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The University of Dundee Health and Safety Policy

Policy Statement

As the governing body of the University of Dundee, the University Court accepts its 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 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 ensure 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 takes all reasonable steps to ensure that all staff 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 and rewards all staff in pursuit of this goal. 

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.  The Health and Safety Policy will be kept under annual review through the Human Resources Committee.

This Health and Safety Policy Statement was approved by University Court on 29th September 2015.

Professor Pete Downes Eric Sanderson
Principal Court Chairperson





‌Policy Organisation

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 outlined in Appendix 1: this outlines the way health and safety are managed within the University of Dundee, and the inter-relationship between line management, committees and professional services.


Within the line management hierarchy health and safety tasks can be delegated, but the responsibility for ensuring these are properly undertaken remains with the delegating manager.  Ultimate responsibility for implementation of this policy and of legal compliance resides with the University Court.

The University Court is responsible for setting performance targets and monitoring performance against these targets.

On behalf of the Court 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 are responsible for achieving performance targets set by Court and monitoring performance for areas under their jurisdiction. 

Deans and Directors are responsible for resourcing current and future health and safety needs of their School/Service, and taking action in response to audits, inspections and incidents.

School Managers/Directors are responsible for ensuring staff and students comply with H&S arrangements documented by the H&S Adviser.

Principal Investigators, lecturing staff, team leaders and others with direct supervisory responsibility for staff or students must ensure the safe conduct of activities within their areas of control, and draw to their line managers attention health and safety matters requiring action which they are unable to fulfil themselves.  They will complete specific risk assessments for activities under their control when they assess generic risk assessments as not being suitable and sufficient.

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 and follow the rules and guidance from their managers.  They must report any health and safety concerns, including specific concerns about their health arising from work activities, to their line manager, supervisor or H&S Adviser.  This includes deficiencies in safety standards or equipment.

All students must behave responsibly at all times, and comply with rules issued by teaching staff.  They must report any concerns they have to teaching or supervisory staff.

Committee Structure

The Committee structure shown in Appendix 2 has been set up to oversee effective management of H&S.

In outline, the key committee is the Human Resources Committee which approves the H&S Policy (management framework) and monitors performance.  It receives reports from the University Health, Safety and Welfare Committee and Head of Safety Services.

Professional Support Structure

The Head of Safety Services and his team formulate plans for approval by the University Executive Group to manage significant risks and meet targets set by Court.  Together with H&S Advisers they provide competent advice to School Managers/Directors so they manage risks effectively within their Schools/Professional Services.  

The H&S Working Group chaired by Head of Safety Services formulate arrangements, develop risk assessment database systems, document generic risk assessments and procedures, arrange training, and monitor performance.

School Managers/Directors appoint competent H&S Advisers and Radiation Protection Supervisors.  They liaise closely with Safety Services to deliver a consistent standard across the University.

The H&S Adviser with support from Safety Services will draft specific plans and arrangements, document generic risk assessments, deliver specific training, monitor performance and communicate H&S information to staff and students.

Policy Arrangements


The HR Director as a member of the University Executive Group will ensure a H&S risk assessment is carried out as an integral part of the decision making process for new strategic initiatives.

Head of Safety Services will draft a plan for approval by the University Executive Group which will be reviewed and updated annually.  This plan will inform School/Professional Service H&S plans which will be drafted by H&S Advisers for approval by School Managers/Directors.


Risk Assessments

Generic risk assessments for routine activities undertaken in Schools/Professional Services are written by H&S Advisers.  Specific risk assessments are completed by Principal Investigators, lecturing staff, team leaders and supervisors when these generic risk assessments are not suitable and sufficient.  These specific risk assessments are approved by H&S Advisers and School Managers or referred to Safety Services for approval.  Safety Services will refer risk assessments where the residual risk remains high to a member of the University Executive Group for approval.

Safety Services are developing an on-line risk assessment database system. 


