School of Engineering and Informatics (for staff and students)

Health and safety

Heath & Safety is about making the best effort to ensure you get home tonight as hale and hearty as you left this morning, and the same for all campus users - the students, staff, sub-contractors and visitors to campus.

This page provides general information on Health and Safety in the School of Engineering and Informatics.
Check through the submenu on the left for some specific HSE topics.

Health & Safety legislation and practice grows out of the learning that organisations and individuals undertake following mishaps. It is about preventing avoidable damage - primarily to people!

As it says on the tin:

  • Health
    Although some things are safe in the short term, they may still not be conducive to good health. 
    To give just one example, sitting for hours in an ill-fitting chair, day after day, can injure your health, although it is a reasonably safe thing to do occasionally (check out the Display Screen Equipment (DSE) page).
  • Safety
    Protecting everyone's safety warrants forethought and putting precautions in place:
    The goal to protect the safety of not just the people involved in an activity (e.g. an experiment in a lab), but also of those who may unwittingly walk in on it, has led to installation of interlocks, instigation of access permit schemes for specialised spaces, etc. (Check out the Fire Safety section)
  • Environment
    Out-of-sight maybe, but not out-of-mind:
    As experience of the contaminating impact of human activities grows, so does the body of knowledge of how this can be avoided/limited. Risk Assessments are one standard approach for including considerations of environmental impact in planning activities.

Health & Safety practice spans:

  • Everyday actions like glancing both ways to check it's safe to cross the road.
  • Procedures to make sure people use safety protocols.  Making a weak acid solution (e.g. for cleaning) is one example where safety protocols are crucial: pouring a bit of acid into water is safe, whereas mixing the same liquids the other way round is extremely dangerous.
  • Strategies for ensuring complex undertakings, such as experiments or building projects, are conducted safely.

Risk assessments are the primary HSE tool in the workplace


Risk Assessments are a crucial component of the Risk Control Management cycle.

If you are preparing to

  • conduct an experiment
  • participate in a Student Group project
  • hold teaching sessions
  • run an Open Day
  • arrange visits off-campus
  • use new equipment
  • also if you're responsible for a lab/workshop
  • and a host of other things

Chances are, you're going to need to carry out a Risk Assessment, and fill out a Risk Assessment form:
http://www.sussex.ac.uk/ei/internal/general/healthsafety/riskassessments

In short

Because it is the actions of people that can best ensure the safety of our work or study environment.

You already put Health & Safety into practice every time you look both ways to check it's safe to cross the road.
Once you're facing more complex environments, your familiar tool-box of approaches for choosing the safest course of action will need to expand.

The law: "duty of care"

The University, like every workplace in the UK, is charged with the duty of care for its staff, as well as students, sub-contractors and visitors to the campus. This means that the University is expected to make the best practicable effort to ensure a healthy and safe working and study environment.

In addition, there is an expectation for each person to apply common sense, and whatever training they have received, to their own safety and the safety of those around them.

Responsibility for Students

Students are responsible for acting sensibly towards their own and their peers' safety, as well as the safety of staff and visitors on campus.  This includes co-operating with instructions by those in charge of activites such as labs, and those in charge of emergency procedures, e.g.evacuation in response to a fire alarm.

Staff are charged with responsibility for taking care of the health and safety of students where practicable.
This means that:

  • During a lecture (or a similar teaching session), the leading academic present is in charge of health & safety, and will instruct the students, for instance, to evacuate the space if a fire alarm is sounded.
  • Technical staff frequently supervise labs and practical sessions, in which case they are charged with care for the HSE aspect of the activity.

Responsibility for Staff

Staff are expected to act responsibly towards their own safety and the safety of all campus users.

Line Managers are expected to exercise a duty of care towards the staff they supervise.

  • Your Line Manager
    Please approach your Line Manager in the first instance with any HSE-related concerns.
  • Occupational Health (OH)
    You can access the extra support provided by Occupation Health Department by self-referral (for more details visit OH department webpages). A Line Manager can also refer their staff for OH input, if they are concerned about the health of an employee (see management referral) . 

