The University of Dundee Health and Safety Policy

Updated on 31 January 2024

How the University of Dundee complies with its legal and moral obligations relating to the health and safety of its staff, students and any other person who may be affected by its undertakings.

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1.2 Purpose

To state how the University of Dundee complies with its legal and moral obligations relating to the health and safety of its staff, students and any other person who may be affected by its undertakings.

1.2 Objectives

To ensure that all staff, students and other persons are aware of the moral and legal obligations that the University of Dundee has in regard to their health and safety and how it will discharge these responsibilities to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the University is a safe and healthy place of work and study. Also to ensure that staff, students and others understand their own moral and legal obligations in regard to their own health and safety and that of others who may be affected by their own acts or omissions.

2. Policy Statement

As the governing body of the University of Dundee, the University Court accepts its legal and moral responsibility for the health, safety and welfare of staff, students and others affected by the University's activities. To discharge this responsibility, Court provides leadership and support to sustain the importance of health, safety and welfare as part of the University’s programme of effective governance and risk control. The University is committed to following best practice in relation to corporate governance and risk control and seeks to implement sector guidance such as the Scottish Code of Good Higher Education Governance (2017 edition) and Leadership and Management of Health and Safety in Higher Education Establishments (2023).

The University Court has adopted this policy to promote excellence in the health and safety performance of the University's activities of teaching, research and associated undertakings. The University will work proactively to seek compliance with all health and safety legal requirements. The University aims to effect continual improvements in the health, safety and welfare of staff, students and other people affected by the University's activities.

The University Court, through transparent delegation of duties, takes all reasonable steps to ensure that all staff, students and other persons under its control are competent and accept their health and safety responsibilities. The Court requires all staff and students to co-operate in achieving a high standard of health and safety performance and encourages all staff and students in pursuit of this goal, recognising and rewarding achievements.

The University Court will ensure that it is kept informed of health and safety risk management issues and that overall health and safety performance is reviewed regularly by external auditors. It will monitor progress against key performance indicators on a regular basis. This Policy will be kept under annual review through the People & Organisational Development Committee.

This Health and Safety Policy Statement was approved by University Court on October 27th 2022.

Professor Iain Gillespie (Principal)
Amanda Millar (Court Chairperson)

2.1 Policy Organisation

The University Court has adopted this Health and Safety Policy Organisation to implement the policy statement above and to ensure effective management of health and safety issues. The organisation of health and safety is shown in Appendix 1, which outlines the way health and safety are managed within the University of Dundee and the inter-relationship between line management, committees and professional services.

2.2. Implementation and Responsibilities

2.2.1 Court

Ultimate responsibility for implementation of this policy and of legal compliance resides with the University Court. Court exercises its responsibility through the work of the Audit Committee and the People & Organisational Development Committee, which oversee the implementation of policy, review performance and undertake reviews or commission internal audits as necessary to provide reassurance to Court.

2.2.2 Senior Management

As lead executive, the Principal takes overall responsibility for the University’s health and safety management and as such represents the corporate body of the University in compliance with health and safety legislation. The Principal has delegated implementation of the Health and Safety Policy to Deans and Directors and has nominated the University Secretary as the senior manager who holds specific responsibility for the management of health and safety.

Members of the University Executive Group play a key role in ensuring implementation of policy and Court, through its committees, will assess the performance of UEG in this regard.

2.2.3 Schools/Directorates

Deans and Directors are responsible for resourcing current and future health and safety needs of their School/Directorate and acting on audits, inspections and incidents. School Managers/Directors are responsible for ensuring that staff and students comply with health and safety arrangements.

Principal Investigators, academic staff, team leaders and others with direct supervisory responsibility for staff and/or students must ensure the safe conduct of activities within their areas of control and alert their line manager to any health and safety matters which they are unable to action themselves..

All staff and research post-graduate students are required to conduct themselves at all times so as not to endanger their health and safety or that of any other person who may be affected by their acts or omissions. They must comply with all relevant health and safety requirements. They must report any health and safety concerns, including specific concerns about their health arising from work activities, to their line manager, supervisor

All under-graduate and taught post-graduate students must behave responsibly at all times and comply with rules issued by teaching staff. They must report any health and safety concerns they have to teaching or supervisory staff.

2.3 Monitoring Implementation of the Policy

Each School contains at least one full or part time health and safety adviser who, with the local Health and Safety Committee, plays a key role in monitoring the effective implementation of the policy at School level and below. Monitoring includes ensuring that inspections are undertaken at the required frequency to verify that all significant hazards are identified and controlled.

Monitoring also ensures that any deficiencies in health and safety performance are identified and that remedial action is recommended and pursued. To facilitate this, each School is required to return an annual Health and Safety Report to the Head of Safety Services, who uses this to inform the People & Organisational Development Committee of performance levels across the University.

2.4 Auditing Compliance with the Policy

Auditing the policies, systems and arrangements put in place by the University to achieve and sustain high standards of health and safety performance verifies that the management procedures and operational practices are successful in meeting the appropriate performance standards.

The University employs the services of independent auditing consultants to perform regular audits of the policies and procedures that are in place throughout the University. Reports to the Audit Committee allow progress to be determined in relation to areas for improvement that may be identified by such audits, with resources allocated as necessary to achieve compliance.

