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Home School documents Safety Manual   1. School Policy Statement
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School of Physics Safety Manual


The School

The School of Physics (the School) is committed to the provision of a healthy and safe workplace and work environment for all employees, students, contractors, visitors, and members of the general public who may be affected by the work of the School.

The Head of School recognises and accepts this responsibility, and undertakes so far as is reasonably practicable to:

  • Ensure the Health, Safety and welfare of employees whilst they are at work, and other persons who may be affected by the work of the School.
  • Comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) together with other relevant legislation and legal requirements.
  • Provide the necessary resources to ensure that proper provision is made for health, safety and welfare.
  • Regularly monitor the workplace and work activities to ensure the effectiveness of the Health and Safety policy and to ensure that safe systems of work exist and are followed by employees, students and visitors.
  • Liaise with Buildings and Estates so that the University may provide and maintain the premises and all items of plant, equipment and machinery ensuring systems of work that are safe and without risks to health.
  • Where applicable, provide and maintain appropriate and sufficient personal protective equipment and health monitoring devices.
  • Provide such training, information, instruction and supervision for new and existing employees so as to ensure their health and safety whilst at work, together with the health and safety of others who may be affected by their actions.
  • Carry out risk assessments, maintain records and review and revise as necessary in accordance with the legal requirements.
  • Provide and maintain First Aid services adequate to the School’s operations.
  • Maintain statutory measures for fire prevention and liaise with Buildings and Estates so that suitable, sufficient and adequate fire fighting equipment is supplied with appropriate systems and protocols employed for emergency evacuation.
  • Consult with employees and their representatives on matters relating to health and safety.
  • Maintain records of, and take appropriate action as a result of, all accidents and incidents.
  • Ensure that adequate provision is made for the proper use, handling, storage and transportation of articles and substances so that they are safe and without risk to health.
  • Provide health surveillance to personnel where appropriate.

To achieve the above statement the Head of School will:

  • Appoint a School Safety Officer and other nominated staff with specific Health and Safety duties as appropriate.
  • Maintain a consultative Safety Group to administer safety matters, set safety targets, co-ordinate safety inspections, and monitor safety performance within the School, in consultation with University Health and Safety Officers as appropriate.
  • Ensure all levels of management are aware of their Health and Safety responsibilities and their obligations to provide and maintain as far as is reasonable practical, safe systems of work.
  • Ensure all employees understand their individual statutory duties under relevant legislation so securing as far as is reasonably practicable the Health, Safety and Welfare of themselves and other persons with whom they are in contact at work.
  • Establish and maintain lines of communication throughout the School, consulting with employees as and when required to secure their co-operation and aid the effective monitoring of safety matters.
  • Maintain a proactive attitude regarding safety criteria when consideration is given to refurbishing existing or planning new premises.
  • Review this policy on a regular basis to ensure that legal compliance with new or existing legislation is maintained, in consultation with University Health and Safety Officers as appropriate.

Staff and students

Supervisory staff are responsible for statutory compliance in their areas of responsibility. This involves identifying and ensuring compliance with safe schemes of work, and includes responsibility for the safety of students in their laboratory/area, and for ensuring that aall Postgraduate students and new research staff under their supervision have attended general induction and appropriate further safety training.

All other staff have a duty to take reasonable care for the health and safety of themselves and others who may be affected by their actions and omissions. They have a duty to comply with relevant regulations and the School’s arrangements for Health and Safety.

The School has a duty of care towards students and they are offered the same health and safety protection as employees. In return, students also have a duty to take reasonable care for the health and safety of themselves and others who may be affected by their actions and omissions, and students are required to comply with the School’s arrangements for Health and Safety.

Research students must consult their academic supervisors about all their practical work in order that the potential hazards may be assessed and suitable safety precautions taken. Further discussion with appropriate Safety Officers or Advisers, or the Head of School may be necessary for some experiments.

All staff and students have a duty to ensure that they are working in a safe manner, and to bring to the attention of their immediate supervisor, Safety Officer or representative, any matter or practice they consider to be dangerous or unsafe. All have a duty to attend Health and Safety mandated training provided by the University and/or the School.