Induction training

On their first day at work line managers and supervisors must brief new staff and research post graduate students (or at least make arrangements so this is done) on:

All new staff and post graduate students will complete the on-line H&S training course developed by the H&S Working Group within two weeks of starting work.  Completion will be monitored by Safety Services.



Refresher on-line training on essential H&S 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.  Completion will be monitored by Safety Services.

Risk assessment workshops and H&S training courses will be organized and recorded by OP&D, and delivered by Safety Services.

Specific H&S training will be delivered to staff and students and recorded by H&S Advisers and Safety Services.

Task specific training will be organized and recorded by line managers and supervisors.



H&S Advisers with support from University H&S Technician will inspect high risk workplaces six monthly and medium risk workplaces annually.  They will be joined by Safety Services staff for very high risk workplaces such as Containment Level 3 laboratories, Class 4 laser facilities and Controlled Areas.

Inspections will be recorded on a database which will be managed by Safety Services.

Incident reporting

All staff and post-graduate students must report incidents using the form.  Paper copies are available for staff who do not have access to a pc.

Serious incidents must be reported immediately by telephone to Safety Services (x84104).

Staff and students working in Clinical Areas under the jurisdiction of the NHS should report incidents using the NHS incident reporting system.


Incident investigation

H&S Advisers will investigate incidents in sufficient detail so that the cause can be identified allowing corrective actions to be implemented. Serious incidents will be investigated by Safety Services, and may be investigated by the Police, Health and Safety Executive, Fire & Rescue Service and the University insurers.  Full co-operation by staff is expected in any investigation.

Safety Services will report incidents to HSE as required by RIDDOR.


Emergency procedures

First Aid

At the City Campus a number of the Security Staff are trained in first aid, and can respond 24/7 within minutes.
At the Medical School an appropriate number of staff are trained in First Aid.

At Kirkcaldy Campus an appropriate number of staff are trained in First Aid.

School Mangers should appoint competent staff to provide immediate first aid for high risk activities ( eg  working in Workshops and Laboratories, and some field work activities such as mountaineering). 

First aid training will be provided by the OH Service upon completion of the first aid risk assessment form.  Supplies will be provided to first aiders by OH Service.

H&S Advisers will ensure first aid notices are up to date.

Other foreseeable emergencies

The Health and Safety Working Group will document plans for foreseeable emergencies such as gas leak, large chemical spills and terrorist threat.



Staff should follow local arrangements in buildings not owned or controlled by the University for example (Medical and Dental Schools, Kirkcaldy Campus , VRC etc..) - see School H&S Manual for information.

In buildings owned or controlled by the University:

Staff in control of areas should ensure that their workplace is safe from fire hazards and that the means of escape and fire evacuation procedures are in place in relation to their induction and refresher fire training, refer

In addition, inspection of means of escape will be carried out monthly by University H&S Technician and a Quarterly fire awareness checklist should be completed by the buildings Fire Wardens and submitted to the schools H&S Adviser who will follow through actions to completion.

Fire drills will be organized by the schools H&S Advisers with support from University H&S Technician and carried out and outcomes recorded at least annually.

Fire alarms will be tested weekly by the school H&S Advisers with support from University H&S Technician or by Campus Security (City Campus) and records of all the above should be recorded in the Building Fire Log Book.  This can be an electronic record.

Fire extinguisher training will be delivered by Safety Services.  Key staff groups such as Campus Security Officers and laboratory and workshop managers will be trained annually.

Personal emergency evacuation plans, for those with disabilities, will be completed by the universities Disability Services and H&S Advisers with input from University Fire Safety Adviser.

Fire alarm activations will be investigated by H&S Advisers with oversight by the University Fire Safety Adviser.

Fire risk assessments will be reviewed on a three yearly basis by the University Fire Safety Adviser.  Risk assessments for new or altered buildings will be carried out as soon as practically possible of occupation or major alteration.

Between 9am and 5pm, Mon to Fri School Managers/Directors are responsible for putting in place and implementing evacuation procedures.  In making these procedures they will receive support from at least 2 Campus Security Officers.  Outside of these hours Director Campus Services is responsible for putting in place and implementing evacuation procedures with the exception of ISE where CSO’s continue to provide support.

University E&B are responsible for maintaining and inspecting buildings Fire Protection measures including any fixed installations, fire alarm systems, fire safety measures (eg fire doors), signage and emergency lighting systems.

An audit of these arrangements will be carried out annually by the University Fire Safety Adviser.


Lone working in University owned or managed buildings

No additional measures are required for very low risk work such as working in an office out of hours.

H&S Advisers will document procedures for staff meeting people in one to one situations where there is a foreseeable risk of injury.  These meetings should not take place out of hours unless robust arrangements are in place so that a colleague can respond immediately to threats.

Undergraduate students must be supervised at all times when working in laboratories.

Post graduate students must be supervised when working in laboratories until their supervisor deems them competent to work alone.

Specific risk assessments must be carried out for laboratory activities when measures documented in the H&S laboratory handbook are not suitable and sufficient.  These specific risk assessments must consider the additional risks from lone working.

Staff and students must not work in workshops alone.



Fieldwork is any work carried out by staff or students for the purposes of teaching, research or other activities while representing the University off-site.  Therefore, it includes any work carried out by staff and students in buildings or locations that are not owned or managed by the University, and where the University is responsible for their health and safety, and others affected by their activities  eg attending conferences and meetings; recruitment activities; teaching activities such as surveys and sample collection; and research activities such as working in a collaborator’s laboratory.

For low risk work in a reputable organisation (eg attending a meeting or conference) staff and research post graduate students should lodge the following details with their School/Support Service: date, destination and purpose of trip, their contact details, and contact details of host organisation. 

For higher risk work (eg taking students on an excursion, interviewing members of the public, working in remote locations, lone working) staff and research post graduate students must complete a specific risk assessment. 

Staff should review the risk assessment on their return from fieldwork, and should report to the School Manager any significant health and safety issues which arose with recommendations for avoiding these in the future.

Staff taking students on fieldwork should brief the students fully on the findings of the risk assessment and emergency arrangements as well as the standard of behaviour expected of them.  They should make it clear that unacceptable behaviour will not be tolerated and will result in disciplinary action.  During this briefing students should be encouraged to report any health or other concerns they have about their ability to complete the fieldwork, or their understanding of the findings of the risk assessment.

Students should attend all briefings prior to the activity, and inform staff of any medical condition or circumstances which may affect their ability to undertake the activity.  They should follow all instructions and training given by staff.   They should stay with the party at all times except by prior arrangement and observe reporting in procedures.  They should report any personal injury or illness arising during the activity.

Incidents or ill health occurring during a fieldwork activity should be reported on line at


Work equipment

Procurement must ensure that at the time of purchase all work equipment is fit for purpose, and complies with Section 6 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and subsidiary Regulations see

If the equipment is not purchased through Procurement ( ie not using PECOS) then the purchaser must ensure it complies with Section 6 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and subsidiary Regulations by having it checked by a competent person.  Contact Safety Services for advice.

The budget holder for the equipment must ensure it is inspected and maintained as detailed by the manufacturer.

Line managers and supervisors should provide appropriate training, information and instruction to staff and students, and ensure work equipment is used correctly through adequate supervision.

Staff and students must use work equipment according to instructions and training, and must report defects in work equipment to their line manager or supervisor.

School Managers and Directors must keep an inventory of equipment, and ensure inspection and maintenance logs are kept up to date.
Workshop managers must complete specific risk assessments using the on-line risk assessment database systems for workshop machinery.



All electrical work will be carried out on dead systems with adequate precautions taken to ensure that the system cannot become live, except when the following conditions have all been fulfilled:

1.  it is unreasonable for the work to be done dead, and

2.  the risks of working on or near live conductors have been identified, assessed and the methods for controlling those risks have been identified, and

3.  it is reasonable to work live, and

4.  suitable precautions can be taken to prevent injury.

