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The University of Cambridge is committed to the highest standards of excellence in education and research. This implicitly means accepting responsibility for the health and safety of the staff, students, visitors, and others who may be affected by our activities.
Accordingly the University will take all reasonable steps necessary to provide a healthy and safe environment for work and study. Compliance with all statutory obligations is the minimum standard. It is the duty of every employee to take care of their own health and safety and that of others who could be affected by their acts or omissions. The University policy on Health and Safety can only be effective if there is commitment by all staff, students, visitors, and others at the University.
Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alison Richard
1. The University recognizes that failures in health and safety management can potentially lead to loss of life, personal injury, damage to property, and legal action. Control of risk is a management responsibility inseparable from other aspects of professional management.
2. Corporate responsibility for health and safety rests within the University with the Council and the General Board. The committee structure which gives effect to the implementation of University Health and Safety Policy is shown as Appendix A, whilst certain safety roles are defined in Appendix B.
3. The underlying principle of the Health and Safety Policy is that those who create the risks must manage them.
4. To assist in the task of identifying and controlling risk, persons 'competent to advise' are appointed by the University, in accordance with the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations. These persons may work in any sector of the University.
5. For individual College properties and domus areas, each College has responsibility for the management and application of its own health and safety policies and procedures. Nevertheless, the University and Colleges maintain a regular liaison on those matters of health and safety which have general impact or joint effect on both organizations.
6. Heads of Departments* are responsible within their own domain for implementation of University Health and Safety Policy.
7. Each Head of Department shall prepare a Departmental Safety Policy, which together with this University Statement fulfils the requirement under Section 2 (3) of the Health and Safety at Work Act.
8. Each Head of Department must ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that everyone who may be affected by the activities of the Department is aware of the health and safety arrangements, and has appropriate information, equipment, knowledge, time, training, and supervision** to enable risks to health and safety to be identified and controlled.
9. Each Head of Department must appoint in writing an appropriate member of staff as Departmental Safety Officer. This person monitors the implementation of safety policy and advises the Head on the effectiveness of departmental arrangements. The appointment of this and other persons does not transfer the responsibility for health and safety. If no Departmental Safety Officer is appointed then, by default, the Head has that role.
10. The Head of Department must also appoint a suitably trained Fire Safety Manager and sufficient fire wardens to ensure that procedures and controls are developed for the evacuation of their areas in an emergency.
11. As required by the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations and other regulations, no work shall be undertaken unless suitable and sufficient assessment of risk has been carried out by the appropriate person. This will be the person who supervises any activity, whether this is a field trip, practical task, office work, or teaching.
12. All staff in a supervisory position must be familiar with the University Health and Safety Policy, and recognize that they have in this respect responsibility for those whom they supervise. This means promoting and practising good working standards, ensuring equipment is maintained in a safe condition, ensuring that instructions are in place and being followed, and reporting and investigating accidents in order to identify and implement remedial measures. Where students are involved this person is the teaching officer connected with the teaching of undergraduate studies, or the academic supervisor for postgraduate research and teaching.
13. Private companies embedded within University accommodation must comply with the University Health and Safety policy as a minimum requirement.
14. In accordance with the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations, all occupants of buildings whether University, National Health Service Trust, research organization, or private company must liaise and agree their arrangements for managing health and safety.
As part of the University commitment to improving health and safety standards, this policy is reviewed every two years.
* Head of Department in this instance includes Heads of Academic Departments, Institutions, and Divisions, and is the person who has administrative authority for the implementation of University Health and Safety Policy.
** Supervision means, in this context, the process of overseeing and agreeing the work to be undertaken, whether intellectual or practical.
This information is provided as a PDF file:
This is not intended as a comprehensive list. There are, for instance, specialist safety roles within some Departments.
The University Health and Safety Division provides a central resource of professional safety expertise, and it:
The Director of Health and Safety is responsible for:
The University Fire Safety Manager, Estate Management and Building Service (EMBS), is responsible for:
The University Radiation Protection Adviser is appointed to:
The Head of Department is responsible for:
Departmental Safety Officer duties include:
The Departmental Safety Officer may also fulfil other duties such as making arrangements for the departmental safety committee, but these must be specified by the Head of Department in the letter of appointment.
The Departmental Fire Safety Manager duties include:
Every individual has a duty to:
Individuals or groups from Divisions other than the Health and Safety Division have important roles in ensuring at the University level that all activities can be conducted safely. More detailed guidance is available from the Health and Safety Division. Some of the most important of these are:
The Fire Safety Unit, which is part of EMBS, deals with all issues relating to fire safety.
The Environmental Officer, who is within EMBS, advises on environmental issues, such as trade effluent.
The Occupational Health Service, which forms part of the Personnel Division, deals with all issues relating to work place health.
Personnel Division, who develop and monitor employment-related issues, some of which may include a safety dimension.
EMBS, who are responsible for the development, maintenance, and repair of the University buildings and estates.
Security, who play a front line role in monitoring and acting on all matters of a security nature.
The Insurance Manager within the Finance Division, who liaises directly with the University insurers in response to accident and injury claims and risk management issues.
Risk Management: the University publishes a Risk Management Policy as part of its internal controls and governance arrangements. The Risk Co-ordinator is located within the Secretariat and is responsible for the administrative arrangements for risk management.
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Cambridge University Reporter 4 October 2006
Copyright © 2011 The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge.