Health and Safety

A to Z of health and safety

Browse the options below for information on specific hazards and where to get help if you need it.

Actions and Interventions

HS G063 Actions and Interventions for Health & Safety Non-Compliance and Breaches Guide

This guide outlines what action can be taken within the University for health and safety (H&S) non-compliance and/or breaches. 


Asbestos Management

Due to the original construction of our campus there is asbestos present in some of our buildings. When contained asbestos does not pose a risk to health. Problems can arise when asbestos dust is released due to uncontrolled works or accidental damage.

Asbestos risks are managed by Sussex Estates & Facilities on behalf of the University Estates, Facilities and Commercial Services division. There is an ongoing program to remove asbestos from campus where possible.

Works and Construction

Even drilling into a wall to put up a shelf can result in a release of asbestos.

Prior to carrying out any work likely to release asbestos by yourself or contractors you should ensure that the asbestos register has been checked.

This can be done by emailing the details of the proposed work to Sussex Estates & Facilities (SEF) Service Desk

Suspected Accidental Release

If you suspect that damage to a building has resulted in a potential release of asbestos please call the Sussex Estates & Facilities (SEF) Service Centre and report details of the incident.

Service Centre number 01273 877777

Policies and guidance documents


Asphyxiants, pressure systems, gas cylinders, cryogenics and explosive atmospheres

The Hazard

Most asphyixiants have no smell or odour and can go undetected. They are commonly used and if they reduce the oxygen concentration in an area without an alarm it can result in loss of consciousness and death.

Common asphyixiants

  • Liquid nitrogen
  • Dry ice (Carbon dioxide also has other hazardous properties)
  • Inert pressurised gases e.g. argon


  • Laboratories
  • Welding
  • Theatre productions


  • Where ever possible asphyixiants should be used and stored outside in a well ventilated space.
  • If used and stored inside they should be in a well ventilated space.
  • Warning signs should be in place and the area should be secured to prevent unauthorised access.
  • Detectors and alarms should be fitted if asphyxiation calculations show a foreseeable risk of asphyxiation.
  • Should form part of area or activity risk assessments.
  • Training, information and instruction must be provided.

Effects of reduced oxygen concentration.

O2 concentration

Volume %

Effects and symptoms



Normal level of oxygen in the atmosphere


Minimum safe level of oxygen

< 18

Potentially dangerous.

< 10

Risk of unconsciousness followed by brain damage or death due to asphyxia is greatly increased.

< 6

Immediate loss of consciousness occurs.


Inhalation of only 2 breaths causes immediate loss of consciousness and death within 2 minutes.

Emergency First Aid

WARNING: Do not hurry to help without thinking. The risk is that you will become the second victim.

Only adequately trained personnel should attempt rescue using the correct equipment such as:

  • Self-contained breathing equipment
  • Safety belts/harnesses and winches
  • Personal monitors
  • Resuscitation equipment.

Where this equipment is not available, a rescue should not be undertaken.



Policies and guidance documents

Audit and inspection


Inspection is a range of approaches and techniques used for a number of reasons. These include:

  • To monitor and maintain health and safety standards.
  • To improve health and safety standards.
  • To improve other areas of performance such as resource usage, pollution control, and quality of work.
  • To improve culture and include staff in supporting the organisational goals to improve their work place.


There are three basic techniques which can be used in different ways to monitor performance. These are:

  • Visual inspection (can include physical measurements e.g. occupational health monitoring such as noise level measurements).
  • Talk to people (sometimes referred to as interviewing but this implies quite a formal technique, when in fact a conversational style can be effective).
  • Review documents (can include looking at simple on device records such as affixed test records).

Examples of approaches to measure performance

Simple check list. Can be repeated several times a day and can be as simple as an initialled checklist. Used for toilet checks or food temperature checks. Does need a process to escalate and deal with any issues found. Simple area check, as seen in catering facility toilets, and a temperature record as used in food storage areas. These can be adapted for other uses e.g. initial area check or for checking a guard on a high hazard piece of equipment.

Simple check list with more detailed recorded. Examples include:

  • The function of an interlock guard on a guillotine.
  • The contents of a first aid kit.
  • Can be used to record weekly statutory tests such as water flows of rarely used outlets, or weekly fire alarm checks.

Periodic area or activity checklists. These are the most common inspection forms and processes used when a new area starts an inspection programme. High hazard area template shows a recently implemented form that was used within a laboratory area. Low hazard area template can be used for office envrionments for example. These can be adapted for specific areas. This form also allows progress tracking over a period of time to enable progress to be measured and trends to be identified.

HS F031 Health Safety Monthly Inspection - High hazard area template

HS F043 Health Safety Monthly Inspection - Low hazard area template



There are many views and definitions of what constitutes a health and safety audit. It is sometimes described as an expert assessment of an organisation’s health and safety policies, systems and procedures, and should address:

  • Are current procedures and systems correct and delivering the expected outcomes?
  • Is the organisation protecting the wellbeing of the workforce and complying with the relevant regulations?

In the University Sector HASMAP (Health and Safety Management Profile) is a management standard developed for use in Higher Education Institutions (HEI) by the Universities Safety & Health Association (USHA) is a standard that forms the basis of more in depth audits.

Please add a link to document in Audit file




Bad weather plans for campus

Bad Weather on Campus


Hot Weather Guidance

yellow and orange shining sun during the heatwave

Biological safety, genetically modified organisms and human or animal tissue

Work with human tissue

Work with Human Tissue is regulated under the Human Tissue Act so as to ensure that appropriate consent has been given to any work

See guidance on work with human tissue: HS G003 Work with Human Blood Products and other Human Tissue Specimens [PDF 410KB].

Work with Human Tissue at the University of Sussex is overseen by the Human Tissue Coordination Group

Genetically Modified Cells or Organisms

See guidance on work with Genetically Modified Cells or Organisms (GMOs): HS G002 Genetic Modification [PDF 196KB].

Prior to working with GMOs approval for your project must be approved by the Biological Safety Advisors Group. If you are starting a relevant project please submit the form below to your School Biological Safety Officer.

See HS F018 Genetic Modification Risk Assessment Template [DOC 86KB].

For more information, contact either your School Biological Safety Officer or the Health & Safety Team

Prior to working with biological agents in Group 2, 3 or 4 approval for your project must be approved by the Biological Safety Advisors Group.

If you are starting a relevant project submit a HS F032 Bioagent risk assessment form [DOC 75KB] to your School Biological Safety Officer.

For more information please contact either your School Biological Safety Officer or the Health & Safety Team

Guidance notes are provided below on the following topics

HS P003 Biological Safety Policy

Chemical safety and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH)

Handling Chemicals

Chemicals can have the potential to cause diseases or ill-health, damage the environment or create dangerous environments (e.g. fire). When individuals handle chemicals they must be fully aware of the hazards associated with every chemical and how to manage that hazard so that harm does not occur.

Managing chemical risks involves:

  • Removing the potential for being exposed to airborne dusts, vapours and controlling anticipated spillage situations
  • Removing the potential of accidental gas or solvent releases and ignition
  • Controlling waste disposal
  • Good housekeeping, safe storage and best available laboratory techniques to minimise incidents whilst working with chemicals


When using chemicals on campus, the activity must be risk assessed prior to commencing and risk assessment stored for an appropriate length of time. For example, if carcinogens are being handled, the risk assessment should be stored for 40 years.

To ensure constant safe working spaces, housekeeping should be checked monthly by lab users, and identified actions followed up by Group leads, Principle Investigators or Supervisors.

Novel Chemicals

Novel chemicals have not been tested and have no safety information, however, in many cases hazards can be anticipated from understanding the structure.

Physical hazards

Explosive and flammability hazards can be predicted by predicting the physical properties and comparing with known tested similar compounds. Researchers should always use these predictions cautiously, until the novel chemical has been tested.

Health hazards

Chemicals with no health hazard rating should be regarded as being toxic, and appropriate controls should be put in place when handling the chemical to prevent inhalation, ingestion and absorption.

Environmental hazards

Chemicals with no environmental hazard rating should be disposed of by laboratory liquid and solid waste streams, rather than being put down the sink and being released into the environment.

Toxins and poisons

Toxins and poisons are substances which can be fatal to humans. At all times, they must be kept secure in a locked cabinet, and minimum quantities held.

If you wish to purchase a toxin or poison, contact your School Biological Safety Officer or the Health & Safety Team

Policies & Guidance Documents

Children and young adults

Young People and Children at Work

As an employer, the University has a responsibility, as far as reasonably practicable, to ensure the health and safety of all of their employees. This includes young people and children at work, on work experience or apprenticeships.


Young Person (YP) - anyone under the age of 18.
Child - anyone who hasn’t reached ‘Minimum School Leaving Age’ (school year at which they turn 16 years old).

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1999) detail that YP should be protected from risks to their health and safety which are a consequence of their lack of experience, absence of awareness or lack of maturity. As YP are likely to be new to the workplace and therefore unfamiliar to the work-related risks, sufficient instruction, training and supervision is essential. They will require more supervision than adults, this can be used to gauge their capability and progress for future tasks during their time with the University.

The employer should discuss the placement beforehand with the organisers in order to understand the YP physical and psychological capacity and any specific needs, e.g. medical condition or learning difficulties.

Children and YP are a high risk group to the workplace, so it will be necessary to complete a written assessment before the placement begins detailing any risks the YP may be exposed to and control measures put in place. This Risk Assessment should be sent to the organisers, e.g. YP School/ organisation or parent/ guardian.

Work Experience Risk Assessment template: HS G021 Children and Young People on Work Experience [PDF]

Relevant Links

Management of Health and Safety at Work Regs. (1999) [PDF]

Young Persons Guidance Notes (UoS) [PDF]

Young people and work experience [PDF]

Young People at Work

Young people at work and the law

Confined spaces

A confined space is defined as:

“Any space of an enclosed nature where there is a risk of death or serious injury from hazardous substances or dangerous conditions (e.g. lack of oxygen)”.

Whilst some plant room areas on campus fall into this category, there is the potential for confined spaces to be created during incidents, related to how the rooms are used and activities done in them are performed. For example:

  • Unventilated or poorly ventilated rooms, if there is the potential for substances to be released
  • Unventilated underground rooms or open-topped chambers
  • Sewers and enclosed drains

The dangers associated with confined spaces arise from:

  • A lack of oxygen; resulting from oxygen being consumed biologically or chemically or carbon dioxide or other gas being released
  • Hazardous gases, vapours or fumes building up in the space, creating a harmful breathable atmosphere
  • Space being filled by solids or liquids, displacing breathable air and trapping occupants
  • Risk of fire and explosions if solvents or flammable gases have been released
  • Heating, leasing to a dangerous increase in body temperature of occupants

If you recognise that your work area or an area you need to access might be classified as a confined space, contact the Health & Safety Team prior to attempting entry into the area.

If you suspect that during an incident (e.g. large spillage or gas release) your area might become a confined space:

  1. Identify the conditions and circumstances where this situation is a possibility
  2. Identify the control measures you need to put in place to ensure that this situation will not occur
  3. Write it down as a risk assessment
  4. Contact the Health & Safety Team and your Health and Safety Coordinator to verify that appropriate measures are in place prior to starting work on the activity.
Controlled and scheduled drugs

Controlled Drugs

A Controlled Drug (CD) is any drug, therapeutic agent or chemical which is held under strict control as specified in law.

They are usually substances with potential for abuse or addiction. They are classified into five schedules according to the different levels of control attributed to each schedule.

To determine the Schedule of any compound you wish to order please check the list available here

The University of Sussex operates and an exemption for research that enables work to be undertaken with Schedules 2-5 compounds subject to suitable controls being in place. These controls include a single register for relevant substances entering site, records of use and controlled destruction. For details of these controls please see your Schools SOP for work with Scheduled Drugs.

The synthesis of Scheduled drugs and the use of schedule 1 substances for research is not permitted without an individual researcher holding a license from the UK Government. If research objectives necessitate a license, researchers should in the first instance contact the School Technical Services lead and the Health & Safety team.

In order to operate under the exemptions stated above the use of Controlled Drugs in humans or Animals (research or teaching) must be approved by the relevant University Research Ethics Committee.
Prior to attempting to order or otherwise obtain Schedule 2 & 3 drugs or applying for a Schedule 1 license you should receive training in the suitable receipt, storage and disposal arrangements.

Any Scheduled drugs arriving on site must enter via a single point in the Pharmacy unit, this is to ensure that there is a central register of all relevant compounds.

The use of any controlled or scheduled drugs should be indicated on any project approvals submitted to research governance.

Novel Psychoactive substances

A Psychoactive Substance is defined as any drug capable of producing a psychoactive effect in a person who consumes it. New compounds that have not been assigned a Schedule that are created with the intention of having a Psychoactive effect are covered under the Psychoactive Substance Act 2016.

The synthesis of novel Psychoactive Substances is permitted for research purposes only and must be approved by a suitable University Ethics committee. A check against the current list of Controlled Drugs scheduled under the Misuse of Drug Regulations must be carried out prior to synthesis of and psychoactive compound to ensure that it is not a drug which has already been assigned a Schedule.

For additional guidance on this please contact either the Health & Safety team or the Pharmacy department within the School of Life Sciences.

Life Sciences Controlled Drugs SOP & Policy

For a copy of this document please contact the Health & Safety team

Legislation and external guidance

Construction and contractors

HS P007 Management of Contractors Policy [PDF]

HS G013 Guidance to Contractors - Premises and Construction Works [PDF]



Covid-19 Health & Safety resources

For general updates and information please see the Covid-19 Health and Safety page. This includes information on

  • Vaccinations
  • Covid testing
  • Ventilation
  • Teaching/office space guidance, cold weather guidance and all archived guidance


If you believe you have identified an issue with regards to a ventilation system please complete a Covid Ventilation Review Request Form and a member of the Health & Safety team will review the area promptly.

To report a confirmed case of Covid-19 please complete the this form Report a Positive Test


Equipment Decontamination
Prior to having equipment serviced or disposed of users of the equipment should make sure that the equipment is in a safe state and complete the following form to detail what actions they have taken.

HS F004 Equipment Decontamination Form [DOCX 298KB].

Drones and autonomous vehicles

On campus

Operators of Drones on the University of Sussex Falmer Campus must gain permission from the Estates, Facilities Management & Commercial Services Division. Approval will only be granted to operators that have confirmed that they comply with the UK Civil Aviation Authorities rules on operating Drones and Unmanned Aircraft.

Off campus

Members of the University of Sussex operating Drones off campus must comply with the UK Civil Aviation Authorities rules on operating Drones and Unmanned Aircraft.

Display Screen Equipment (DSE) and assessments

DSE Assessments are carried out locally within Schools or Divisions.

Please complete the self assessment form available below

HS F034 DSE Workstation checklist [PDF]

After you have completed the self-assessment, we would advise that you contact the departments DSE Assessor if:

  • You are left with any questions
  • It has identified a change needed in the equipment or furniture you are currently using
  • You are aware of any health problems potentially related to your workstation.


The DSE assessor will then meet you at your usual work station to assess your needs and make recommendations.

If you do not know who your local DSE Assessor is, please contact your Health and Safety Coordinator who will be able to advise you of the local process and assessor. If you struggle to find a DSE Assessor through your HSC, please do contact the H&S team

To train as a DSE Assessor please see the training section

Policies and guidance documents

Electrical safety

On campus different types of electrical hazards require management. These are:

  • The use of portable electrical equipment (e.g. laptops, kettles & heaters)
  • The use of electricity or electrically powered equipment in research activities
  • The creation of electrical circuits and components
  • New technologies including the use of batteries and DC currents

Portable Equipment

All users of electrical equipment are responsible for the safe use of the equipment. This involves ensuring Portable Appliance Tests (PAT) have been completed, stopping the use of devices that have failed PAT, or if damage is noticed, taking out of service and getting the item electrically checked. Items must be turned off at the end of each working day, as this minimises both the fire risk and University’s energy consumption. To request a PAT test, please contact the SEF Service Centre:

Hard wired, 3-phase or electricity generating research equipment

Equipment must be sourced from reputable insured suppliers, manufactured to relevant safety standards (EN or BS standards). Manufacturer’s recommendations on their installation and use must be considered.

The installation of these units should be planned to ensure that any changes to the facility’s electrical distribution system, including appropriate isolations and earthing points can be installed. Installation must be completed by a competent person, any alterations to the facility’s electrical distribution system must be completed by a qualified electrician, under a permit to work.

The equipment must be risk assessed and users trained in operating the equipment.

Creation of electrical circuits and components

Research activities may involve designing, building and testing electrical circuits and components. Individuals conducting this activity must have undergone appropriate training by their School, and appropriate supervision until they have been verified as suitable to work without supervision.

Equipment must be checked using methods which minimise the risk of harm if the unit fails (e.g. shorting or arcing), with appropriate fusing in place to ensure the facility’s electrical distribution system is not impacted.

Policies & Guidance Documents

Event safety and bookings

The following types of event require approval

  • Outdoor events
  • Large events within School and Divisional areas (more than 100 attendees)
  • Overnight events within buildings on the Falmer Campus
  • Events with the potential to cause disruption to University activities


Members of Staff

Staff wishing to hold an event on campus should complete the event management plan below.

HS F033 University of Sussex Event Management & Planning [DOCX]

This should be submitted to the Sussex Estates and Facilities Service centre 2 weeks prior to the event to enable sufficient time to provide any support required

Service Centre email:

Final approval for events comes from the University of Sussex Estates, Facilities Management and Commercial Services Division.

Student Union Events

Students, clubs or societies wishing to host events on campus should contact

Events arranged via the Students Union must be submitted to Sussex Estates and Facilities Service centre 2 weeks prior to the event to enable sufficient time to provide any support required

Final approval for events comes from the University of Sussex Estates, Facilities Management and Commercial Services Division.

External groups

External groups interested in holding an event on our Falmer Campus should contact Helen Power-Hosking (Head of Commercial Services) at

Sussex Estates & Facilities (SEF) Support for Events

As part of your event you may identify the need for additional cleaning, grounds support or porter assistance. There is a great number of services you can book through SEF to support your event. In the first instance, please discuss your requirement with the Service Centre who will be able to provide you with an up-to-date list of services and costs.

External Speakers Policy

Please see the external speakers policy and free speech code of practice


To arrange catering for an event please contact our on campus caterers

Eye test and vouchers

an eye test chart and a pair of glasses

Eye health is very important.

If it is not managed, it can lead to both short and long-term health conditions, including increased eye strain and headaches.

You can get a free eye test and basic glasses for screen work through the University.

Find out more about how to request a free eye test.

Fire safety

Fire Safety Policy

HS P008 Fire Policy [PDF]

Fire Assembly Points Falmer Campus

HS G016 UoS Map Fire Assembly Points [PDF]

Weekly Fire Alarm Bell Testing

April 2021 - Fire Alarm Bell Weekly Testing Schedule

Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs)

What is a PEEP?

A PEEP is an individual’s escape plan for those who may require extra assistance in the event of an emergency building exit. In order to evacuate rapidly and safely to a place of relative safety, the individual may require help, guidance or special equipment.

Who requires a PEEP?

Students, staff and regular visitors who have mobility, hearing, sight or cognitive impairments and/ or would have difficulty quickly and safely exiting the building or making their way to a relative place of safety require a PEEP.

A temporary PEEP may be necessary for those with short term conditions, e.g. a broken leg or those in later stages of pregnancy.

What is included in a PEEP?

The PEEP details:

  • The individual’s main buildings and rooms on campus
  • The personalised evacuation procedure
  • Methods of assistance (guidance, procedures etc.)
  • Equipment required (including means of communication, use of Evac-chairs etc.)

PEEP documentation [DOCX] following an individual’s PEEP is produced, and reviewed when something changes or at the start of the next academic year.

Who to contact if I or someone I know requires a PEEP?

Please contact the Health and Safety Team if you/ someone you know requires a PEEP. The Health and Safety Team will make contact with the individual and their School or Directorate to discuss a PEEP which covers an academic building. For Residential PEEPS, the Health and Safety Team will make contact with the individual to develop.

If the individual is based in academic and residential buildings, one PEEP can be discussed with the individual and School or Directorate.


Telephone: 01273 87 7116

Further support

Fire Evacuation Drawings

Fire Evacuation drawings are posted in buildings along escape routes. Electronic copies are available here.

Digital Messaging Service (DMS)

DMS allows you to connect to the University fire alarm system simply by sending a text message from your mobile phone, once connected you will receive a notification by text message when the fire alarm for that building is activated.

To connect to any of these devices, simply send a text message with the location code to 07797 870 999.

Location codes are displayed at the entrance to all buildings on the Falmer Campus and in the table below DMS codes for each building

Digital Messaging Service Building Codes


Location Code


Location Code

Jubilee Building




Norwich House




Essex House


Pevensey I




Pevensey II


BSMS Teaching


Pevensey III


BSMS Research


Chichester I


Richmond House


Chichester II




Chichester III


Attenborough Centre




Arts A


Fulton Building


Arts B




Arts C


Trafford Centre


York House




Bramber House






Ashdown House


IDS Building


Freeman Centre


Falmer House


Falmer Sports Complex


Meeting House


Kent House


Sussex House


Lancaster House


CRPC Building


Sport Centre


You will receive a confirmation message with a link which will take you to your DMS settings page. From here, you can select (or deselect) all buildings for which you wish to receive fire alarm notifications.

For example; To connect to DMS at the Meeting House, simply open a new text message and type the location code ‘UOSMH’. Send the message to 07797 870 999. You will then get a reply confirming the connection.

To disconnect from an individual building simply text STOP followed by the location code.

Text messages to DMS are charged at your network's standard

Fire Extinguishers

HS G017 Fire Extinguisher Provision Strategy

First aid

First Aid Kit Contents

HS G019 First Aid Kit Contents list

Locations of Defibrillators on Campus

  • JMS (Teaching lab 3B5)
  • ERT Vehicle
  • Sports Centre (Reception)
  • Sports Complex (Reception)
  • Library (Reception)
  • Security Vehicle

There are also some additional machines which were not purchased by the University:

  • Eat Central (kitchen entrance)
  • Freeman Building (entrance)
  • CISC
  • Falmer Train Station

First Aider Training

To arrange First Aider Training please see the training section of the Health & Safety Website

Hazardous waste


Hazardous Waste

Hazardous waste is classified by the Environment Agency as needing specific control and disposal routes.  Hazardous wastes are generally regarded as hazardous to the environment, and in many cases hazardous to human health.

The management and disposal of hazardous wastes are subject to a specific regulatory framework. Other wastes are regulated, but have a different set of requirements and tend not to be hazardous to health.

HS P021 Hazardous Waste Policy

Legionella control and water risk assessments

HS P006 Legionella Safety Management Procedure [PDF]

ED 001 Water Safety Plan Estates, Facilities and Contract Management Division [PDF 595KB]

Lone working

HS P009 Lone Working Policy [PDF]

HS G022 Guidance on Lone & Out of Hours Working [PDF]

Machinery and workshops

Mechanical Hazards & Workshop Safety

It is important to maintain a safe working environment in workshops and with mechanical equipment as often they contain hazards which are not normally present in domestic or office environments. These hazards are associated with:

  • Manual handling, lifting operations and lifting equipment resulting from interacting with heavy equipment or moving heavy items
  • Machining equipment, potential for crush, entrapment, entanglement, impact, injuries from compressed air sources, swarf generation and chemical and biological risks from greases, fluids used in machining processes and degreasing agents
  • Respiratory hazards from spray painting and coating, sand blasting, grinding and wood work
  • Fire risks from using oil based products, creating sawdust and working with flammable equipment, against the ignition risk resulting from welding, sparks, friction and heat being generated by machining equipment

To ensure the safety of all using the workshop areas, it is necessary to ensure that each activity is risk assessed, individuals undertaking activities have been trained, certified as competent and are familiar with the equipment and the local emergency procedures. Each activity must be assessed using the hierarchy of control:

  1. Eliminate the hazard where possible
  2. Substitute the hazard with a less hazardous alternative
  3. Reduce the quantity that will be used, or reduction of hazard e.g. vibration
  4. Use of engineering controls, e.g. extracting fumes, guarding and interlocks
  5. Use of procedure controls, e.g. written instructions how to operate the machinery safely
  6. Use of PPE as a barrier between the worker and hazardous substances e.g. dust mask or gloves

Maintaining a good housekeeping standard, is essential for minimising fire risk and preventing harmful breathable air (from mists, dusts and vapours). Appropriate use of PPE and personal hygiene is necessary for minimising health effects from the substances being used and created. Housekeeping must be checked by the team working within the workshop on a monthly bases, and any identified actions must be implemented.