Anyone, employee or contractor, who works on electrical appliances must be competent to carry out that work safely and be authorised by their School Manager.

Staff and students must not interfere with or attempt to repair or adjust any electrical appliance unless they are competent and authorised to do so.

School Managers and Directors must keep an inventory of electrical appliances and ensure it is being inspected, tested and maintained as documented by H&S Advisers.

Staff must not bring electrical appliances into work other than IT equipment or mobile phones

Staff and students should switch off electrical appliances when they are not in use (eg switch off office equipment and lights when they leave).


Children visiting University premises
School Managers providing work experience placements, open days or other organised events must appoint an Organiser who will liaise with all parties. The Organiser will plan these events thoroughly and complete a risk assessment before children arrive on site. This will include:

  1. obtaining information from carers/teachers/parents about the abilities and needs of all the children;
  2. designing activities appropriate to these needs and abilities;
  3. providing information to teachers/parents/careers about the event (eg risk assessment) and any requirements (eg clothing and footwear);
  4. ensuring a consent form has been completed; having procedures for a formal hand-over in place (ie signing in/out, taking a register and regular head counts);
  5. providing adequate levels of supervision so that at least two members of staff are present with children at all times; instructing the children on what is expected of them, who to contact for assistance and what to do in an emergency.
  6. ensuring that staff in charge of children have been subject to a Disclosure Scotland check (contact Human Resources for guidance),

Staff or students may bring their children into University premises only for very short occasional visits to their workplace provided that they have notified their line manager of their intentions.  They must provide strict and close supervision at all times.  Children are allowed into low risk areas such as offices and tea-rooms.  They are not allowed in high risk areas such as laboratories or workshops.  The manager responsible for the area will insist that the parent and child leave the area if they consider that the child could be exposed to unacceptable risks, or if the child could cause an unacceptable level of disruption to other staff or students.  Staff should bring non-compliance with this policy to the parent’s attention in the first instance if possible, or if not to the manager of the area, and persistent non-compliance should be reported to their School Manger who will take suitable action to resolve the situation.

Visitors should be asked not to bring children but if alternative arrangements cannot be made then children must be supervised at all times during the visit, and be restricted to low risk areas eg offices and tea-rooms.


Home working

The normal work arrangement at the University of Dundee is that a member of staff undertakes the duties associated with their role on University premises. IT is recognised, however, that on occasion it may have been agreed with the line manager, that a member of staff may work from home undertaking office based activities for a specific reason or purpose. All other higher risk work activities must be carried out on University premised. The University recognised that the additional risks arising from staff undertaking office based activities in their home environment are very low and can be addressed by the staff member following their induction H&S training. The University acknowledges that the staff member themselves are competent to do this.

Staff working from home should provide up to date contact details to their line manager when working from home so they can be contacted during the working day.  The line manager will respond appropriately to concerns raised by any staff working from home and will report and investigate any concerns or incidents.


Occupational Health

The main aims of the service are to:

  1. provide advice and support relating to any adverse effects of work on health or health on work

  2. support managers in their responsibility for maintaining the health, safety and welfare of staff

  3. ensure that University achieves best practice in the management of occupational health risks.

     4. reduce ill-health absence and the incidence of work-related ill health in line with national target


The Occupational Health Service offers an accessible but confidential service to all employees and will be impartial in its advice to achieve the best interests of both employees and the University.

The Occupational Health Service will assess and help manage the risks posed to the University and its staff through factors which may cause or exacerbate ill health. 

Employees may be referred to Occupational Health Service by Human Resources, their manager, Safety Services, H&S Adviser or they may self refer.

Employees should contact their own general practitioners about treatment and general health matters since Occupational Health is resourced to provide a service for work-related issues.


