UCL Department of Geography


Arrangements for management of Hazards and Activities


1. Accident reporting

All accidents/incidents must be reported - even if no one has sustained any injuries. Accident Reports should be filled out online using the RiskNet system on the UCL Safety Services web page.


In the event of a serious accident as little as possible should be handled or moved and the accident must be reported at once to the DSO, who will notify the Safety Services and arrange for a full investigation to be carried out.

The Head of Unit/Supervisor, in consultation with the DSO, will investigate all reported accidents.

The Head of Unit/Supervisor, will implement any follow-up action required to prevent similar accidents in the future.

Any equipment or product (including disposable items) involved in an accident or incident must be retained and where possible left in situ, pending investigation.

Additional information is available from the UCL Safety Services Web Pages.

2. Allergens

Be cautious of the first signs of allergic reaction and DO NOT ignore them. If aware of an allergy, carry any necessary medication. Be aware that some forms of anti-histamine can cause drowsiness. If affected do not operate machinery or drive. If on fieldwork, do not continue. It is possible to become sensitised to various substances with time. If you suspect this to be happening, report it immediately to the DSO (ext 30551)

See Sensitisers

3. Building Maintenance/Building Works in the Department

Any member of the Department who becomes aware of a maintenance problem should inform the DSO (ext 30551) or  Maria Rodriguez (DFA, ext 30511). If the problem can be regarded as an immediate safety hazard, report the matter via the Risknet incident reporting module and also inform the DSO immediately. A record of the problem will be kept along with the subsequent actions of the Maintenance Office. Problems associated with refurbishment/building works should be reported in the first instance to Maria Rodriguez (DFA).

4. Consultation

Any changes in working practice which may involve a change in the current risk assessment for the task should be discussed initially with the worker's line manager. Following this discussion advice should be sought from the safety representative. This could be the DSO or a member of the Safety Committee where appropriate.

Members of the Department who wish to raise a safety issue may do so by approaching any member of the safety committee. Students may also raise issues via their representative on the SSCC

See also Departmental Safety Committee

5. Contractors

Any problems arising from contractors working in the Department are to be reported to Maria Rodriguez (ext30511) or the DSO (ext 30551) at once, who will then contact the Estates and Facilities Department (NB Always ask the contractor for the Project Officer's name for possible future reference).

Contractors working on behalf of the Department (service engineers etc.) must be briefed on local safety arrangements upon arrival. This information is particularly important should the contractors be working on their own without a member of staff present. The following information must be included in the briefing:

How to report an emergency

  • Who to contact within the department
  • Where the nearest telephone can be found
  • When to Dial 222 from an internal phone

Evacuation in case of a fire

  • Where are the nearest fire exits?
  • Where is the assembly point?
  • Who to report to once out of the building?

Access and storage

  • The importance of maintaining clear access in corridors/fire escapes
  • The importance of keeping fire doors/security doors closed
  • Contractors must be made aware of access limitations in the laboratory areas and must report to a member of the lab team if access is required.


6. Control of Access

Access to the Department is controlled by a swipe card/keypad system. Swipe cards can be obtained from Access Systems once the relevant permission has been gained from a Departmental signatory (M. Rodriguez, S. Keay or the H o D). These cards are coded to give access at specified times of the day, usually during normal working hours. Should access be required out of normal working hours, further permission needs to be gained and the cards will be updated accordingly (see out-of-hours working).

For reasons of Safety and security, it is essential that cards are not loaned to other people and that door codes are not disclosed to those not authorised to have them. It is also essential that people coming into the Department ensure that they are not followed through the doors by others who do not have the authorisation to be in the building

The Basement Laboratory is regarded as a hazardous area and the entry arrangements can be found in the Laboratory User Manual on the laboratory web pages. All visitors should report to the Lab Supervisor (B16) before entering the laboratories.

7. Co-operation between Organisations

Other Departments and organisations must be informed of works/activities which may affect them. Please inform the Departmental Finance Administrator, DFA (Maria Rodriguez tel 30511) if there is any work or activities which you undertake which may affect the safety of other Departments. The DFA will contact the relevant people.