Policies and guidance documents

Pressure Systems

A pressure system is a closed system which holds steam at any pressure, any fluid or fluid mixture at greater pressure than 0.5 bar above atmospheric pressure or a gas dissolved under pressure in a solvent.

 Pressure systems can range from steam-generating commercial coffee machines to large boilers. 

The use of pressure systems and equipment at work are covered by the Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000 (PSSR).

The regulations ensure that the University and SEF appropriately maintain pressure systems to prevent serious injury or damage to property resulting from stored energy being released from a failed pressure system or component.

Staff members working with pressure systems must follow the HS G057 Pressure Systems Procedure.

Lifting Equipment

Lifting equipment can be defined as work equipment for lifting and lowering loads, including any accessories used in doing so (such as attachments to support, fix or anchor equipment).

Lifting equipment is covered under the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) 1998.

LOLER requires the University to undertake thorough periodic inspections of their lifting equipment by an independent, competent person, alongside user checks. For the University the independent inspector is Zurich.


All lifting equipment must be inspected by an insurance engineer every 6 months or 12 months.  This is summarised as:

•          6 months Lifting equipment that lifts people

•          6 months Lifting accessories, including shackles, hooks, chains etc.

•          12 months All other lifting equipment, including cranes and loading equipment

Technical Teams should have access to the insurance data base (Crimson).  Please contact the H&S Team or Insurance Manager if access is required.

 The insurance tags on lifting equipment for the past 12 months:

  • EARLY 2021: BLUE
  • LATE 2020: WHITE
  • EARLY 2020: PURPLE

 Untagged, or incorrectly tagged, lifting equipment should not be used (unless status verified via Crimson).

Staff members working with lifting equipment must follow the HS G058 Lifting Equipment Procedure.

Manual handling

HS P011 Manual Handling Policy [PDF]

HS G038 MAC Score Sheet [PDF]

New and expectant mothers


This guidance document and risk assessment is aimed at new and expectant mothers, and their managers. It outlines helpful information and the University risk assessment process.

Specific laws relating to new and expectant mothers at work are mainly contained in:

  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSW) which require employers to protect the health and safety of new and expectant mothers.
  • The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.
  • The Equality Act 2010.

What sort of risks might I be exposed to?

You may be at risk from processes, working conditions or physical, biological and chemical agents and these risks will vary depending on your health, and at different stages of your pregnancy. Some of the more common risks might be:

  • Lifting/carrying heavy loads;
  • Standing or sitting still for long lengths of time;
  • Exposure to infectious diseases
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals;
  • Work-related stress;
  • Workstations and posture;
  • Exposure to radioactive material;
  • Threat of violence in the workplace;
  • Long working hours;
  • Excessively noisy workplaces.


These will be assessed as part of the risk assessment process.



Being exposed to loud noises or high sound levels can damage an individual’s hearing. Damage can be caused in two ways.

  • Short duration of very loud noise or sound
  • Repeated exposure to elevated noise or sound

The damage is caused by the sound waves over-exciting the detecting fibres in the cochlea, and can be irreversible. As listening to sound or being exposed to noise is a common feature of modern life, individuals are advised to not ignore elevated sound levels to best preserve their hearing throughout their working life.

How much noise is too much?

As a rough guide; there are some tests which individuals can do when equipment is being used and the sound or noise is being emitted, these are:

  • Is the noise or sound level intrusive for most of the working day? (e.g. like a busy street, a vacuum cleaner or crowded restaurant)
  • If 2 individuals standing 2 metres apart need to raise their voices to have a normal conversation.
  • Do you use noisy powered tools or machinery for over half an hour a day?
  • Do you work with noisy equipment routinely?
  • Is noise generated because of mechanical impactions (e.g. hammering, pneumatic impact tools or explosive sources e.g. cartridge operated tools or destructive pressure testing)
  • Do you have muffled hearing at the end of the day, even if it is better by the next morning?


If you answer “yes” to any of test questions this is a good indicator that the sound is a hazard in the working space.

To identify how individuals can be best protected, it is necessary to conduct a noise monitoring survey. This can be organised through contacting the Health & Safety Team. If a noise monitoring survey has already been done in a room, and the equipment or function of the room significantly changes, the survey will need to be repeated.

What can be done to reduce the sound levels in my area?

Sound and noise are often produced by moving equipment. Often the levels alter when the equipment experiences wear and increased vibration of the mechanical parts. A hierarchy of control exists to minimise noise levels within work spaces. The most effective control is to stop sound or noise being generated at source. The hierarchy is:

  1. Purchase low noise level equipment (quiet operation models)
  2. Conduct regular maintenance, replacing worn parts to minimise mechanical vibration
  3. Build in noise minimisation equipment into the equipment set-ups e.g.
    1. Sound absorbing casing
    2. Vibration absorbing matting
    3. Sound baffles in duct work
    4. Soft furnishings (where appropriate) to absorb rather than reflect sound waves in a room
    5. Reduce the quantity of time the equipment is operating for (emitting sound), or restricting the exposure time of individuals (for example job rotations)
    6. Increase the distance between the item generating sound and the individual e.g.
      1. If the equipment does not require direct supervision, people leave the work area
      2. People work away from the source of noise
      3. Using PPE. Different PPE options protect from different sound levels and sound frequencies. To ensure that the correct PPE has been selected, it is necessary to have completed a noise monitoring survey. It is also essential to fit PPE properly to ensure there is an adequate barrier to the sound waves and the PPE will provide appropriate protection.


Early symptoms of hearing loss

There are a few early signs of hearing loss. Hearing loss is generally gradual and in many cases by the time individuals have noticed the symptoms, their hearing has already been affected. The best protection is to prevent damage from occurring. If you are exposed to sound or noise and notice the symptoms listed below:

  • Conversation becomes difficult or impossible
  • Your family complains about the television being too loud
  • You have trouble hearing the telephone
  • You find it difficult to differentiate sounds like “t”, “d” and “s”, so you confuse similar words
  • Permanent tinnitus (ringing, whistling, buzzing or humming in the ears) can also be caused.


