Health and Safety in Offices

  • OBUHSN-30 Issue 04 April 2009


    1. This Health and Safety Notice should be read and understood by all employees of Oxford Brookes University.
    2. This Health and Safety Notice covers health and safety in offices where administration, secretarial or academic book and paperwork are carried out, and where no machinery beyond that used for writing, calculating, printing and copying e.g. (computer terminals, personal computers, calculators, printers and photocopiers etc.) are used or stored.

    Legal requirements

    1. Under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (Section 2), Workplace Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations. The employer has a duty to ensure the health safety and welfare at work of all employees
    2. The Dean of Faculty/Director of Directorate will be responsible for making whatever arrangements considered necessary to ensure the health safety and welfare at work of all the Faculty/Directorate staff.
    3. For offices to comply with health and safety requirements several statutory regulations must be complied with. Some regulations are dealt with in separate Health and Safety Notices. To help the Dean of Faculty / Director of Directorate implement the regulations this Health and Safety Notice provides the guidance required to maintain a healthy and safe office.

    General requirements

    1. Under the Workplace Health, Safety & Welfare Regulations there are many requirements which apply to offices. Oxford Brookes University accepts its responsibilities for those requirements that will facilitate healthy, safe and comfortable offices. The main requirements are listed below.

    Manual handling

    1. According to the Health and Safety Executive, manual handling accidents are a major cause of time loss injuries. The Manual Handling Operating Regulations require that all manual handling tasks be assessed. There is a requirement that;

    Display screen equipment (DSE)

    1. Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations requires that display screen equipment and its users are assessed. There is a requirement that;

    Office equipment

    1. The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations require that work equipment be suitable, sufficient, used and maintained correctly. The Dean of Faculty/Director of Directorate will need to ensure that;

    Electrical equipment

    1. All fixed and portable electrical equipment has to conform to the Electricity at Work Regulations, the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations and must be wired in accordance with IEE (Institution of Electrical Engineering) Regulations (16th Edition). There is a requirement that;

    Fire precautions

    1. The raw material for offices is paper. Paper is flammable and single sheets are easily ignited. Modern offices are full of electrical equipment that generate heat and have the potential to start fires. The best fire precaution is prevention. There is a need to ensure that;

    Good housekeeping

    1. Design the office layout with safety in mind. A tidy well laid out office will be more efficient and safe. There is a need to ensure that;


    1. Pets or other similar animals (except guide dogs, see below) are not allowed to be brought onto the University premises.

    Procedure to resolve problems or disagreements

    1. In the event of a query or dispute arising over a health and safety matter in the office, further advice can be sought from the Faculty/Directorate Safety Advisor, Safety Officer/Senior Occupational Health Advisor.

    Training and information

    1. Where a need is identified, health and safety training will be provided. It will be the responsibility of Deans of Faculties/Directors of Directorates and the line managers to ensure that all appropriate members of staff receive training. Details on all health and safety training are available from the Health and Safety Team or OCSLD, Directorate of Human Resources.