Risk Assessment

The essence of Health and Safety policy is that all work procedures which expose any person to a significant hazard are to be assessed for risk and appropriate control measures adopted. Upon identifying a hazard, there should be a written and recorded risk assessment which concludes by identifying a safe system of work. This is covered in detail within the University’s Guidance Notes for the Management of Health and Safety At Work which includes a risk assessment form for general use. Specific procedures and forms are introduced for particular circumstances, such as handling substances hazardous to health (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) procedures), in managing work where this is risk of radiation, for manual handling tasks, and for work associated with lasers. All University policies, codes of practice, guidance notes and risk assessment forms can be obtained via the documentation page of the Health, Safety and Environment Office website.

All persons carrying out a risk assessment must be satisfied that they have sufficient expertise and experience to be able to recognize potential hazards. It is the person undertaking the work/procedure who has the responsibility to ensure that this is the case before starting work. In the case of students, the assessment of risk should be done by the supervisor and the students must be made aware of all the potential hazards and the detailed requirements of the safe system of work.

Contractors and Visitors

The School is committed to ensuring the Health, Safety and Welfare of contractors and visitors whilst they are on the School’s premises. Any restricted areas will be clearly defined and where necessary restraints (e.g. barriers) installed. All School employees have a responsibility to ensure such areas are respected. Authorised contractors coming on to the premises will be advised by the School of its Health and Safety policy but it is the responsibility of the contractor to ensure that their employees are fully aware of the contents of the Safety Manual as it affects them in their work. All contractors must supply the School with a copy of their Health and Safety policy, scheme of work and other relevant statutory registers or documentation if requested.

School Safety Organisation

The Vice Chancellor together with the Registrar and Secretary of the University has executive responsibility for safety in the University. The University Health and Safety Policy outlines these responsibilities. The University Health and Safety Officer and assistants advise members of the University on safety matters. The Head of the School of Physics has executive responsibility within the School, and delegates the implementation of regulations to staff with specific responsibility in certain areas; the School Safety Officer, the Director of Building, the School Radiation Protection Officer, the School Laser Safety Officer, Laser Safety Supervisors, Radiation Protection Supervisors, and general supervisory staff.

Terms of reference for (H&S) for the Head of School, Director of Building and School Safety Officer are contained within the University Health and Safety Policy. Terms of reference for the School Laser Safety Officer, and Laser Safety Supervisors are contained within University of Exeter Local Rules for the use of Lasers and the Association of University Radiation Protection Officers “Guidance on the Safe Use of Lasers in Education and Research”. Terms of reference for the School Radiation Protection Officer and Radiation Protection Supervisors are contained within University of Exeter Use of Radiation and Radionuclides Codes of Practice and Guidance Notes.

School Safety Group

The School Safety Group is an advisory group set up in order to promote an effective safety culture within the School and provide the guidance to ensure a safe working environment iaw relevant legislation and University safety policies and procedures, by:

  • monitoring incidents and accidents and advising the Head of School on safety issues arising, in consultation with University Health and Safety Officers as appropriate
  • maintaining appropriate Health and Safety documentation
  • ensuring adequate training is provided to new joiners
  • reviewing risk assessments and conducting safety inspections to assure that hazards have been properly identified and appropriate control measures implemented to minimise risk
  • providing points of contact for staff to seek advice in specific areas of Health and Safety

The Group is comprised of the following staff with their functions as shown, and meets once per term to enable report to the School meeting and Management Committee.

Mr D Colridge, School Electrical Adviser

Dr H Dehghani, School Radiation Protection Officer

Mrs E Green, School COSHH Adviser

Mr D Jarvis, School Safety Officer

Mr D Manning, School Cryogenic Safety Adviser

Dr J Moger, School Laser Safety Officer

Professor T Naylor, Head of School

Mr S Trotter, School Manager and Director of Building

Mr S Tuckett, School Workshop Supervisor

Mr Colridge and Mrs Green are also Radiation Protection Supervisors for Teaching Laboratories and Biomedical Physics respectively. Additionally, Mrs L Barrell, Mr R Edge and Mr M Wears are qualified First Aiders within the School.


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