Contact the University Occupational Health Service

Policies and guidance documents

Occupational Health

For support from Occupational Health please ask your line manager to submit a management Referral.

See occupational health information on the HR web pages

Permit to work system


A range of contractors come to site to complete a whole range of tasks from routine servicing of office equipment such as printers through to contractors engaged in complex and high hazard activities such as access to confined spaces to complete inspections or repairs.

Control of contractors

Contractors should have a site host who can provide support, guidance and information to ensure the contractor works safely and does not adversely impact University operations. For higher hazard areas e.g. laboratories, the local controls must be increased to commensurate with the risk.

This is a complex area of health and safety management and expert advice should be taken to ensure competent contractors are engaged and appropriate planning and supervision takes place. Most activities will be completed by SEF or Estates and Facilities.

Permit to work (PTW)

PTWs are generally issued by SEF as part of their operations. Other specialists may also issue and use PTWs on site e.g. work associated with high voltage switching.


HSE Managing contractors

HSE PTW Guidance

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE)

(RPE) should be used as a last resort. There are many different types of RPE and it is necessary to understand the material and approximate particle size needing to be filtered as well as confirm the mask creates a seal round the individual’s face. If RPE is selected, management processes need to be put in place to ensure that the mask continues to provide adequate protection for the duration the user requires. If you are intending to use RPE, please contact the Health & Safety Team for information about what is needed.

Prescription Safety Spectacles

If you require prescription safety glasses for a risk assessed activity that is part of your work please complete the following
Prescription Safety Spectacles Request Form

Prescription Safety Spectacles

If you need safety spectacles to do you work and they require a prescription, you can request these.

You will need permission to place a request.

View the prescription safety spectacles request form.

Radiation (Ionising, Non-Ionising, Lasers & Electromagnetic Fields)

Ionising Radiation

For information on working with Ionising Radiation including;

  • Unsealed Sources of Ionising Radiation
  • Sealed Source of Radiation
  • X-ray Equipment and X-ray Generators
  • Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM)
  • Radon

See the Ionising Radiation web page.

Artificial Optical Radiation

For information on working with Artificial Optical Radiation including:

  • Lasers
  • Broad Beam Optical Sources
  • Ultra Violet

See the Artificial Optical Radiation guidance.

Risk Assessment

HS F001 General Risk assessment template [DOCX] New

HS F001 General Risk assessment template (excel)  New- now an Excel Document 

HS FG 069 Risk assessment guidance [DOCX]

HS F002 Safe System of Work & Combined Risk Assessment [DOCX]

HS FG002 Safe System of Work & Combined RA Guidance [DOCX]

Safety Signage

Safety signage

The Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996 provide requirement for the University to provide safety signage where there is a significant risk to health and safety.

Safety signs are to warn people of remaining significant risk which has not been removed or controlled otherwise. They help to further reduce the risk but are not substitute for other control measures.

Using the correct symbol, colour and shape ensures that safety signage can be universally understood.

Common types of Safety signage

Prohibition signage- A sign which prohibits behaviour likely to increase or cause any danger, e.g. ‘no access for unauthorised persons’

No unauthorised access signage

 Warning signage- A sign providing warning of a hazard or danger, e.g. ‘danger- electricity’.

electricity signage 

Mandatory signage- a sign prescribing specific behaviour, e.g. ‘eye protection must be worn’.

Eyewear is mandatory sign

 Emergency escape or first-aid signage- a sign giving information on emergency exits, first aid or rescue facilities, e.g. emergency escape route’.

fire escape signage

 Fire fighting signage- a sign providing information on fire fighting equipment and fire alarm activation points, e.g. fire extinguisher

fire extinguisher sign

For support on safety signage please contact the Health & Safety Team.


Safety signs and signals The Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996

Travel on University business and off-site working

Please select from the drop down menus below for information relevant to your travel. If your query does not relate to one of these options please contact the Health & Safety team.

The options below apply to research, work and teaching undertaken for the University of Sussex and not an individual’s annual leave or holiday time.

Ethics approvals

Research projects that are submitted for ethics review and require international travel will be asked to submit an Overseas Travel Safety and Security Risk Assessment (OTSSRA form see below) as part of the ethics application. This is to ensure that safety concerns have been addressed during the planning stage. The OTSSRA form for travel to higher risk areas (see below) will still need to be approved by the Head of School.

Applications undertaking hazardous activities (see below) should also submit a risk assessment.


Prior to travel it is imperative that you review the Universities travel insurance information. It is best practice to do so as early as possible to ensure that there is time prior to the trip to secure insurance. Travel should not be undertaken without university insurance in place.


Details on finance and expenses can be found here

Partner organisations

Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS)

The medical School is run in partnership between the Universty of Sussex and the University of Brighton

BSMS Students

BSMS Students conduct fieldwork abroad must apply for insurance from the University of Brighton and will need to complete a University of Brighton Travel Application Form. The completed form is located in University of Brighton Personal Accident and Travel Insurance section on Share Point and submitted to the University of Brighton Insurance team. For further information please contact the University of Brighton Insurance Officer:

BSMS Staff

BSMS staff are required to apply for insurance from the University of Sussex and follow university of Sussex process outlined below

Institute for Development Studies (IDS)

IDS Staff

The Institute for Development Studies is an independent organisation as such their staff are not covered under University of Sussex's arrangements.

Students working with IDS

Sussex University students working with IDS as part of their studies must get their Head of Schools approval for travel with an elevated risk (see below). They must also follow IDS internal arrangements for details please contact Linda Waldman.

Visas and Access

Prior to travel you must check and confirm that you meet any entry requirements to the country or countries that you will be visiting.

  • Staff that are in the UK on a visa must ensure that this travel does not violate the terms of their visa
  • Students that are in the UK on a student visa must ensure that this travel does not violate the terms of their visa


Off campus working in the UK

For off campus work in the UK a risk assessment should be conducted for hazardous activities. The table below gives examples of activities that may be considered hazardous and would require a risk assessment. These can be completed using the standard University risk assessment template

Laboratory work within another institution involving

Hazardous Chemicals, Biological Agents, Radiation Electrical hazards

Work with any of the following groups:

Alcohol or Drug users, Protest movements, Persecuted or marginalised groups, Individuals engaged in activities which are criminal in the local region ,Individuals with a history of violence or aggression
The use of photographic or recording equipment in an area where this may put you at risk

Natural Hazards

e.g. Extreme weather, Volcanology, Glaciology, Fire

Transporting Heavy Equipment

(Manual Handling

Hazardous Flora or Fauna

Plants or Animals

Dangerous Activities

e.g. Climbing, Diving, Caving

Activities that increase the risk of exposure to infectious diseases

Human or Zoonotic
Interviewing or visiting subjects in their home

  • Where these hazardous activities are carried out with a partner organisation it is appropriate to request a copy of their risk assessment and confirm that you will follow instructions from the partner organisation.
  • Risk assessments should be signed off within Schools or Divisions via line management and logged with the local safety coordinator for record keeping.
Staff or PhD/Masters students Travelling abroad

Staff or postgraduate students traveling for University business (work, research or study) are required to complete an Overseas Travel Safety and Security Risk Assessment (OTSSRA form)

  • Guidance on completing this form is available here including details of when it applies to distance learning students.
  • Part 1 of the OTSSRA form is required for all travel overseas on University business (this includes research or study). These can be signed of by supervisors or line managers.
  • Part 2 is only required where any part of the travel is to a region where advice is against all travel or all but essential travel. See FCO guidance below. Approval for this travel requires Head of School Approval.
  • OTSSRA forms should be signed off within Schools or Divisions via line management and logged with the local safety coordinator for record keeping.


Foreign & Commonwealth Office Advice

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) issues advice on threats from natural causes, disease, conflict and unrest across the world. Where FCO advice is against all travel (Red region) or all but essential travel (Yellow region) then parts 1 and 2 of the OTSSRA must be completed.

Where there is an FCO warning against all or all but essential travel sign of for the OTSSRA form and approval for the travel must come from the Head of School/Division or any appointed deputy.

When completing part 2 of the OTSSRA form it is not expected to copy across the guidance from the FCO but to assess your travel plans and what steps you have taken to reduce the risk and mitigate the risk should issues occur.

Training in hazardous environments should be undertaken by all travellers to FCO red/yellow regions and or remote areas, this is available at no additional cost to Schools. Details of how to book a course can be found on the H&S training page

Points to consider

  • Listing the primary contact details of any partner organisation
  • Listing your accommodation locations in country as well as all your means of contact
  • Detailing your emergency evacuation plans (including rendezvous points if travel to the UK is likely to be disrupted and or border crossing locations)
  • Designating a check-in schedule with a named person in your School/Division and detailing what escalation will take place in the event that a check-in or check-ins are missed
  • Updating your next of kin and any will you may have in place
  • Listing the travel safety information you will check, the frequency of checks and at what points you will revise any travel plans
  • Vaccinations that are required
  • Detailing relevant prior experience in the region


Hazardous Activities
The table below gives examples of activities that may be considered hazardous and would require a risk assessment due to specific hazards, this is in addition to a general travel assessment for the region and is based on the activities undertaken. These risk assessments can be completed using the standard University risk assessment template

Laboratory work within another institution

involving, Hazardous Chemicals, Biological Agents, Radiation Electrical hazards

Work with any of the following groups:

Alcohol or Drug users, Protest movements, Persecuted or marginalised groups, Individuals engaged in activities which are criminal in the local region ,Individuals with a history of violence or aggression
The use of photographic or recording equipment in regions where this may put you at risk

Natural Hazards

e.g. Extreme weather, Volcanology, Glaciology, Fire

Transporting Heavy Equipment

(Manual Handling

Hazardous Flora or Fauna

Plants or Animals

Dangerous Activities

e.g. Climbing, Diving, Caving

Activities that increase the risk of exposure to infectious diseases

Human or Zoonotic
Interviewing or visiting subjects in their home

Bringing Samples back into the UK

Excluding paper records and data

Work in areas with a significant likelihood of there being unexploded munitions

Recent conflict zones and or mined areas

The use of transportation that is specifically listed as dangerous in FCO guidance


  • Where these hazardous activities are carried out with a partner organisation it is appropriate to request a copy of their risk assessment and confirm that you will follow instructions from the partner organisation.
  • Risk assessments should be signed of within Schools or Divisions via line management and logged with the local safety coordinator for record keeping.
Staff planning a fieldtrip for undergraduates

 School templates for planning a fieldtrip are  available below


If your School does not have a template listed please discuss with a School representative which template you should use. Fieldtrip assessments should be signed of within Schools or Divisions via line management and logged with the local safety coordinator for record keeping.

For undergraduate fieldtrips consideration should be made as to student activities outside of organised learning and potential hazards.


You must ensure that you meet any criteria for entering and returning to the UK as detailed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Depending upon regions this may include

  • Proof of vaccination
  • Use of facemasks
  • Testing requirements

Prior to arranging travel please consult the University of Sussex insurance information on any travel insurance exemptions for disruption and cancelations caused by Covid-19 and regional restrictions

The University recommends that those travelling on University business;

  • All travellers are up to date on their vaccinations
  • That face coverings are worn on public transport and planes
  • That staff take with them hand sanitisers in areas where it is unlikely to be available


It is expected that all staff and students will comply with any local controls in place to limit the spread of Covid-19 in all regions that they travel to or though

Undergraduate Study abroad program

For information on the University of Sussex's study abroad program please see the details available here

Undergraduate placements

Information on how to apply for placements is available here

Sporting events and Student Union Activity

Please contact the Students Union and or the appropriate Student Union Officer


E-Scooter and E-skateboards

E-scooters and E-skateboards are not permitted on campus or in UoS buildings (inclusive of UoS residential accomodation. Please refer to HS G061 safety concern guidance below as to the legal and safety reasons as to why they are not permitted. 


HS G061 E-Scooter Safety Concern Guidance

Transport of dangerous goods

See HS G040 Transport of Dangerous Materials [PDF]

Ventilation: room and Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV)

HS G059 Ducted Local Exhaust Ventilation Procedure [PDF]

HS G060 Recirculating Fume Hoods (Ductless) LEV Procedure

Waste (Water and Equipment)

Waste Water (Disposal Via Sinks) and Trade Effluent

The UoS must not put down the sink anything that may:

Damage the sewers

Damage water treatment works

Cause a health hazard to sewerage workers or the public

Harm the environment

Please ensure a sink poster [PDF 121KB] is displayed above the sink in any relevant laboratory or workshop

Waste water trade efluent

Waste equipment from laboratory areas

Prior to being handed to technical services or removed from a laboratory for disposal the owner of the equipment should complete an equipment decontamination form. This specifics if the equipment could have become contaminated with a hazardous substance and if so what steps have been taken to clean the equipment prior to disposal.