Any member of the Department of Geography working in another Department/organisation must comply with the safety policy of the host Department/organisation. Where such arrangements are perceived to be inadequate, the worker should defer to the Dept. of Geography arrangements and report such omissions to the Director of the host organisation. Any guest worker from another Department/organisation must comply with our safety policy. It is the responsibility of their supervisor within the Department to carry out a safety induction and to ensure they have a copy of the DSSP and understand our safety procedures.

8. Dangerous Goods Transportation

Advice on the Transportation of Dangerous goods may be obtained from UCL Safety Services. These include any flammable solvents/chemicals and compressed gases. Alcohol for use as a preservative in the field will not be issued in amounts above those that can legally be transported under these regulations.

9. Disabilities

Disabilities may be classified as temporary (for example someone who has an injury that requires the use of crutches for a short period of time) or permanent. This may involve impairment of mobility, hearing, sight etc. In all cases a risk assessment must be carried out to identify the needs of the individual (forms available from UCL web pages) and suitable arrangements must be made to accommodate these needs. Special areas of assessment include arrangements in the event of a fire or other building evacuation procedures. A designated place of safety must be agreed for those unable to be safely escorted from the building. NOTE for Bedford Way Building - if the route is clear, the designated place of safety may be through the fire doors at the south end of each corridor into the Institute of Education Building. It is essential that the emergency services are immediately informed of the whereabouts of anyone who is left in the building. It is recommended that a "buddying" system be instigated, whereby another individual will know the whereabouts of the disabled person at all times and will be able to ensure that assistance is available to them in case of emergency.

10. Display Screen Equipment

Work-stations will be assessed by a member of the computer support team (tel: 30530) if: 1) a new member of staff joins the department, 2) an individual working environment changes and/or 3) an individual starts to develop health problems. The Individual should first carry out a self-assessment of their workstation using the RiskNet tools on the UCL safety webpage. Following this, a trained assessor will provide advice on how to improve one's working environment to minimise any health problems. Their advice will be both verbal and written and MUST be heeded. Staff are also made aware of the best advice regarding working with display screens, e.g. frequent breaks, provision of other types of work. If you are having any problems using your VDU, i.e. pain in your back, arms or hands, contact Ajay Chauhan and they will assess your working environment as soon as possible. Anyone who thinks they may have even the very initial stages of RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) must report this to the DSO and should be referred by their line manager to the Occupational Health Service immediately using the forms available on the HR website. Any further advice may be obtained from the Occupational Health Service (ext. 32802) and from Safety Services.

11. Electrical Equipment Safety

New electrical equipment should be of an approved and safe standard e.g. kite-marked or CE-marked. New equipment should also be subject to an informal visual inspection before use, including plugs, cables, wires, casings and the condition of the equipment. If any faults occur the equipment must be removed from use. Any faults outside of the laboratories must be reported to the DFA (Maria Rodriguez, tel 30511), who will store the faulty equipment and attempt to arrange a timely repair or replacement.

PAT testing is carried out at regular intervals and is arranged through BOC. Any item of equipment that fails the PAT test should be disposed of immediately or repaired and presented for re-test.

Any electrical equipment brought into the department by individuals for personal use must either be boxed and brand new or must be submitted for PAT testing before use.

Additional information is available from the section of UCL Safety Web Pages

12. Emergency Situations

In all emergencies phone 222.

An emergency instruction sheet is displayed by each fire extinguisher and by all fire exits as well as on the Safety notice board.

13. Events

All events carried out within or organised by the Department must be assessed for risk and appropriate control measures put into place. Safety arrangements for the event should be brought to the attention of participants either in the form of an introductory talk or by way of clearly displayed notices. UCL provides full guidance on the UCL Estates pages.

14. Exhibitions

Risk Assessments should be completed and a competent person nominated to oversee the event. Safety arrangements for the event should be brought to the attention of participants either in the form of an introductory talk or by way of clearly displayed notices.

The University provides guidance on the UCL Estates pages.

15. Field trips and off-site working

All Staff and students are directed to abide by the fieldwork guidelines provided by Safety Services. These can be found on the UCL Estates pages.

Anyone planning fieldwork should download and fill in the tick list for off-site work from the Safety Services pages.

This will guide the planner through the actions necessary for all off-site work

Guidance for Fieldwork Risk Assessments can be found on our Risk Assessment pages. No fieldwork can be carried out without a current risk assessment.

