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This Health and Safety Notice should be read and understood by all staff of Oxford Brookes University. Where appropriate it should also be brought to the attention of the student body.
Under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 (Sections 2 & 3) and the Management of Health & Safety at work Regulations (Regulation 3), Deans of Faculty Directors of Directorates, as employers, are responsible for the health, safety and welfare at work of their staff and the health and safety of those affected by the work.
These responsibilities cannot be transferred to staff that work alone or without close supervision. Deans of Faculties/Directors of Directorates must be aware of any specific legal requirements applying to work in their area and they must arrange that the necessary equipment, information, instruction, training and supervision are provided to ensure that those requirements are met. Information is available from the Safety Team.
Under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 (Section 7), staff and students have responsibilities to take reasonable care of themselves and others affected by their work and to co-operate with their Deans of Faculty / Directors of Directorate in the discharge of their legal obligations.
Working alone can happen at any time but the risks inherent in working alone after the University has officially closed will be greatly increased and this must be taken into consideration when undertaking the risk assessment. (Appendix 2 for guidelines)
Establishing safe working arrangements for lone workers is no different from organising the safety of other staff. The Deans of Faculties/Directors of Directorates must assess the risks of working alone. Risk Assessment (OBUHSN-36), will confirm whether the lone worker can actually do the work safely.
In certain circumstances, particularly when the risks detailed in the section above (Safe system of work) are considered too high or where specific legal requirements exist, written permission to carry out the work may be required in the form of a Permit to Work.
One aspect of Health and Safety that is often overlooked is that of personal safety. Many staff/students of the University work in an environment that could be potentially unsafe. This is especially true of staff/students who work alone, either on campus or off-site. Line managers must use the guidelines in Appendix 2 while undertaking a risk assessment to ascertain the level of risk that staff may be exposed to and then take appropriate action. This may include:
Every incidence of lone working will be unique to the individual. Although every incidence of lone working requires assessing, generic risk assessments can be used as a basis. The assessments should be reviewed and modified as required.
Staff and students have a duty not to put themselves or others at risk by their actions or omissions.
Certain members of staff are permitted, from time to time, to carry out their duties for Oxford Brookes University from home. The Health and Safety Executive’s guidance on designated home working states that “most of the regulations made under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 apply to home workers
Guidelines which provide a framework within which employees and management can agree arrangements for working at or from home can be found here.
The Health & Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 place a general responsibility on employers to provide appropriate first-aid facilities. If a lone worker sustains a minor injury, they may be able to use a first aid box or telephone for assistance. However, a more serious injury may mean that the worker cannot help him or herself or use the telephone.
Training is particularly important where there is limited supervision to control, guide and help the individual in situations of uncertainty. It may be critical to avoid panic reactions in unusual situations. Lone workers need to understand fully the risks involved in the work, the necessary precautions and be sufficiently experienced. Deans of Faculties/Directors of Directorates should establish clear procedures to set the limits to what can and cannot be done while working alone.
Deans of Faculties/Directors of Directorates should ensure that written details are kept of specialist training provided and qualifications awarded to staffs engaged in lone working. These may range from simple records of verbal or practical instruction on, for e.g. emergency procedures to full training schedules for safe operation of machinery.
Although lone workers cannot be subject to constant supervision, it is still the duty of a Dean of Faculty/Director of Directorate to provide appropriate control of the work. The extent of supervision required depends on the risks involved and the proficiency and experience of the worker (staff or student) to identify and handle safety issues. Students, and staffs new to the job, undergoing training, doing a job which presents special risks, or dealing with new situations may need to be accompanied at first. The extent of supervision required is a decision for the Dean of Faculty/Director of Directorate. It should not be left to individuals (staff or students) to decide what level of advice, supervision or assistance they require.
Deans of Faculties/Directors of Directorates should establish clear procedures to set limits of what can and what cannot be done while working alone. Clearly this is impossible to define in general terms, but Deans of Faculties/Directors of Directorates should specify how to behave in circumstances which are new, unusual or beyond the scope of the individual's current state of training e.g. decide to stop work and seek the advice of a supervisor.
Lone workers should be capable of responding correctly in emergency situations. Emergency procedures should be established and lone workers trained to implement them. Information about emergency procedures should be given to lone contract workers who visit University premises. Lone workers should have access to adequate first-aid facilities and mobile workers (e.g. drivers) should carry a first-aid kit suitable for treating minor injuries. Following the risk assessment suitable systems should be devised to monitor the condition of lone workers. In addition it is desirable to consider:
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