Frequently asked questions about Health and Safety

  • Health and safety

  • Prof Alistair Fitt has ultimate responsibility for Health & Safety but all staff have their own responsibility for ensuring the Health & Safety of themselves and anyone who can be affected by their actions.
  • Health, safety and welfare committee

  • The Health, Safety and Welfare Committee consists of about 20 – 25 staff members, including all 3 members of the Health & Safety team. 

    The committee discusses aspects of Health, Safety and Welfare across the University. The Health & Safety present an annual report and also report on any inspections that have been completed in the Faculties/Directorates.

    A member from each Faculty/Directorate attends this committee meeting and Brendan Casey, Registrar and Chief Operating Officer is the chair.

    The committee meets 3 times a year, with optional meetings if needed.
  • Emergencies, accidents and incidents

  • If the emergency is imminent and/or you have contacted the emergency service, please contact Security on 01865 483060 or Ext: 3060 and explain the situation.  Remember to keep safe, report all incidents, see 'How do I report an accident/incident/near miss?', and inform your line manager or supervisor as soon as possible.

    You must report: 

    • Deaths and injuries caused by workplace accidents, 
    • Occupational diseases, 
    • Exposure to carcinogens mutagens and biological agents,  
    • Dangerous occurrences/near misses, and 
    • Gas incidents eg large releases of gas

    1. Report all accidents involving the emergency services, ie resulting in the injured party being taken to hospital, immediately to the University health and safety team (healthandsafety@brookes.ac.uk).  Then follow up by submitting or sending your completed 'Report of an Incident, Accident, Dangerous Occurrence or Near Miss Form' as soon as possible.

    2. For all other accidents, complete the 'Report of an Incident, Accident, Dangerous Occurrence or Near Miss Form' to reach the health and safety team within 3 days.  It is important to be prompt since it may be necessary for the health and safety team to:

    • report the matter to the statutory enforcing authorities, under RIDDOR 2013
    • initiate either formal or informal investigations/enquiries,
    • record the details for legal and compensation cases.

    3. Forms:

    4. Inform your line manager or supervisor as soon as possible, they will then need to complete Part B (investigation) and send it to the health & safety team within 3 working days.

    5. The health and safety notice "Accident, incident, dangerous occurrence and diseases reporting procedures and investigations, (OBUHSN-11)" will provide further information.  It should be read and understood by all employees of Oxford Brookes University.

    Complete a safety concern form for those incidents that did not lead to an injury or loss.  Report any incident no matter how trivial.  Knowing about these incidents can help us to assess how well we are managing health and safety, and identify worrying trends. They can help us to identify hot spots that require our attention and so prevent serious incidents from occurring.
    • You must contact Security on 01865 483060 or Ext: 3060 and inform them of the situation, the location of the injured person, and that you have called the emergency services.  Request a first aider as necessary.

    • If other people can help, post someone to look out for the ambulance.

    • Report incidents, see 'How do I report an accident/incident/near miss?'
    If you need to send someone to hospital via taxi, remember to ensure you give the exact details to the taxi firm where you need the taxi to arrive and also informing security on 01865 483060 or Ext: 3060 of your locations. Telling security of your location will help in case the taxi arrives at a different entrance. Wait with the person until the taxi arrives and ensure they are in the vehicle before you leave. 
    Contact Security on 01865 483060 or Ext: 3060 who will be able to tell you who your nearest First Aider.
    Yes, you do need to inform your line manager that you have been involved in an incident/accident. If this happened in your workplace they may need to review their procedures and risk assessment.
    Occupational Health is responsible for the University first aid boxes. If there are items that are missing, please contact Occupational Health
  • Display screen equipment

  • Firstly you must have attended the mandatory Display Screen Equipment training, you would have been invited to this training when you started your role at Oxford Brookes University. To reclaim eye costs you need to complete the eye reimbursement form and email it with a copy of your receipt to hrteam-employeeservices@brookes.ac.uk
    Contact your Faculty/Directorate DSE Assessor, they will be able to give you additional advice and review your original DSE assessment. If the pain continues or gets worse you may need to speak to Occupational Health and/or speak to your GP.
    Speak to your line manager about arranging for your laptop to be PAT tested.
  • Training

  • All new starters must attend Health & Safety Induction, Display Screen Equipment & Welcome to Brookes. (Depending on your role at the University you may need to attend additional training specific to your role, please speak to your line manager)
    We also offer other training: Manual Handling, Risk Assessment, COSHH, Fire Marshal, Evac-Chair operator, Noise Awareness.
  • Fire safety

  • You must evacuate the building via the nearest fire exit. Remember to close office doors when you leave.
    If the alarm is sounding in a neighbouring building but is not sounding in your building, you do not need to evacuate your area. Only evacuate the building if the alarm is sounding in your building. Never enter a building where the fire alarm is sounding unless you have fire marshal duties.
    Close the door to the area the fire is in, activate the nearest ‘red’ call point box and evacuate the building. Alert the emergency services and contact security on X3060 immediately.
  • Risk assessments

  • You should carry out an assessment before you begin any work/activity/event which presents a risk of injury or ill health
    • You can find more information on our website at: Risk Assessment

    • Here is a draft template:  OBUHSN36

    • You can arrange for risk assessment training by completing the training request form or

    • Contact the Health & Safety team (healthandsafety@brookes.ac.uk)

    To undertake a risk assessment you need to understand what, in the work/activity or event, might cause harm to people and decide whether you are doing enough to prevent that harm. Once you have decided that, you need to identify and prioritise putting in place appropriate and sensible control measures.

    Start by:

    • identifying what can harm people in your workplace

    • identifying who might be harmed and how

    • evaluating the risks and deciding on the appropriate controls, taking into consideration the controls you already have in place

    • recording your risk assessment

    Your risk assessment should include consideration of what in your workplace/activity or at your event might cause harm and how, and the people who might be affected. It should take into account any controls which are already in place and identify what, if any, further controls are required.

    You should be able to show from your assessment that:

    • A proper check has been made.

    • All people who may be affected have been considered.

    • All significant risks have been assessed

    • The precautions are reasonable

    • The remaining risk is low

    Your risk assessment should cover all groups of people who might be harmed. 

    • Think about staff who may be involved with the activity/event. Will it need to be set up, furniture moved, heavy lifting by staff?  Will it need to be packed away, who will be doing this?

    • Think about who will be attending the activity/event? Is it staff only or are students allowed to attend? Is the activity/event open to the public? Quantity of people who might attend? Are they familiar with the entrances and exits of the area? Are there enough facilities? Age of the attendees? If school children, are there travelling adults/teachers?

    • Think about people with disabilities whose disability may mean that reasonable adjustments are needed to enable them to attend and minimise risks.

    Yes, please complete the training request Google form and one of the Health & Safety team will contact you.
    The University risk assessment template can be found here: Example of Risk Assessment
    Your risk assessment should be approved by your line manager and the Health & Safety team prior to your event or activity. Please make sure you allow plenty of time (3 weeks!) for the Health & Safety to read your risk assessment and respond. A risk assessment is a living document and you need to ensure that you have plenty of time to write it, revise it, approve it and review it before/during and after any activity/event.
  • Reporting a maintenance defect

  • Raise a work order via ServiceNow for ECS. Please detail the issue so they are aware of the situation.
  • Overseas travel

  • Workplace risk assessments whether for overseas or UK off-site work should cover all elements of the research interaction, for example including but not limited to: 

    • Travel Risk Assessment: use of public/commercial transport links to reach the overseas destination and any exit strategy and any quarantine requirements; 
    • Research Organisation Risk Assessment: communicating with participants and colleagues, arranging the visit, booking the venue and facility, process to check COVID symptoms prior to visit, at visit and following visit; 
    • Venue Risk Assessment: transport to and from the venue, arriving and leaving the venue, being at the venue; 
    • Facility Risk Assessment: arriving and leaving the facility, driver/carer waiting at the venue, room risk assessment; 
    • Research Activity Risk Assessment: this will include detailed risk assessments and protocols for all activities to be performed. 

