Deans of Colleges / Heads of Departments

What you should know and do


As the Dean of College / Head of Department you must take and accept responsibility for health and safety.  Responsibility is ownership; when we own something we tend to look after it.


You must introduce systems and arrangements to ensure no one is put at risk of injury, death or is made ill because of your College's or Department's activities. Remember, if your College or Department has created a risk then you and your College / Department is responsible for controlling that risk. 

You must know what your Colleges / Departments hazards are, know how you are managing the risks from these hazards and be satisfied there is a programme of continuous improvement that will eliminate or reduce to as low a level as possible the likelihood of harm or ill health occurring because of these activities.

This involves:

  • Producing and implementing a College / Department health and safety policy.

  • Introducing arrangements to help implement your policy, including appointing a Safety Coordinator(s).
  • Undertake a College / Departmental overview risk assessment to identify your key hazards (dangers) and produce a hierarchical action plan for controlling risk.  This should also be part of a continual improvement process.
  • Ensure that other basic things are in place. For example, do you (your College / Department):

    • Have a system for periodically testing and inspecting all of your electrical appliances / equipment?
    • Induct all new students, staff and visiting academics on your health and safety risks and controls?
    • Ensure all new staff attend the formal University Induction organised by HR?
    • Risk assess all significant dangers within your College / Department?  Do you have staff that are both competent and confident enough to produce suitable risk assessments?
    • Train your key staff in the more detailed aspects of health and safety, where the risk justifies?
    • Have a system for ensuring all new courses, projects and research activity are assessed for health and safety risk prior to their approval?
    • Have a consultative committee or group that discusses formally health and safety matters?  Do you take note of any recommendations and implement these where practicable?
    • Ensure all computer users have been on a short DSE training course and have then risk assessed their workstations?
    • Have findings of DSE Assessments been actioned?
    • Have a system in place for reporting all staff sickness absence and all accidents and incidents within your College / Department?
    • Do you investigate all accidents and incidents appropriately?
    • Undertake fire evacuation practices at least twice a year, especially during your College's / Department's busy periods?


You must ensure health and safety systems are monitored and audited and that all of your staff and students are suitably trained or received appropriate information on how to avoid dangers that may be present within your College / Department.

Getting Help

Health and Safety Services is there to help and not hinder your College / Department. Health and Safety Services cannot undertake the full health and safety role for your College / Department but the staff of the Department will, and can help you and your colleagues establish good health and safety systems and monitor your safety performance.