Prior to disposing of equipment consult the operators instructions and check for

  • Gas cylinders
  • Sealed sources of radiation (Do not remove, contact site radiation protection officer)
  • Hazardous chemicals in pipework and or holding tanks
  • Mercury bulbs


Equipment cannot be disposed of as Waste Electrical Equipment with these present

If you find any of these contact your local technical services team or the health and safety office

HSF004 Equipment Decon Form

Wellbeing and mental health

Factors impacting mental health

Multiple factors within a workplace can contribute to mental health including:

  • Organisational factors – how the work is organised and the workplace culture
  • Job factors – including the working environment, an individual’s job role, how much control they have over their role, what their job involves doing, their colleagues and students
  • Individual factors – whether the individual has been able to form working relationships with colleagues and whether their work life balance is appropriate for them.

An individual’s home life and circumstances will contribute to their mental health and how they manage the challenges they face.

In order to support members of the University of Sussex the follow resources are available.


University of Sussex staff can access the Employee Assistance Program.

Organisation Development provide training and resources to support staff mental health. See information for line managers.

Staff can also contact their Human Resources Business Partners for more details on what support is provided. Find your Human Resources Business Partner.


University of Sussex students can access services through the Student Centre.

These services include access to University of Sussex Counseling Service.


Phone 01273 678156


All members of the University of Sussex can take advantage of the support provided by the Chaplaincy services including meditation and mindfulness sessions can be found here

Work-related stress
HS G047 Work related stress guidance

Reporting an incident

If you or someone else has experienced behaviours such as bullying, harassment, a hate incident, sexual violence, domestic abuse or discrimination, you can let us know using this Report and Support tool.

Working at Height


Working at height remains one of the commonest causes of fatalities and serious injuries in the UK. This page outlines the key standards and guidance documents available at the University of Sussex.

There are simple rules for work at height:

  • AVOID work at height if you can - If you don't need to go up there, don't!!
  • If work at height cannot be avoided- PREVENT falls by selecting and using the right access equipment.
  • If you cannot prevent falls- MINIMISE the impact of any fall. Where you cannot eliminate the risk of a fall, use work equipment or other means to minimise the distance and consequences of a fall, should one occur.
  • Steps and ladders can be used when the above methods not appropriate.
  • Always check for fragile roofing materials, these must be protected.

Who can use access equipment on University of Sussex Premises?

Type of equipment

General use

Authorised UoS  staff e.g. engineers or ACCA

SEF and Specialist contractors

Typical controls

Library stools


Library steps


A-frame steps





Tower scaffolds and MEWPs


Contact Health and Safety if required

PASMA or IPAF qualification



Access only


Lanyard and Harnesses


Contact Health and Safety if required

Fixing points and running lines must be certified


University of Sussex Documents 


Health and Safety Executive - Work at Height

For Advice and Assistance, contact the Health & Safety Team

Workplace Environment

A safe work place

This page outlines some of the key aspects of maintaining a safe work place. The focus is on general workplaces with additional or in some cases different controls for specialist areas.

Workplace maintenance

Your workplace should be:

  • In good repair and maintained so that it is safe and works efficiently.
  • Provided with enough space for safe movement and access.
  • Maintained to ensure floors, corridors and stairs etc. are free of obstructions, e.g. trailing cables.
  • Provided with good drainage in wet processes


The facility should be provided with lighting which:

  • Is good light – natural light where possible and measures to avoid glare.
  • Includes local lighting at workstations where necessary.
  • Includes suitable forms of emergency lighting.
  • Ensures well-lit stairs and corridors
  • Ensures well-lit outside areas – for pedestrians and to help with work activities such as loading/unloading at night.

Safe movement around the premises

Measures will include:

  • Safe passage for pedestrians and vehicles – separate routes may be necessary.
  • Level, even floors and surfaces without holes or broken boards.
  • Hand-rails on stairs and ramps where necessary.
  • Safely constructed doors and gates.
  • Floors and surfaces which are not slippery.
  • Minimisation of risks caused by snow and ice on outdoor routes, e.g. use salt or sand and sweep them.

Maintaining a clean workplace

Workplaces will be maintained to ensure:

  • Floors and stairs are clean, with effective drainage where necessary.
  • Premises kept clean, including furniture and fittings.
  • Containers for waste materials.
  • Dirt, refuse and trade waste are regularly removed.
  • Spillages are promptly cleaned up.
  • Internal walls and ceilings are kept clean.

Glazing, windows and sky lights

Measures include:

  • Safety glass where necessary
  • Windows capable of being opened can be opened, closed or adjusted safely.
  • All windows and skylights are designed and constructed so that they may be cleaned safely.

Hygiene and welfare

Provisions include:

  • Clean toilets and hand basins, with running hot and cold or warm water, soap and towels or another suitable means of drying.
  • Drinking water.
  • Somewhere to rest and eat meals, including facilities for eating food which would otherwise become contaminated.
  • Accommodation or hanging space for personal clothing not worn at work (and somewhere to change if special clothing is worn for work).
  • Rest facilities for pregnant women and nursing mothers.

Comfortable working environment

Work environments will be:

  • A reasonable working temperature within workplaces inside buildings (usually at least 16 °C, or 13 °C for strenuous work, unless it is impractical to do so, e.g. in certain temperature controlled laboratories).
  • Local heating or cooling where a comfortable temperature cannot be maintained throughout each workroom (e.g. hot and cold processes).
  • Good ventilation – a sufficient supply of fresh, clean air drawn from outside or a ventilation system.
  • Heating systems which do not give off dangerous or offensive levels of fume into the workplace
  • Enough workspace, including suitable workstations and seating.

Working at height

The following controls will be put in place:

  • Precautions to prevent people or materials falling from open edges, e.g. fencing or guard rails.
  • Fence or cover floor openings, e.g. vehicle examination pits, when not in use.

Reporting issues

Any issues should be reported to the SEF Service Centre

Workplace health, safety and welfare (L24)