16. Fire Safety

All members of staff and postgraduate students must attend annual training in fire safety. During the training, they will be required to fill out a form indicating that they have received appropriate training in certain areas. This training is building-specific and will be carried out by an authorised member of the department. Copies of the forms will be kept by the DSO. To arrange training, contact the DSO (ext 30551). This training is mandatory

The training will ensure that staff are aware of the assembly areas in the event of the fire alarm sounding and that they are aware of exit routes, however, the Department has appointed Fire Evacuation Marshals who will in the event of the fire alarms being sounded, direct people to the nearest/safest exit. The FEMs are issued with hi-vis vests for ease of identification. If you are instructed to leave the building by a FEM, you should do so as quickly as possible without waiting to collect personal belongings.

In the event of discovering a fire 1) press the fire alarm and 2) leave the building.


Fire Wardens

Listed below are those that have undergone training as Fire Evacuation Marshals. The training should be refreshed every THREE YEARS by completing the online Moodle training.

Bedford Way

  • Lower Ground Floor: Nick Mann (Senior FEM)
  • Ground Floor: Caroline Bressey
  • First Floor: James Kneale

Assembly Area For Bedford Way is WOBURN SQUARE, beyond the exit ramp or outside the IoE in Bedford Way.

North-West Wing

  • Basement: Bonnie Atkinson
  • Ground Floor: Peter Jones / Maria Rodriguez/Miles Irving (Senior FEM)
  • First Floor: Mat Disney
  • Second Floor: Mark Maslin /Jan Axmacher
  • Third Floor North End: Rooms only to be used when a member of staff is present to assist with evacuation: Mark Maslin

The assembly area for North-West Wing is FRONT QUAD, away from the building

Third Floor South End

The following information should be passed on to all Undergraduate students and taught graduate students at the beginning of their first lecture in a series.

  • Details of the Fire Action Notices; this provides important information such as assembly point
  • Importance of fire doors and other basic fire-prevention measures; i.e that fire doors should not be wedged open and not to tamper with fire extinguishers e.g. whilst waiting to go into lectures
  • Importance of reporting to the assembly area
  • Not to use lifts when the alarm is sounding

Additional information is available from the section of UCL Safety Web Pages on Building Fire Safety.

17. First Aid

In the event of an injury being sustained contact one of the Departmental First Aiders. Casualties should be sent or escorted (via taxi or ambulance) to the UCH Accident and Emergency Department (off Gower Street). These transport costs will be met by UCL. You can no longer contact the Occupational Health Service for an immediate response concerning a casualty. However if a Departmental First Aider requires advice on whether or not to send the injured person to the UCH Accident and Emergency Department, then they can telephone the Gower Street Practice (ext (79) 7200). Out of hours send all casualties to the UCH Accident and Emergency Department.

If a Departmental First Aider has been called to an incident, a record should be kept of the name of the First Aider and details of any treatment given.

First Aid treatment within the Department

The following is a list of people within the Department who have gained a First Aid at Work certificate. The qualification lasts for three years from the date taken.


  • Mann, Nicholas rm LG13 (Bedford Way) tel: 25537 (also members of CLIE as listed on notices)
  • Patmore, Ian rm B24 tel: 30563
  • Rose, Neil Rm 205 tel 30543
  • Turner, Simon Rm 201 tel:30522
  • Bennion, Helen Rm 207 tel;30519

Appointed Persons (Basic First Aid training only)
none at present.

In the North-West Wing, First Aid boxes can be found in:

  • The Admin Office (G13)
  • The Basement main lab foyer

An additional first aid kit is kept by the building attendant in the foyer. The Building attendant is also trained in First Aid.

In Bedford Way, The first aid boxes are located in the Map Room and in the security office in the foyer.

18. Integrating incoming groups

There is an induction programme in place to prepare incoming groups for work within the Department. The induction pack can be obtained from the Department Academic Administrator (Suse Keay, ext 30552).

19. Inspections

The DSO and members of the Safety Committee will carry out an inspection of the Department for Safety at least once a year. The Inspections may address different aspects of the work activities of the Department, not solely housekeeping etc. Findings will be reported to the HoD/ Staff Committee meetings for action/remedy. Audits monitor the implementation and compliance with the Department's Safety Arrangements. Safety Services will undertake Safety Audits as appropriate.