2.5 Professional Support Structure

The health and safety professionals within Safety Services formulate plans for approval by the University Executive Group to manage significant risks, meet the expectations of Court committees and strive for continual improvement of performance. Together with School/Directorate health and safety advisers, they provide competent advice to Deans/Directors to allow them to manage risks effectively within their Schools/Professional Services Directorates.

The Health and Safety Working Group, chaired by Head of Safety Services, formulate arrangements, develop technical systems, document generic risk assessments and procedures, arrange training and monitor performance.

Deans/Directors appoint competent health and safety advisers and other specialist duty holders as needed. They liaise closely with Safety Services to deliver a consistent standard across the University.

School/Directorate health and safety advisers, with support from Safety Services, will draft specific plans and arrangements, document generic risk assessments, deliver specific training, monitor performance and communicate information to staff and students within their School/Directorate.

The University recognises the legal requirements to consult with trade union appointed safety representatives and appreciates the benefits that these representatives bring to the organisation. Trade union appointed safety representatives are a key element of the advisory and committee structures, whilst also being free to undertake in full in their statutory rights as laid down in legislation.

2.6 Training

Appropriate training of staff and students is an essential element of good health and safety management. The University will provide a range of training opportunities for staff and students, including some mandatory training.

New start mandatory training is provided by Safety Services for all staff and research postgraduate students. This online training forms part of the induction process for these people.

Refresher on-line training on essential health and safety arrangements will be completed by all staff and post graduate students annually. The refresher training course will be developed by the Health and Safety Working Group and implemented by Safety Services.

Completion of all mandatory training will be monitored by Safety Services and non-compliance escalated via the management system, with the ultimate sanction being termination of employment/studies.

Risk assessment workshops and general health and safety training courses will be organised and recorded by Talent and Development Team and delivered by Safety Services.

Specific health and safety training will be delivered to staff and students and recorded jointly by School/Directorate health and safety advisers and Safety Services. Task specific (“on the job”) training will be organised and recorded by line managers and supervisors.

2.7 Learning from Incidents

It is imperative that lessons are learned from incidents (whether these lead to harm or are “near misses”). Significant incidents (whether significant individually or due to a trend occurring) will be reported immediately to all safety advisers and also discussed at monthly safety adviser meetings and at regular meetings with School management. They will also be discussed at the University Health, Safety and Welfare Committee and at School Health and Safety Committees. Where necessary, changes to policy, procedures, training or other systems will be made to bring about organisational change to reduce the likelihood of recurrence.

3 Further information

3.1 Committee Structure

The Committee structure shown in Appendix 2 has been set up to oversee effective management of health and safety. In outline, the key committee is the People & Organisational Development Committee, which approves Policies and monitors performance. It receives reports from the University Health, Safety and Welfare Committee and Head of Safety Services.

3.2 Related Policies, Procedures, Guidelines and Local Protocols

3.2.1 Policies

This policy statement is supported by a range of policy documents that provide detail in relation to specific aspects of health and safety management. All policies are subject to consultation with key stakeholders, then approval through the Health, Safety and Welfare Committee and, subsequently, the People and Organisational Development Committee. Policies will be reviewed whenever there is a change to legislation or if new information comes to light (for example accident/incident data, health surveillance data, exposure limits) that affects a policy. Otherwise, all policies will be kept under regular review. Appendix 3 lists the supporting policies, all of which are available via University of Dundee – Safety Services Policies

3.2.2 Handbooks

The following handbooks provide information to staff and students that supports the policies of the University. All handbooks are available via University of Dundee - Safety Services Handbooks

  • Clinical/Biological Waste
  • Ergonomics and Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)
  • Fieldwork
  • Good Laboratory Practice
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Events management
  • Reporting and Investigating Incidents
  • Safe Use of Microbiological Safety Cabinets
  • Safe Working with Display Screen Equipment
  • Staff Health and Safety
  • Staff Quick Health and Safety Guide
  • Storage and Handling of Cryogenic Materials Guidance
  • Student Health and Safety
  • Switch off Stress
  • Travel
  • Working Safely at Height
  • Working Safely with Genetically Modified Organisms within a Research Facility
  • Working Safely with Human Blood, Tissues and other Specimens in Research Laboratories
  • Working Safely with Micro-organisms
  • Management of Solid Radioactive Waste
  • Safe Handling of Radioactive Materials
  • Protection Against Ionising Radiation
  • Uranium and Thorium Safety Management

3.3 Definitions & Abbreviations

COSHH: Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations
RSI: Repetitive Strain Injury

4 Document Information

4.1 Equality Impact Assessment

This policy has been assessed for equality impact and no adverse consequences identified. Indeed, the policy aims to be supportive of people with relevant protected characteristics. The full equality impact assessment can be downloaded from Sharepoint.

Document information

Document name University of Dundee Health and Safety Policy
Status Approved
Policy number 48/2010
Responsible officer/department/school Safety Services
Policy owner People & Organisational Development Committee
Date last approved 25 Jan 2024
Due for review 25 Jan 2025
Authorised and approved for publication Yes
Date authorised for publication 25 Jan 2024
Information classification: public/internal Public
Location in repository POD (the folder on OneDrive)
Approval route and history HSW Committee, P&OD Committee, Court


Corporate information category Health and safety