    Covid-19 risk assessments produced by collaborators and host organisations should be included with your workplace risk assessment document and submitted to the health and safety team for review and approval. Click to access the form: Covid-19 workplace risk assessment.


    Who should I talk to about travelling and working overseas, fieldwork and outdoor education work placements?

    You should talk to your Supervisor or Line Manager in the first instance, if you still require further information please contact the health and safety team on healthandsafety@brookes.ac.uk

    I am planning to travel and work overseas/arrange fieldwork and outdoor education/arrange some work placements. What documents and processes do I follow?

    Download the Travelling and Working Overseas / Fieldwork and Outdoor Education / Work Placement - Flowchart below and click onto the relevant boxes to access the policy and forms.  Please read the relevant policy fully.

    What risk assessment form do I use for my Travelling and Working Overseas/Fieldwork and Outdoor Education/Work Placement?

    Please download the Travelling and Working Overseas / Fieldwork and Outdoor Education / Work Placement - Flowchart, then click the relevant risk assessment box to access the document.

    What risks and hazards do I need to consider when planning my overseas trip?

    Consult the FCO (Foreign & Commonwealth) website.

    Consult control Risks (CR24) www.controlrisks.com - an international business risk consultancy, which provides general advice and assistance.  

    Download the Travelling and Working Overseas/Fieldwork and Outdoor Education / Work Placement - Flow chart and click on the relevant useful links box.  

    University - Travel checklist 

    Key Travel - Safe business travel  (contains Covid-19 guidance)

    Your Faculty/Directorate’s process for considering the ethics of the proposed research must be followed. Due consideration must be given to the appropriateness of travelling during the pandemic.  

    • The arrangements for resuming research activities for staff and students is the responsibility of a Head of Department or Centre Lead who identifies activities and settings for approval.  

    • This person also identifies a Risk Assessment Lead to lead the risk assessment process.  Note: in some cases further approval may be required from Covid Secure.

    • Once a decision to proceed has been reached, the details must be added to the University Covid-19 risk assessment tracker by the Head of Department or Centre Lead.   

    • You will also need to  prepare a covid-19 workplace risk assessment.  

    Consider the following when assessing accommodation and when mitigating risks.  The list is not exhaustive:

    • What will staff and students need to do in the accommodation?
    • Can staff and students’ special needs be accommodated? Including special dietary needs.
    • Check food hygiene standards
    • Check cleanliness
    • Contaminated drinking water
    • Fire escape routes, fire precautions, fire fighting equipment.
    • First aid provision
    • Compatibility of electrical equipment
    • Balconies - take a critical look and note any hazards, take care
    • Glass panels may not be toughened or marked to make them easy to spot
    • Lifts - some do not have inside doors
    • Swimming pools - don’t swim after heavy meals or drinking alcohol, alone or where you can’t see the bottom of the pool.
    Please ask your line manager or supervisor for help and advice on completing the form in the first instance. The Health & Safety Team can offer further support and advice if you have more questions. 

    During the Covid-19 pandemic all staff and some research students potentially involved in data collection activities must complete an individual health risk assessment.

    If you are travelling outside the EU or North America - please complete: Part C – Travel Health Assessment and return it to Occupational Health, with a copy of your travel form.  Approval will not be given until you have done this.  This form is confidential - please send it directly to Occupational Health and nowhere else.

    All drivers must read the Minibus drivers policy and complete a Drivers Medical Form (contact Occupational Health about the medical). There are specific legal requirements that apply which drivers must meet.  Contact the Health and Safety Team for further information.