The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 places a general duty on all employers to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of all their employees whilst at work.  This includes the provision of safe means of access and egress to that place of work which is without risks to the health or safety of employees or others who may use, or visit that place.  The detailed requirements relating the safe condition of workplaces are contained in “The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992” which require employers to maintain the workplace and equipment in an efficient state, good working order and in good repair (whether a permanent fixture or temporary).

Within the University of Glasgow, Estates and Buildings is responsible for the ongoing maintenance and servicing of University buildings (and land) which includes the utilities and services within them (with the exception of management unit owned services such as piped medical gases etc).  Cleaning Services is responsible for the daily cleaning of University buildings (with some exceptions e.g. residences).

Heads of Management Units however, are responsible for the way in which the Unit operates within that building and how it uses the building as well as a general duty to look after the building.  Heads of Management Units are expected to operate safely within the building, assess all appropriate risks and implement control measures where possible.  Where issues are determined to be the responsibility of Estates and Buildings (or where possibly a dual responsibility exits), Estates and Buildings personnel should be contacted with a view to addressing the issue so that no one is placed at risk to their health or safety. 

Management Units are reminded that no attempt should be made to interfere with, or carry out any repairs to, the fabric of University buildings without first contacting Estates and Buildings as this type of work carries a risk of damage to asbestos containing materials or other building services.  

Further guidance is contained in SEPS Guidance Note: “Workplaces”, which is available on the SEPS website.