Summary of legal responsibilities
The main responsibility for ensuring the health and safety of workers and for reducing risks to others affected by work activities (including members of the public) rests on employers (Sections 2 and 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974).
Those general duties placed on the University, through the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, are expanded further by the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations. These Regulations include the requirement for employers, the University and it's Colleges and Departments, to:
- Assess the work-related risks faced by employees, and by people not in their employment (students, visitors, contractors).
- Have effective arrangements in place for planning, organising, controlling, monitoring and reviewing preventive and protective measures.
- Appoint competent persons to help in undertaking the measures needed to comply with health and safety law.
- Provide employees with comprehensible and relevant information on the risks they face and the preventive and protective measures that control those risks.
Where a body corporate (the University) commits a health and safety criminal offence, and the offence was committed with the consent or connivance of, or was attributable to any neglect on the part of, any director, manager, secretary or other similar officer of the body corporate, then that person (as well as the body corporate) is liable to be proceeded against and punished (Section 37, Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974).
The Vice-Chancellor is considered as the most senior manager of the University and will therefore have a significant legal obligation to implement legislation and appropriate health and safety controls at the University.
The Vice-Chancellor, as Chief Executive Officer of the University, has overall responsibility (to the University Council) for the promotion, administration and implementation of the University's Health and Safety Policy. The Vice-Chancellor is assisted by the Executive and the Health & Safety Task Group.
Deans of Colleges / Directors of Professional Services
Deans of Colleges / Directors of Professional Services are considered as senior managers of the University and therefore have legal obligations to implement legislation within your College and Department.
You, as a Head of College / Department must prepare, and make sure your staff know about, your College's / Services' health and safety policy and have arrangements in place to put this policy into effect. Your health and safety policy document is a supplement to, and complements, the University's Health and Safety Policy.
All Staff, Students and others
Each member of staff has a legal duty (under Section 7 of the 1974 Act) to cooperate with his / her employer in all matters pertaining to health and safety and to report health and safety concerns. Similarly, students, contractors and members of the public also have a legal duty (under Section 8 of the 1974 Act) not to put others at risk and not to interfere with anything provided in the interests of health and safety.
- "Universities and colleges were accused of neglecting the safety of their staff and students after a series of breaches of health and safety laws"
- Duties of Directors (HSE)
- Successful health and safety management (HSG 65)
- An Introduction to health and safety (HSE)
- The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations