Introduction

The aim of these pages is to provide an introduction to health and safety management in the University of Glasgow.

It is sometimes said that safety is just “commonsense”.  Whilst it is certainly true that commonsense is a valuable asset in this respect, within a large organisation with many complex hazards and risks, it is clearly insufficient to rely only on the natural wit of individuals.  Systems and procedures have to be established to identify the dangers that exist, how people may suffer harm from these and what needs to be done to prevent such harm from occurring.

Within these pages the term ‘health and safety’ is used to encompass the health and safety of our staff and students, of the public and visitors who may be affected by our activities and also of the environment, both natural and built.

The structure of the University includes a variety of organisational units.  These include Colleges, Schools, and Research Institutes as well as University Services and its component parts. Within this document the term “management unit” is used to cover all of these organisational structures.

Similarly, those who lead management units within the University have a variety of titles. The term “Head of Unit” has been used to refer to those in such positions.  This term should be taken to include Heads of College, Heads of School, Directors of Research Institutes and those who lead units within University Services.

The guidance in this document is primarily aimed at School and Research Institute/University Service level.  However, where risks are common across Schools, it may be more appropriate to apply the suggested framework at College level.  Conversely, where larger management units consist of identifiable and functionally independent sub-units with unique risks, it may be appropriate to apply the structure at the level of the sub units.  This is a matter for local managers to agree based on what is functionally most suited to their local structures and management arrangements.

Whatever the structure, all staff who hold managerial positions of the type indicated above carry both a moral and a legal responsibility for management of health and safety within their unit.  This document has been prepared as a support document to provide those in such positions with an appreciation of the safety organisation and arrangements that the University requires them to establish and to operate.  It is also aimed at Safety Co-ordinators and other staff appointed by Heads of Unit to carry out some of the practical duties associated with the development and operation of health and safety systems. 

The systems described within this document should be regarded as the framework though which the more detailed elements of safety management can be controlled and monitored.  More detailed guidance on individual safety topics is available from the units within Health, Safety and Wellbeing and also from external sources.  Such information will be needed by local managers for further development of safety systems beyond the management framework outlined here.

Health, Safety and Wellbeing Division

Health, Safety and Wellbeing (HSW) forms part of the central administration of the University and provides professional advice and support on occupational health and safety both to the institution’s senior management and to managers and staff at all levels within Colleges, Research Institutes, Schools and Services.  HSW includes the Safety and Environmental Protection Service, Radiation Protection Service and the Occupational Health Unit.  For details of the function and roles of these services please consult each unit’s website.