A spreadsheet of individual room inspections will be maintained giving details of the RiskNet audit number and any actions arising from the inspections. This will be reviewed by senior management.

20. Inspection, testing and maintenance of safety equipment

All safety-related equipment will be tested annually, but in addition, should be inspected prior to use. If the equipment is not used continually, a maintenance programme should be put in place so that it is tested regularly (at least every three months).

21. Laboratory work

All Staff and students are directed to study the Laboratory User Manual for information on laboratory work and for safety arrangements for work in this area.

22. Lone working

In the event of members of the Department working alone (defined as out of eyesight of another colleague) after 7 pm, or at weekends, it is essential for them to inform the Security of their presence, and of their departure. Lone working in the field is discouraged, but if it is unavoidable then the additional guidelines provided must be followed. These are outlined on the Departmental Web pages on Risk Assessment

Additional information is available from the section of UCL Safety Services Web Pages on After-hours and Lone Working

23. Manual Handling

The following people have been trained in safe manual handling:

  • Nick Mann Bedford Way tel: 25537
  • Ian Patmore (Basement Lab) tel: 30563
  • Miles Irving Drawing office tel: 30516

Mechanical means should be used for moving large and/or heavy objects (trolleys can be borrowed from the Reading Room and the Basement Laboratory once permission has been obtained from the Map Room Supervisor (tel: 25537) or the lab supervisor (30551) respectively). If you assess that you can manually handle the object make sure this is only done once you have taken into account (a) the weight of the object, (b) the person carrying the object, and (c) the distance the object is to be carried. If you wish to attend a UCL Manual Handling course contact the DSO.

24. Noise

If work is to be carried out for extended periods that involve loud or persistent noise, ear defenders must be worn by the worker, and others working in the vicinity should be made aware that the work is going to be carried out so that they may take appropriate action

Any complaint about Noise should be made immediately to Departmental Finance Administrator, DFA (Maria Rodriguez tel 30511) who will pursue the matter with the relevant people/UCL authorities.

25. Office work

Office Risk Assessments should be carried out by the occupant to identify any risks within specific areas. Office equipment (including chairs) should be inspected on a regular basis and faults should be reported to the DFA (ext 30511). Where appropriate, training in manual handling should be undertaken. See also display screen equipment.

26. Out of hours working

No after-hours working is allowed in the Basement Laboratory (See Laboratory User Manual for details). In the event of members of the Department working alone (defined as out of eyesight of another colleague) after 7 pm, or at weekends, it is essential for them to inform Security of their presence, and of their departure. Lone working in the field is discouraged, but if it is unavoidable then the additional guidelines in the risk assessment provided must be followed.

Postgraduate (PhD) students must obtain permission from their supervisors to work outside of normal College hours. Permission forms can be downloaded from the Dept. Safety web pages. A copy of the permission form should be lodged with the DSO. Students are advised to keep a copy of the form on hand as proof of authorisation to work out of hours.

Masters students are not to work in the Department after 7pm or at weekends.

Additional information is available from the section of UCL Safety Services Web Pages on After-hours and Lone Working.

27. Permits to work

Information on safety must be exchanged between the Department and the Estates before any work can be undertaken, contact the Departmental Finance Administrator, DFA ( Maria Rodriguez tel 30511) and the Estates Safety Manager. Moreover for work to be undertaken in hazardous areas within the Department Maria Rodriguez must sign a permit to be counter-signed by the Estates before work may commence. In the case of the Department Basement Laboratories, the Laboratory Supervisor,  (30551) must sign a permit which is counter-signed by the Estates before work may commence.

28. Placements

It is the responsibility of the host supervisor to make visiting workers aware of the Safety Policy, emergency procedures and procedures for safe working. Visitors and/or workers from other Departments must comply.

Any member of the Department of Geography working in another Department must comply with the Safety Policy of the host Department. Any guest worker from another Department must comply with our Department Safety Policy and it is the responsibility of their supervisor within the Department to ensure that they have a copy of the Department Safety Policy and understand our safety procedures

29. Pregnant Workers

Information is available on the UCL Safety pages.