Responsibility for Spaces

  • General spaces
    General teaching space, as well as offices and communal areas used by the School are maintained by SEF (Sussex Estates and Facilities) partnership company. If you become aware of any maintenance issue that could cause harm, please dial x 7777 to speak to the Service Centre (aka SEF Helpdesk) or email them with the details of the fault, your contact details and a description of the potential HSE impact. Please copy Margarita Steinberg (as HSE Co-ordinator for the School) into the correspondence, as the School keeps records in order to be able to track that issues have been resolved.
  • Labs / Workshops
    Specialist spaces such as labs and workshops are in the care of the supervisor. Please contact them with any HSE-related concerns in the first instance. If the concern is urgent, please refer to the Emergencies, accidents and near misses page.

The role of the Health & Safety (HSE) Co-ordinators

  • To provide information and co-ordinate efforts to ensure a healthy and safe working and study environment within the School.
  • To assist colleagues with carrying out their duties where appropriate.
  • To support the School HSE Committee.
  • To act as point of contact on HSE beyond the School with colleagues across campus.
Health & Safety (HSE) Co-ordinators in the School

Responsibilities and entitlements

You are responsible for acting sensibly towards your own and your peers' safety, as well as the safety of staff and visitors on campus.  This includes co-operating with instructions by those in charge of activites such as labs, and those in charge of emergency procedures, e.g.evacuation in response to a fire alarm.

You are entitled to:

  • Health & Safety induction, at the general University and School level, and also for any specialised activities you undertake as part of your studies.
  • Assistance and guidance on how to safeguard your health and safety while at the University.

If you have concerns

If you have concerns or questions regarding anything related to Health & Safety on campus, please speak to your supervisor, your Academic Advisor, or  contact Margarita Steinberg, Health & Safety Co-ordinator for the School - you can also call her on ext 6700 (external line: 01273 877600).

Responsibilities and entitlements

You are responsible for acting sensibly towards your own and your peers' safety.  In addition, you are responsible for the health & safety of students in your care during teaching and practical sessions.

As an employee, you are entitled to:

  • Health & Safety induction, at the general University and School level, and also for any specialised activities you undertake as part of your work.
  • Assistance and guidance on how to safeguard your health and safety while at the University.


If you have supervision responsibilities:

  • You are entitled to training in Health & Safety at the appropriate level.
  • You are responsible for discharging the duty of care for colleagues you supervise / manage.
  • You are entitled to assistance with carrying out that duty of care where needed - the HR department and your line manager should be your first port of call for this.


If you are responsible for a unit (lab/workshop):

  • You are entitled to training in Health & Safety at the appropriate level.
  • You are responsible for discharging the duty of care for the space, the space users and the activities on the premises, including ensuring HSE legislation is met, carrying out regular Health & Safety inspections, engaging with HSE audits etc.
  • You are entitled to assistance with carrying out that duty of care where needed - your line manager should be your first port of call for this.

If you have concerns

If you have concerns or questions regarding anything related to Health & Safety on campus, please contact Margarita Steinberg, Health & Safety Co-ordinator for the School - or call on ext 6700 (external line: 01273 877600).

  • Health and Safety Office

    The Quality, Safety, Health and Environment (QSHE) team within Sussex Estates and Facilities (SEF) provide guidance and support to the Schools on anything relating to Health & Safety.
    http://www.sussex.ac.uk/hso/ 
    Contact them during office hours on ext 7116 / external tel: (01273) 87 7116
  • Occupational Health

    The Occupational Health (OH) Service on campus can be invoked by self-referral (contact them and make an appointment) or a referral from a manager. The team consists of qualified nurses and a sessional doctor, who have specialised in Occupational Health.
    http://www.sussex.ac.uk/humanresources/occupationalhealth 
    Contact them during office hours on ext 7255 / external tel:  (01273) 87 7255
  • Health and Safety Executive

    The Health Safety Executive is the primary organisation in the UK charged with disseminating information on HSE legislation and best practice, and with ensuring the UK standards are met.
    http://www.hse.gov.uk/aboutus/index.htm

 

Health & Safety webpages for the School of Engineering and Informatics are maintained by Margarita Steinberg,
If you come across anything needing correcting / have suggestions for improvements, please email me or call x 7600.

 

School of Engineering and Informatics (for staff and students)

School Office:
School of Engineering and Informatics, University of Sussex, Chichester 1 Room 002, Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9QJ
enquiries@enginf.sussex.ac.uk
T 01273 (67) 8195

School Office opening hours: Monday - Friday 09.00 - 17.00
School Office location [PDF 1.74MB]