Health Surveillance

University of Dundee recognised that some staff and post-graduate students are at risk of developing ill health given the nature of their work. This risk is very low since the University implements all reasonable measures to prevent ill health. However, in some work situation it is recognised that health surveillance plays an essential role in risk management through the early detection of symptoms. In other work situations it is difficult to assess the magnitude of remaining risk precisely and so for this reason health surveillance is undertaken whenever there is a non-invasive and valid technique to detect the onset and progression of symptoms, and it satisfies ethical considerations. In both situations the University's aim is to protect the health of staff and post-graduate students

Head of Safety Services with advice from the Occupational Health Service will develop a health surveillance program for staff and post-graduate students.   This program details the surveillance scheme for respiratory, skin, hearing and vibration injuries.  There is no suitable surveillance for back injuries- a common injury in the University.

The Occupational Health Service will organise suitable health surveillance.  Usually, this will involve a consultation with a Nurse as well as a completion of a questionnaire.  During the consultation the Nurse will inform staff and post-graduate students of relevant symptoms, and will remind staff and students to report symptoms immediately.  Staff and students will be given an opportunity to discuss any concerns they hold.


Pregnant and new mothers

Information about maternity leave and pay issues can be found on the Human Resources web pages.

Employees should notify their line manager at their earliest convenience that they are pregnant so that the risk assessment for their work can be reviewed.  This assessment addresses all the risks faced by staff irrespective of their gender or age and so it is extremely unlikely that working procedures will have to be modified in the early stages of pregnancy.

Employees should read the health and safety information provided as part of their induction pack when they appointed.

Line Managers should review the risk assessment, and as part of this review should consider the additional risks arising from pregnancy and breast feeding.  A risk assessment form is available at  The risk assessment must be kept under active review throughout the pregnancy and upon return to work if breast feeding.  It is essential that the risk assessment is discussed fully with the employee, and reasons for not changing duties upon request fully explained.  Mental well-being issues should be given priority to prevent anxiety, and possibly a stress related illness leading to absence. The Occupational Health Service or Safety Services can be contacted for advice if there are unusual or difficult issues to address.

In some cases suitable and sufficient may mean that minor changes in working procedures are inadequate to reduce risk and that the employee should be offered alternative work, or suspended on full pay.  Human Resources should be contacted for advice in these cases.


Public Events

Contact the University Events Manager

The Event Organiser will plan these events rigorously and complete a risk assessment before the event.  This will ensure:

  1. the venue is suitable for the event and the number of people attending

  2. competent contractors are appointed

  3. emergency arrangements are in place

  4. security arrangements are in place

  5. licenses are in place and adhered to

  6. contingency plans are in place

  7. effective communication and liaison with all parties

  8. review of event carried out


If the event is held within a University building or grounds then the Event Organiser must liaise with Campus Services to ensure emergency, traffic management, security and cleaning arrangements are in place.

If the event is held at NHS Tayside buildings or grounds then the Event Organiser must liaise with Director of Operations, to ensure emergency, security, traffic management and cleaning arrangements are in place.

The Event Organiser must review the event with their Dean/Director. This review will take place after the event unless the Event Organiser has any concerns before the event which they need to bring to the attention of their Dean/Director.

For high profile events (e.g. VIP attending, more than 100 people attending) then the Head of Safety Services and Security Manager must be involved in the planning and risk assessment process.


Travelling on University work within the UK

Staff should use public transport whenever possible

Car or other vehicle journeys of less than 150 miles do not require a specific risk assessment:  

Drivers must complete a specific risk assessment for car or other vehicle journeys of greater than 150 miles that considers issues such as duration of travel, time of day, likely weather conditions and type of vehicle. 

Drivers must complete a specific risk assessment for mini-bus journeys that include consideration of a driver’s maturity and driving experience, and passenger feedback. 

School Managers and Directors must ensure that staff authorised by them to drive vehicles owned by, or leased or hired to the University in the course of their employment at work are Registered as University Drivers through completion of a Drivers Declaration and that they comply with insurance requirements issued by Finance Manager (Assets and Insurance). 