30. Purchasing Arrangements

New items must comply with current safety standards e.g. kite marked and/or electrical items should be CE marked. Before the purchase of safety equipment (safety goggles, lab. coats, screens for computers etc.) advice must be sought from DSO or a member of the computer support team. If more detailed advice is required this can be obtained from Safety Services via the DSO.

31. Record Keeping

DSO to keep records of safety inspections, accident report forms, training and Risk Assessments. These records are in general kept on the RiskNet system.

32. Review of safety management arrangements

The Safety Management arrangements will be updated as necessary and reviewed by the safety committee annually. All staff will be made aware of alterations to arrangements immediately.

33. Risk Assessments

Risk assessments are required for all office, fieldwork, laboratory work and any other activity of the Department which could be hazardous. It is the responsibility of the project supervisor to complete and sign the risk assessment form, a copy of which must be passed to the DSO. If the Risk assessment is considered to be obviously inadequate, the DSO will return it for rewriting. NOTE that all undergraduates undertaking dissertations must have a risk assessment of their work completed and signed by their supervisor. Risk assessments must be reviewed every year; produced for every new activity and revised where an established technique or personnel are changed. Risk Assessments for all Ph.D. projects are required to be carried out jointly by the student and supervisor.

34. Safety Committee

Any safety issues can be reported to any member of the Departmental Safety Committee and they will be raised at their regular meetings (at least once per term), which reports directly to the Head of Department and the Staff Meeting. Recommendations on the implementation of policy arising from these issues will be made to the HoD by the Safety Committee and these will be discussed by the departmental senior management team. The Departmental Safety Committee consists of, HoD, DSO, DDSO (Nick Mann), Maria Rodriguez, Dr Handong Yang, Dr Viv Jones, Dr Tariq Jazeel, Miles Irving and Ajay Chauhan

The remit of the committee is:

To assist and advise the Head of the Department on planning, prioritisation and implementation of measures to manage the risks of departmental activities, the Head of the Department should constitute a Departmental Safety Committee or management group whose size and constitution should be commensurate with the magnitude of the risk and complexity of the departmental activity. Where appropriate, and especially in smaller departments, health and safety matters should be considered regularly at departmental management meetings. The role of the committee will cover the following:

  • Ensuring significant risks are being managed effectively
  • Developing actions to meet corporate and departmental safety objectives
  • Developing a programme of active monitoring (visits, checks and inspections) and the recording of significant findings and improvement actions.
  • Establishing communication and consultation arrangements with staff, including where appropriate, local union safety committees.
  • Establishing effective communication and cooperation arrangements with other parties in shared workplaces.
  • Monitor and review health and safety performance through quarterly reporting which should include:
    • progress against health and safety action plans
    • accidents and incidents trends, investigations and lessons learned
    • work-related ill-health statistics and trends
    • analysis from active monitoring including schedules, responsibilities,
    • training and risk assessments
    • contractors and partners performance
    • key risks and issues
    • health and safety training needs and completion of courses
    • issues to be escalated to other forums
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35. Safety Policy distribution and display

The DSSP is available via the departmental website.

36. Sensitisers

Sensitisers are substances which may in very small amounts cause an anaphylactic reaction in users. This could happen even though the user has come into contact with the substance before as by their very nature the user will become more sensitive to them with time. Examples of this include Formaldehyde, animal allergens and isocyanates. Isocyanates are used extensively in two-part epoxy adhesivesAnyone working with substances of this nature should be made aware of the risks and control measures. They should also be aware of the early symptoms of sensitivity. See also Allergens.

37. Signage

Safety signage in the department largely falls into three categories:

  • GREEN – Signs in green are for information and will indicate for example the location of first aid boxes and routes to fire exits
  • BLUE – signs in blue are mandatory instructions. For example “Fire Door – Keep Closed”, “Safety Glasses Must Be Worn”
  • RED – Signs in Red are usually prohibitive. For example “No Eating”, “No Unauthorised Access”


38. Slips trips and Falls

All members of the department should be conscious of trip hazards and ensure that nothing is left in any area that may be considered to be a hazard. This will include ensuring that trailing wires are suitably secured and that wet floors etc. are properly signposted. Nothing is to be left on the stairs or landings.

In the event of an accident or near miss, an accident/incident report must be filled in.

Should an incident occur involving a fall down the stairs or from a height DO NOT attempt to move the injured party. Call 222 and request an ambulance, giving details of the incident.

39. Social events

See 13. Events

40. Storage

The Departmental Finance Administrator, DFA (Maria Rodriguez tel 30511) is responsible for the storage arrangements within the Department. The DSO and the UCL Area Safety Officer will advise on safe storage arrangements.

41. Supervision

Members of Staff are reminded that they are responsible for people in their charge (i.e. in the classroom situation or an office).

The Head of the Department must ensure that those supervising departmental activities are competent to do so and that members of staff are aware of the management structure.

Managers and supervisors are required to supervise the work of staff and visitors in their care/control. This will include but is not limited to, a discussion of the work to be done, the materials and methods to be used, health, safety and emergency procedures, waste disposal, etc. Managers must ensure that members of staff are trained and are competent to perform the tasks given.

Supervisors and Managers are responsible for risk assessment of all work activities under their control which should be completed by a competent person.

Staff attention is directed to the additional information is available from the section of UCL Safety Web Pages on Supervision.

42. Safety Training

DSO to liaise with the Safety Training Unit and the Head of Department regarding any safety-related training requirements in the Department. Approach the DSO if you have any safety training requirements. Any other training needs are identified and addressed by the Staff Development Group.

43. Vacating UCL premises

The department, where appropriate, or the individual will ensure, where possible that all waste is removed from buildings prior to vacating or will ensure that adequate arrangements have been made for this to be done and that the areas are left in a safe condition for the incoming parties.

44. Vehicles

All vehicle movements are the responsibility of the Departmental Finance Administrator, DFA (Maria Rodriguez tel 30511). Those wishing to drive any UCL vehicle or vehicle hired on behalf of UCL, need to sign insurance forms and may be asked to attend a medical examination. This is arranged through the DFA.

45. Violence

If alone or working out of hours raise help/alarm by calling 222 immediately, stating your name, location and circumstance. Report any incident or potential incident to your direct supervisor and the DSO, as well as filling out an accident form.


46. Visitors and members of the public

Staff members MUST inform the HoD or DSO of any visitors or members of the public who will be visiting the Department. Staff members are responsible for ensuring that these guests are aware of the Department Safety Policy and emergency procedures and comply with them.

It is the responsibility of the host supervisor to make visiting workers aware of the Safety Policy, emergency procedures and procedures for safe working. Visitors and/or workers from Other Departments must comply. Visitors who will remain in the department for an extended period must take part in the fire evacuation training and local safety induction. This will be carried out by the host supervisor on the day of arrival.

Any member of the Department of Geography working in another Department must comply with the Safety Policy of the host Department. Any guest worker from another Department must comply with our Department Safety Policy and it is the responsibility of their supervisor within the Department to ensure that they have a copy of the Department Safety Policy and understand our safety procedures.

47. Waste Management

The Departmental Finance Administrator, DFA (Maria Rodriguez tel 30511) is responsible for Waste Disposal within the Department. Chemical Waste disposal is the responsibility of the Laboratory Staff ( tel: 30551) See Lab user manual for details. The DSO and the Hazardous Waste Service Manager will advise on safe waste disposal.

Additional information on Hazardous Spillages is available from the section of UCL Safety Web Pages.

48. Working at heights

A risk assessment is required for any work which involves heights. No one must attempt any work at heights on their own. When any work of this nature is carried out you MUST inform someone in the department when, where and how long the work will be.

49. Working in the open air

Before starting work in the open air, a full risk assessment must be carried out. The HSE provide advice on improving thermal comfort at HSE.gov.uk.

50. Resourcing for Safety Management

The safety implications of any research project must be assessed before a funding application is submitted. Thus the cost of all the required safety measures implicit in the research proposal MUST be included in the grant application e.g., life jackets, safety goggles, travel and subsistence money for at least two people to go on fieldwork, thus avoiding dangerous lone working, etc. A preliminary Risk Assessment form should be filled in prior to the completion of the application.

51. Working with Boats

See the section in Risk Assessments on "Working on or Near Water".

At least one member of the fieldwork team should hold a boat handling certificate and the team should take their instructions from this person. Masters and Undergraduate students may not use boats unsupervised and boats will not be issued to them for any project work. Students requiring the use of boats for dissertation work must be accompanied by a member of staff and the boat may only be issued to that member of staff.

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