee.
The University’s arrangements for managing health and safety are described in detail in “Effective Safety Management”. This is published on the Safety Office website and defines a performance standard for safety management. The Safety Office will audit safety performance against this standard. The Head of every work area has the responsibility for ensuring that hazards within the area’s activities have been identified and that arrangements have been made to control the risks arising from them. In addition to the provision and maintenance of equipment and procedures to ensure safety, the arrangements for control should include provision for training, supervision and health surveillance of the people involved where necessary, and the provision of personal protective equipment. The Head of each School or Professional Services Department or Hall Manager, should where necessary appoint a School/Departmental Safety Officer to assist him/her in carrying out his/her responsibility within the work area. (Section 4.4 of Effective Safety Management gives general guidance on the role and duties of such an Officer). In some cases Safety Officers have been nominated for particular buildings or portions of University premises. Each School, Department, Hall etc. will, where necessary, supplement this Handbook with more specific health and safety information appropriate to its own local circumstances and special problems. Amongst other things these will explain the local arrangements for managing health and safety and specific procedures or rules covering aspects ranging from the local fire evacuation and first aid arrangements to procedures to be adopted in relation to hazardous materials, equipment, or activities within the work area. These arrangements should be reviewed, and if necessary revised, annually and in the event of any changes that may affect the level of hazards present or the effectiveness of any controls or procedures. In particular the introduction of new processes, equipment, or substances, or the implications arising from building alterations need to be considered. These local arrangements then become, for that location, part of the University Safety Policy. Section 5.2 of Effective Safety Management contains a model Safety Policy. New recruits to the University should receive relevant health and safety information on induction. The means for providing this are determined by the School or Department etc and might include the completion of a health and safety induction questionnaire .
Health and safety legislation places obligations on employees as well as the employer. The duties on employees include co-operation with the employer, for example by following the relevant safety procedures. Consistent failure to observe the requirements of the University Safety Policy may result in disciplinary action. Heads of School/Department and Hall Managers must make appropriate arrangements to monitor the effectiveness of their local arrangements for controlling hazards and preventing unsafe practices. This must involve a system of regular safety audits and inspections as explained in Section 4.7 of Effective Safety Management, which also gives guidance on how this should be carried out in practice. The period between inspections will depend very largely on the nature of the hazard and the level of risk involved, but the frequency must be stated and adhered to. After carrying out any audit/inspection there should be an evaluation to determine any remedial action necessary, whether in the form of improved facilities, further training of employees or revision of the rules. The remedial action taken must be noted and brought to the attention of those working in the appropriate area. If necessary remedial action has been identified, but the Head of the work area is unable to carry out major work because of lack of resources, the matter should be referred to the Registrar who will arrange for it to be considered through the University’s committee structure. Where University premises are shared with another employer there are reciprocal requirements to liaise and co-operate on health and safety so as to avoid exposing the employees, students and visitors of one organisation to the risks from the others activities. The non-University employer is responsible for controlling the risks to their own staff and visitors from that employer’s activities. It is also obliged to co-operate with the University to enable it to discharge its responsibilities to its own staff, students and visitors.
Whilst the University as the employer will set the framework of safety management the successful implementations of this by way of controlling workplace risks depends upon the commitment of each member, employee and student of the University to the careful consideration and application of the safety measures related to their work. This contribution is essential at all levels of the organisation from policy formulation and planning of work to the actual execution of the tasks. This philosophy is enshrined in a range of health and safety legislation which places statutory responsibilities on employers and employees alike to ensure that the work is carried out safely, so that neither they nor anyone else who could be affected by the work is endangered. There is a similar responsibility in respect of other parties such as contractors and visitors to conduct their work so that employees and students of the University are not placed at risk. Everyone should make it his or her first task to become familiar with any special instructions issued for dealing with emergencies peculiar to the place in which he or she is working. Everyone should get to know the layout of appropriate buildings; emergency and normal exits, location of fire alarms, location of fire fighting appliances and how they work, siting of telephones and first aid arrangements.
Remember, it will be too late to find out very much when an emergency actually happens. If anyone working at the University has a disability that may have implications relating to the arrangements for safety in the general work situation or in an emergency such as a fire, he or she will appreciate that it is to their advantage to make this known. The same applies to anyone on permanent medication to control a medical condition. If you have any queries on safety matters consult the appropriate safety officer.
1.1 University Arrangements
1.2 Safety Committees
1.3 Local Management and Organisational Arrangements
1.4 Role of Individuals
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