Staff must ensure that they have a valid driving license for the vehicle being driven.  If they are using their private vehicle for work purposes it must have a MOT certificate if required and they must have an insurance policy that includes business use.  They should observe the Highway Code at all times, and should show consideration to their passengers and other road users.

Staff must inform their line manager immediately if they are unable to drive (eg medical condition or loss of license).  If they think their eyesight is deteriorating they should consult an optician immediately.  If staff have any concerns about driving a vehicle (eg mini-bus or large van) or have any concerns about their fitness to drive then they should notify their line manager. In some cases, it may be appropriate to contact the University Occupational Health Service for advice.

Staff must report accidents that occur when travelling for work purposes using the on-line incident reporting system.  In addition, accidents involving University owned, leased or hired vehicles must be reported to Finance Manager (Assets and Insurance).



Staff who are hosting or responsible for visitors must inform them at an early stage of the emergency arrangements that apply in parts of the University that they are visiting

These include:

They should supervise their visitors according to their needs, and should know their whereabouts at all times during the visit.

Where visitors are carrying out an activity under the control of the University then the host must risk assess any activities in which they are involved and take appropriate actions to ensure that sufficient information is given for their safe participation.


Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Line managers/supervisors must explain to their staff and students why PPE has to be worn, and must show them how to use, inspect, clean and store it, or arrange for a competent person to do so.

Staff and research post-graduates must use, inspect, clean and store their PPE as instructed by their line manager/supervisor, and should raise any concerns with their School H&S Adviser. 

Students and visitors may be required to provide themselves with suitable PPE before being allowed to take part in certain activities under the University’s control, and will be advised of suitable types of PPE to obtain. For example, students may be advised to provide their own laboratory coats, waterproof outer clothing and sturdy footwear for field trips. In rare circumstances where the PPE required for students or visitors is of a specialised nature needing technical approval by the University for a particular activity, that will be provided by the University together with training in its appropriate use.



The University of Dundee is a place of study, research and other work activities.  Therefore, bringing pets into buildings, or securing them within the Gardens and Grounds (eg tying to a railing) is prohibited since pets bring risks of biting, scratching, mauling and crush injuries; of allergies; and infection from body fluids and wastes. 

This does not apply to assistance dogs or to animals used in an organized event.


Office Activities

Staff should keep their office clean and tidy, and should not store items on the floor.  Floors and walkaways should be kept clear of trip and slip hazards at all times.  Cables should be routed safely, and spills cleaned up.

Step ladders or step stools should be used to reach items stored at high level.  Only light items should be stored at high level.  Shelves should not be over-loaded.

All staff using a pc must complete their self-assessment workstation risk assessment before, or as soon as practicable after, starting work.  They should discuss the workstation risk assessment with their line manager, and report any concerns about their workstation to their School H&S Adviser.

School H&S advisers should identify “Users” and ensure a workstation risk assessment is completed.  They should inform the “User” they are entitled to a free eye and eyesight test and explain the arrangements if the “User” elects to have one.

The University will provide single vision corrective glasses in a limited range of frames for DSE “Users” where the prescription is needed solely due to the use of DSE, or a contribution equal to the cost of a such single vision glasses towards suitable glasses of the employees choice. The University will not pay any contribution towards glasses in retrospect or where these procedures have not been followed.


Specific arrangements

Specific arrangements are documented by H&S Advisers in School/Professional Service H&S Manual.  Staff and students must comply with these arrangements.


Student work placements

Existing arrangements should be followed until policy aligned with One Dundee agenda is approved.


Travelling and working overseas

Existing arrangements should be followed until policy aligned with One Dundee agenda is approved.



Existing arrangements should be followed until policy aligned with One Dundee agenda is approved.


Campus Services specific policy

Existing arrangements should be followed.  Policy review being undertaken.